Stingrays Allowing 50% Capacity at Home Games

Posted March 5, 2021

photo by Brian Stone/ South Carolina Stingrays

Updated March 5 3:30 pm

The South Carolina Stingrays announced on Friday that, in conjunction with the North Charleston Coliseum, they will increase capacity from 20% to 50%. This would be 5,263 fans. The Stingrays had been allowing 2,700 fans into the arena. The team averaged 4,200 fans in the 2019-20 season.

The move comes after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster lifted a rule that prevents events from having more than 250 people in attendance unless the Department of Commerce grants an exemption.However, according to a press release, “the Stingrays will reserve some sections where they will continue to adhere to previously mandated precautions for fans who would like to remain in pod seating with no more than 25% of seats filled.”

“We know COVID is still going on, and we have to be cautious and respectful of that,” Stingrays president Rob Concannon told Capitals Outsider. “But, we do also recognize that more people are getting the vaccine. The numbers are continuing to trend downwards. We thought the next step in progression with our product was to potentially let 50% into the arena and see how things go.

“We know a lot of people want to get back to life as normal as it can be, but we’re also cognizant again of the fact that there is a virus.”

When asked if the city of North Charleston gave the go ahead, Concannon said “Yeah, yeah. We work closely with the city of North Charleston and the folks at the North Charleston Coliseum.”

In addition, compliant with the ECHL’s policy, masks will still be mandated for all fans, Stingrays employs and North Charleston Coliseum employees will be required to wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking.

“The health and safety of Stingrays fans remains the team’s top priority, continuing to work closely with state and health officials to develop operating protocols with the goal of providing a safe and enjoyable experience,” the release said.

With 14 home games on Fridays or Saturdays left on the schedule, the hope is to attract a larger crowd.

“Our hope is that people feel safe and comfortable to come to Stingrays games,” Concannon said. “…We’re hoping fans will look at us as a safe option for entertainment in the community.”

If the number of cases go back up, Concannon said the crowd size would be revisited. On March 5, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there were 1,079 cases and a 5.7% positivity rate in the state.

“We’re not losing sight of whats going on in our world right now,” Concannon said. “But on the other side of that, I feel like we’re in a good spot being March 5, almost a year later.”

Concannon added that if it wasn’t for the governor loosening restrictions, “we wouldn’t even be entertaining this as an option.”