GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) East Carolina University is now selling its season tickets for Pirate football. School officials are taking COVID-19 into account as they get ready for games this fall.
The state’s revised coronavirus rules will allow 30% of normal capacity at outdoor sports venues, like Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. That means more members of Pirate Nation will be able to cheer on the team, in person, this fall.
This week, the university launched season ticket sales for football, and administrators say they are not putting a limit on their sales. Their goal is to surpass 2019’s total of 14,000 season-ticket holders.
“We have no cap on season tickets. We are going to sell just like we would for a normal season,” said Jon Gilbert, East Carolina Athletic Director. “Obviously we know there could be some COVID related protocols that we’ll need to adhere to. But, we’re moving forward like we are going to be open for business as normal.”
Fans will be back in the stands, but due to state and local health guidelines, they may not be in their usual seats.
“We want to get as many fans into our events as possible, but we are still following guidelines,” said Gilbert. “Which means we have social distancing. We want to have you in the venue, you just might not be able to sit in your exact seat or do all of the things that you were able to do in the past. But, you can come watch the Pirates play.”
You can be eligible for a six-month payment plan if you purchase your season tickets by March 15th.
“We’ve got a great home schedule. We will open up with South Carolina at home, so it should be a great opening game for us. I’m looking for a capacity crowd for an event like that,” Gilbert said. “I’m just really excited for our fan base to come back to athletic events.”
Still, there’s one big question: Will fans be able to tailgate?
“Right now, tailgating is not permitted per the state and local health guidelines,” Gilbert said. “As soon as we get relief on that or increased attendance, we’ll pivot quickly, allowing tailgating and more fans to attend. But, at this point, we are not permitted to have tailgating.”
Looking ahead, the Pirates’ annual spring football game is up next for ECU. It’s scheduled for next month.
“We are anticipating our spring football game to take place on Saturday, April 17,” Gilbert said. “Obviously we are going to follow whatever the attendance protocol is at that time. So, we will adjust accordingly to whatever that is.
“We will probably have an early to late afternoon start time and look forward to having those individuals be able to come to a spring football game. We will not be having the normal ‘Pig Skin Pig-Out’ event, but we are planning on having a spring football game on April 17.”
While it may not be a completely normal start to football season, things appear to be moving in the right direction. Until then, the quiet stands of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will wait.