The Miami Heat will begin allowing a very limited number of fans attend games at AmericanAirlines Arena later this month.
As part of an email sent to season ticket holders Friday evening, the Heat announced it will “host an extremely limited number of Season Ticket Members” beginning with its Jan. 28 home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. This limited capacity scenario will continue through Miami’s Feb. 9 home game against the New York Knicks, and “health and safety guidelines will be in place to ensure everyone is observing proper physical distancing protocols.”
This stretch with limited capacity at AmericanAirlines Arena will include six home games — Jan. 28 vs. Clippers, Jan. 30 vs. Sacramento Kings, Feb. 1 vs. Charlotte Hornets, Feb. 3 vs. Washington Wizards, Feb. 5 vs. Wizards and Feb. 9 vs. Knicks.
Less than 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend each of these games at AmericanAirlines Arena, which has a capacity of 21,000.
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“Tickets for the six games scheduled from January 28th through February 9th will be very limited and will be sold online on an individual game basis,” the Heat said in the email to season ticket holders. “Based on availability, you will have the opportunity to buy game tickets or apply your existing credit towards any ticket purchases. More information about this process will be forthcoming next week.”
But the Heat’s next three home games — Saturday vs. Detroit Pistons, Monday vs. Pistons and Jan. 27 vs. Denver Nuggets — are expected to be played without fans in attendance.
That means the Heat’s first nine home games (one preseason and eight regular-season games) will be played without fans at AmericanAirlines Arena. An additional seven games have been missed because of the shortened 72-game regular season, totaling 16 Heat home games missed for fans.
“Because of the Arena’s reduced capacity, the seating available for the January 28th through February 9th games will not accommodate all of our Members,” the Heat explained in its email to season ticket holders. “Your usual season ticket seat locations for these six games will not be available. Therefore, a total of 22 games are now eligible for account credit. The credit strictly applies to the value of those 22 games. ... Your credit amount for the eligible games is based on the face value of your tickets and includes credits for any parking passes or additional Lounge access billed to your account.”
This credit can be used by season ticket holders for the upcoming games on sale during the six-game stretch of limited capacity, future available games during the season or the 2021 playoffs — all subject to availability. Season ticket holders can also apply all or some of their credit to season tickets for the 2021-22 season.
“It bears repeating that the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid,” the Heat said in the email. “We anticipate increasing seating capacity to admit more Season Ticket Members into AmericanAirlines Arena following our February 9th game. That decision will be made based on guidance from health experts from the NBA and local government.”
Details on the health and safety protocols that will be in place for the return of a limited amount of fans at AmericanAirlines Arena are expected next week.
There are currently just five NBA allowing some amount of fans in attendance for home games: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz. The Toronto Raptors (temporarily relocated to Tampa because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in Canada) began the season with a limited amount of fans in attendance for home games in Tampa, but that has been put on pause because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the area.
While fans won’t be allowed inside AmericanAirlines Arena until Jan. 28, the Heat recently began allowing about 100 family members, and team and player guests attend home games.