Penn State Modeling Several Capacity Options for Beaver Stadium This Fall

A full Beaver Stadium? Half-full? 20,000 fans? Penn State is looking at pod-seating options if distancing requirements remain.

Penn State continues to plan for a full Beaver Stadium this fall, though the athletic department is modeling options in case distancing requirements remain in place in Pennsylvania.

In a recent letter to season-ticket holders, Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said that the program remains "hopeful" that it can fill the stadium for football games in 2021, beginning with the Sept. 11 home-opener against Ball State. Pennsylvania gradually has expanded its rules regarding outdoor events.

Increased to 50 percent of venue capacity in April, outdoor events will be permitted to have 75 percent of venue capacity beginning May 17. A six-foot distancing requirement remains in place.

In addition, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that COVID-19 mitigation orders will be lifted May 31. According to a statement, restrictions related to "gatherings, restaurants and other businesses" will end. Masking requirements will remain in place until 70 percent of Pennsylvanians are vaccinated, Gov. Wolf said.

According to Barbour's email, a continued distancing requirement would limit Penn State to hosting about 20,000 fans at Beaver Stadium. The athletic department has worked with Ticketmaster and architectural firm Populous to devise pod-seating options to comply.

"We continue to plan for a full stadium scenario throughout the 2021 season, while monitoring local, state and national guidelines as we understand there may be prevailing health and safety guidelines that could affect crowd sizes," Barbour's letter said.

The Big Ten has said it will allow universities to set their own attendance limits based on state and local guidelines. Penn State has not announced whether fans will need to be vaccinated in order to attend home sporting events.

Penn State plans to update season-ticket holders in late May about renewals. Elsewhere, Barbour said all fans can expect one change this season: digital tickets.

Penn State football fans will return to Beaver Stadium this fall with mobile tickets, as the program transitions from its long history of paper ticketing. Barbour said that all fans will use mobile ticketing, which students began using during 2019. Other Penn State sports have been using mobile ticketing for their events as well.

Penn State used mobile ticketing for the open scrimmage that ended spring drills in April.

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