By: Sara Morris | May 6, 2021
The University at Albany announced its plans to reopen the campus to in-person classes and full dining services for the Fall 2021 semester, on April 25, 2021. Included in the plans were hopes that the SEFCU Arena and Casey Stadiums would be filled with purple and gold once again.
The university was unable to host fans during the 2020-21 athletic season due to N.Y. State restrictions.
The last home game - with spectators - by one of the 16 Division 1 teams hosted at UAlbany, was held on March 7, 2020, with the Women’s Lacrosse teams’ 15-8 win over the Canisius College Griffins at the Tom and Mary Casey Stadium. This two-hour game recorded 106 family and friends in attendance.
Fortunately for the Great Dane fans, the school is planning on reopening all home fields for the purple and gold beginning in the Fall 2021 season.
Tailgating is set to reemerge with the arrival of the home field advantage. Fans who wish to tailgate will be subject to reduced tailgating limits in the SEFCU and Dutch Quad parking lots as social distance rules are still expected to be enforced.
Jordan Carleo-Evangelist, the Director of Media and Communication for UAlbany, said he hopes for a bigger capacity limit so the athletes can see the purple and gold cladded fans cheering them on as the teams begin a somewhat normal season next year.
Students will still be able to have free entry to any on campus sporting event with a valid student ID. As well as the students athletes will be able to set aside a maximum of four free tickets for friends and family to collect at will-call. Carleo-Evangelist mentions that the athlete's will-call process may change from recent years, but is too soon to call.
“It’s too soon to speculate what the capacity limits might be in the fall,” Carleo-Evangelist said in an email sent to the ASP. “But, In recent months, the state has been gradually increasing capacity limits at different kinds of venues. That’s very welcome news, and we’re definitely looking forward to having more fans back in the stands – especially students.”
Season tickets for football, men and women’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse, will be available for purchase early this summer, according to Nathaniel Mason, the Assistant Athletic Director of Ticket Sales and Strategy, in an email to the ASP. But, warns that season ticket holders may not be able to claim preferred seating until closer to their respective seasons as capacity limits are subject to change.
UAlbany Football, who cancelled it’s remaining Spring 2020 games due to a large number of team injuries, is hoping to open the Tom and Mary Casey Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021 against Rhode Island to the fans. Pre-pandemic the team would sell out the stadium to over 8,500 Great Danes.
The men and women’s basketball team are no strangers to sold out arenas. The Big Purple Growl hosted by the men’s 2019-2020 basketball team welcomed 4,216 fans to the SEFCU Arena, on Feb. 1, 2020. Nearly 93% of the capacity for the home court.
Great Dane fans across the capitol region had to watch beloved game days on live T.V. this season. Most events were broadcasted on America East TV, a live streaming service used by the America East conference.
Before the UAlbany Football team waived it’s last few games of the Spring 2020 season, their games were filmed by the FLO Sports Network, with a live game day feel for $7.99 per month.
The live T.V. coverage translated to a loss of in-person ticket sales for the university. The 2018-2019 athletic season was the last year that the Great Danes played without games or fans being impacted COVID-19 pandemic.
The university reported $734,233.00 in ticket revenue according to data sent to the NCAA during the 2019 fiscal year. High school sporting events hosted by the university accounted for 3% of the total ticket sales for the year.
Together the men and women’s basketball teams accounted for 34% of all ticket revenue for the 2019 report. The teams were also the only UAlbany teams to complete their winter seasons without cancelations.
UAlbany lost out on big ticket games, including the men’s lacrosse 2020 season, which allotted for 29% of the total revenue for the 2018-2019 season. Women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball, golf, and the outdoor track and field team also had to cancel their Spring 2020 seasons due to the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdowns.