When the New York Knicks host their first playoff game in eight years this weekend, they’ll host the largest indoor gathering in New York City since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Knicks announced on Thursday night that they have sold out the 15,000 available seats at Madison Square Garden for Game 1 and Game 2 of their opening-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks.
"I hope everyone in sports and entertainment is listening because the public has spoken — they are fine with getting vaccinated and want to get back to the experiences they love," Knicks owner and MSG Sports executive chairman James Dolan said in a statement, via ESPN. "This overwhelming response by Knicks fans — almost 90% of whom are vaccinated — should silence any doubters. It's time to start booking events and filling up our schedules, so stay tuned."
Dolan initially thought they could get 13,000 fans or so earlier this week.
Knicks increase capacity for postseason
The Knicks started allowing about 2,000 fans back into Madison Square Garden in February. While the postseason expansion won’t fill Madison Square Garden to its capacity of 19,812, the 15,000 cap gets extremely close — which will undoubtedly provide an atmosphere that Knicks fans haven’t felt in years.
They are one of several teams increasing capacity in the postseason. The Philadelphia 76ers said they will allow 50% capacity at the Wells Fargo Center after allowing only about 3,000 fans per game during the regular season. The Utah Jazz are planning to allow about 13,000 fans for the playoffs, too, and the Dallas Mavericks will host about 12,000 fans.
The Knicks will host the Hawks in Game 1 on Sunday, and then again in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
“We can’t thank our fans enough for stepping up, getting vaccinated and being with us all the way,” Knicks president Leon Rose said in a statement. “We look forward to giving all of New York something to cheer about.”
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