1st day with fans for Nets, Knicks amid pandemic

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will host their first home games with fans in nearly a year at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, respectively, Tuesday night, as coronavirus restrictions ease in New York.

Video Transcript

- Big changes tonight for New York Sports fans. For the first time in almost a year, sports teams will play a game in front of fans. This afternoon, Governor Cuomo announced that large venues can reopen with new safety protocols. Eyewitness News reporter, Candace McCowan, with more from the Barclays Center.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: It's been nearly a year since anyone's been inside the Barclays Center for a sporting event. It's been used for voting, but beyond that, it's been pretty quiet. That changes tonight. The Nets are back in action on the hardwood tonight and the Nets newest star, James Harden, is ready.

JAMES HARDEN: I can't wait. I'm excited. I mean, that's one of the reasons why I wanted to be in Brooklyn is because of the fan base. They're unbelievable.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: It's an exciting time for New York Sports fans. Starting today, any arena in New York with more than 10,000 seats can allow guests at 10% capacity, with major precautions. That includes a mandatory PCR test within 72 hours of the game. And at the Barclays Center, the Nets are also providing a free rapid test to anyone who walks through the door. And when you get inside, assigned socially distant seating.

- There will be three main seating areas. You can see the seats that we've designated as socially distance seating pods, groups of either two or four.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: New Jersey isn't far behind, allowing fans starting Monday with 10% capacity indoors and 15% capacity outdoors. At the Barclay Center, while there won't be any concessions, there will still be food.

ADINA ERWIN: You will have a QR code that you will have on your phone and you would be able to look at the menu, order your food, and food then will be brought to you. So it's more of an in-seat service.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: Which might be a better deal for fans who don't want to miss the action that star, James Harden, is counting on.

JAMES HARDEN: Just to have some excitement, some extra energy in the crowd is going to be-- it's going to be exciting for, obviously, the entire team.

CANDACE MCCOWAN: The Nets will start with about 300 fans tonight, but eventually working their way up to 1,800 fans over the next several weeks.