The Jacksonville Sharks plan to allow full-capacity crowds at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for the 2021 season of the National Arena League, the team said on Wednesday.
The sharks are scheduled to start their NAL season on June 12th.
The news comes just four days after the arena with 15,269 fans for the UFC 261 mixed martial arts event turned in the first full capacity crowd for a major American indoor sporting event since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak last March has filled. The NAL canceled all games in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, most indoor arenas have a limited capacity of 25 percent or less, while others still refrain from crowding, citing the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control. According to CDC guidelines
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry issued a statement backing the decision.
“I am delighted that our championship winners Jacksonville Sharks will once again conquer the arena in front of a full audience this June. The people of Jacksonville have been through so much in the past year, and I’m grateful to be able to get back to the lifestyle we know and love in northeast Florida, “said Curry.
The organization said it would encourage fans to wear masks to games, but not. The NAL reported an average attendance of more than 7,000 for the Sharks in 2019 when they won the championship.
The Sharks are currently only expected to play four home games in 2021: June 12 against the Carolina Cobras, June 26 against the Albany Empire, July 17 against the Columbus Lions and July 24 against the Orlando Predators.