Sounders FC Receives Approval to Welcome Fans Back to Lumen Field in a Limited Capacity to Open 2021 MLS Season
SEATTLE, WASH. - Following approval from regional health authorities, including Public Health - Seattle & King County and the Washington State Department of Health, Seattle Sounders FC has received authorization to welcome fans back to Lumen Field in person for the first time in over a year. Washington Governor Jay Inslee previously announced that the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" plan was advancing into Phase Three, allowing for outdoor sporting events to host 25 percent of venue capacity or 9,000 spectators, whichever is lower. As a result, Sounders FC is expecting to host approximately 7,000 total fans in the near term, encompassing the first five home matches of 2021, including the club's 2021 MLS opener versus Minnesota United on Friday, April 16 (6:30 p.m. PT / FS1).
To honor their commitment, on April 13 Sounders FC Season Ticket Members are receiving priority access to available tickets before the general public. If all tickets are sold out before a Season Ticket Member can purchase, they will be given priority for the next set of available matches. Tickets are then going on-sale to the general public on April 14, so long as inventory remains or tickets are available on the resale market. Season Memberships are still available, with more information available via SoundersFC.com or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL. For complete information, details and pricing for 2021 Sounders FC Season Memberships, fans should call 877-MLS-GOAL or email Sales@SoundersFC.com.
"This is a day we have been working toward and dreaming about for some time," said Sounders FC Owner & President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa. "Getting to the point of being able to welcome the best fans in MLS back to Lumen Field would not have been possible without the guidance of so many leaders in our community. In particular, thank you to Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for their poised leadership, in addition to Public Health - Seattle & King County Director Patty Hayes and her entire team for navigating our club through this process. Because of their hard work and the work of countless others, we now have a robust and approved plan in place to safely welcome Sounders fans back to our matches."
Tomozawa continues, "I also want to remind our fans to stay vigilant as we continue battling the pandemic. We're all still doing our part to tackle COVID-19, and we encourage everyone in our community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and to continue staying distant, masking up and washing their hands. Sounders fans have set an incredible example over the past year, and we thank them for their efforts and for staying patient as we worked toward this moment."
Previously on March 11, the club announced that it was in the process of working with the State of Washington and Public Health - Seattle & King County to welcome fans back into Lumen Field in a limited capacity. Alongside its partners at First & Goal Inc. and Major League Soccer, the club's 2021 health and safety plan for matches at Lumen Field is now finalized. As part of these updated venue protocols, additional safety measures apply to all matches at Lumen Field until further notice, beginning with the first five matchdays in April and May.
Face masks are required for all Sounders FC fans age two and older. Fans are not required to wear them while actively eating and drinking. Face masks that fit within the CDC guidelines are considered appropriate for guests when inside the stadium, and must be tightly woven and snug to the face, while covering the nose and mouth.
POD SEATING & TOUCHLESS TICKETING
The seating manifest allows for a full six feet of distance between ticket groups or pods. Ticket pods range from single seats up to sets of six. A majority of pods will be groups of two and four. Pods may be modified or added but all pods shall be sold subject to the following rules:
All tickets will be sold in ticket pods (between one and six tickets), that must be purchased together. Ticket pods must be used by members of the same household or permissible quarantining unit, as permitted by regional health authorities.
Where ticket transfer is permitted, all tickets in a pod must be transferred as a single unit, and the transferee is required to create an account with Ticketmaster Account Manager, accepting all these terms and conditions.
No more than two ticket pods will share a single row, to prevent any ticket pod from having to pass another pod to travel to or from an aisle.
Sounders FC matchday is now a touchless experience. Through the Ticketmaster Account Manager, Sounders fans are able to scan their tickets right from a mobile device using new self-service pedestal ticket scanners upon entry to Lumen Field. All tickets are electronic in 2021 and no paper tickets will be permitted or printed. No PDFs of tickets will be permitted. Lumen Field remains a cashless venue and points of sale are touchless, including concessions and retail. The Lumen Field clear bag policy remains in effect.
LUMEN FIELD HEALTH & SAFETY FEATURES
Lumen Field has implemented an array of enhanced measures to make the Sounders FC matchday experience as safe as possible, including a touchless venue experience, new food and beverage protocols, in addition to enhanced sanitation procedures. Restrooms have been upgraded to feature touchless faucets, toilets and urinals, while all sales transactions at Lumen Field have been transitioned to cashless to eliminate the handling and exchange of money. The amount of touchless point-of-sale options at food and beverage, box office, parking and retail locations have been increased, further utilizing chip readers and tap-to-pay terminals.
Of note, Lumen Field has become a GBAC™ STAR accredited venue, the cleaning industry's only outbreak prevention, response and recovery certification for facilities.
STREAMLINED FOOD & BEVERAGE OPTIONS
Grab & Go options have been added throughout Lumen Field to decrease contact between staff and fans. All food options are being served in a container with a lid and utensils will be individually wrapped, while Plexiglas guards are installed at all counters and point-of-sale systems to protect both fans and staff. Self-ordering Kiosks have also been installed to further reduce contact.
A reduced menu is being offered to start the MLS season to account for quicker transaction times for guests and less congestion in the kitchen and prep areas.
FULL SOUNDERS FC FAN FAQ: https://sndrs.com/mmddfp
The forthcoming April 16 match marks the first time that Sounders FC has opened its regular season against Minnesota. Seattle is 6-0-1 all-time against the Loons in MLS action (including postseason), most recently meeting in the 2020 Western Conference Final in December. After Minnesota carried a 2-0 lead into the final 15 minutes of play, Seattle stormed back with three late goals from Will Bruin, RaÃºl RuidÃaz and Gustav Svensson, clinching the club's fourth MLS Cup Final berth since 2016.
The Rave Green are 7-5-0 all-time in MLS regular-season openers, including a 2-1 home win over Chicago in 2020. This also marks the 12th time in 13 seasons that Seattle has hosted its season opener.
After MLS announced the club's full 2021 schedule, eight of Seattle's first 13 matches are at Lumen Field, including home matchups with both LA Galaxy on May 2 (FS1) and LAFC on May 16 (FS1), in addition to expansion side Austin FC on May 29. Those matches are included as part of next week's on-sale.
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