MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Saturday, the Memphis Tigers will host a home football game against Arkansas State with about 4,500 fans in attendance, down from the tens of thousands that normally pack the stadium.
A raucous crowd’s roar might not be as loud Saturday, but the Tigers team still expects the game day experience to score a touchdown with fans.
“This has been a three-month work in progress to get to what feels like Christmas Eve,” said Deputy Athletics Director Jeff Crane.
As crews put in the final ties and field preps, the team is ready to unwrap a win tomorrow, not just on the field, but in the health and safety department.
“Every aspect of this has been dissected in every possible way,” Crane said.
Following guidance from the Shelby County Health Department and medical advisory group from their athletic conference, Tigers fans must have 12 feet of social distance in the stadium. Only certain seats will be open.
If a fan is not eating or drinking, they are required to wear a mask. Staff will be monitoring compliance.
Social distancing markers will be throughout the stadium.
“On top of that, we created a quadrant system that keeps persons located to their specific area of the stadium, and that’s to help mitigate the risk for them and our staff,” said Thomas Carrier, general manager of the Liberty Bowl stadium.
Season ticket holders who donated ticket and parking costs back to the school were promised attendance to at least one game. Athletes’ parents and families are also given priority seating.
“This will be the first time in our city that we’ve had a crowd of this size, this magnitude and a public event,” Carrier said. “Our staff understands it, our partner with the university understands it. There’s going to be a lot of eyes on us. This is a national broadcast. So, we’re doing our part to make sure people feel safe when they come on property and enjoy it as best as possible watching our team get a W on Saturday.”
There will not be temperature checks, but they are asking fans to arrive early as they’re using digital tickets. Lines are expected to be longer due to social distancing.