Aug. 12 (UPI) — Major League Soccer club FC Dallas allowed a limited number of fans to attend Wednesday’s game against Nashville SC, becoming the first American professional sports team to allow spectators since the early part of the coronavirus pandemic.
FC Dallas hosted Nashville and a smaller contingent of fans at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, despite the state’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The club announced that 2,912 fans were in attendance for the match.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order in early June that allowed sports venues to expand capacity at open-air stadiums from 25% to 50%. The team said it allowed a maximum of 5,110 fans to attend the game, which is less than 25% of the 20,500-seat capacity of the stadium.
Fans were required to sign a waiver to attend the game, and everyone was required to wear face masks at all times while at the stadium — including the parking lot.
The MLS suspended its season in mid-March because of the pandemic. The league returned to action in July for the “MLS is Back” Tournament, which was played at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
FC Dallas and Nashville didn’t participate in that tournament. Both clubs were forced to withdraw from the event due to COVID-19 outbreaks among players and staff members.
The other major professional sports leagues in the United States — the NBA, NHL and MLB — have resumed or started its seasons, but there have been no fans in attendance.