In Minnesota sports, April will be a convergence point. And for the first time in more than a year, fans from around the state will get a chance to attend games.
The winter sports cycle is merging with the kickoff of spring. Wolves games at Target Center tipping off at 7 p.m. right after a stream of fans leave Target Field following a Twins getaway matinee. I-94 pulsing with Wild fans flying to downtown St. Paul for a playoff push or Minnesota United supporters taking the Snelling Ave. exit to head to Allianz Field for early-season games. The sound of high school fans clamoring like drumsticks at the state hockey and basketball tournaments.
With state-mandated capacity limits for entertainment venues rising on April 1, tickets are going on sale.
On Thursday, the Twins will be the first local major league team to make tickets available to the general public, as they prepare to host 10,000 fans on April 8 for their home opener against the Seattle Mariners.
The Wild and Timberwolves are finalizing their plans to have up to 3,000 fans at their home games on April 5. And while the Wolves plan to make single-game tickets publicly available next week, the Wild said ticket sales to the general public are unlikely.
Minnesota United plans to have around 4,000 fans for home games starting April 24, with tickets going on sale on April 6. They will most likely only be available to season-ticket holders or people on the season-ticket waiting list.
The Minnesota State High School League laid out state tournament plans that will see as many as 2,400 fans per session at the hockey tournament at Xcel Energy Center starting April 1, while the basketball tournament at Target Center will see 500 fans per semifinal game rotating in and out and 1,200 fans per session at the finals.
And the Gophers will also get to have fans in the stands, after the Big Ten announced Wednesday that remaining regular-season home games and conference tournaments will be allowed to host fans while following state and CDC guidelines.
Those able to attend games can expect enhanced health and safety protocols throughout the venues, along with a largely contactless experience. The Twins found demand from season-ticket holders to be about what they expected.
They have currently around 12,000 full-season equivalents, and while all of those people were given an opportunity to buy tickets before the public sale, tickets are available for every game between April 8 and May 6. That includes series against the Mariners, Red Sox, Pirates, Royals and Rangers. (Tickets for the St. Paul Saints, now the Twins' Class AAA affiliate, are already on sale, with the home opener May 11.)
"We will have tickets; with that said, some games may be limited in comparison to others," said Mike Clough, the Twins' senior vice president for ticket sales and brand partnerships. "But we will start the on-sale with tickets available to every game."
He added that 90% of season-ticket holders held onto their seats throughout the past year when fans were not allowed in the stands.
The math of indoor venues is a big part of the equation for several pro franchises, along with the MSHSL as they prepare for basketball and hockey state tournament games.
While the Twins can make tentative plans to host at least 810,000 fans this season under Gov. Tim Walz's current attendance mandates, the Wild and Wolves each have only 12 regular-season games at home after the attendance limits increase April 1. That puts the cap at around 36,000 total tickets available.
The Wild may be the hottest pro team in the state, but with more than 10,000 season-ticket holders, it will most likely keep tickets away from the general public.
"Right now Wild season-ticket members are getting first crack at tickets," said Aaron Sickman, the Wild media relations director. "Just because of the demand for tickets from our season-ticket members and our season-ticket base, 3,000 people per game, we don't expect to have tickets available for single-game buyers."
He added that would likely remain true for any playoff games.
For the MSHSL, the state tournament ticketing policy must account for multiple games per day at each arena. For example, on April 6, Target Center would host six girls' semifinals starting between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. The same would follow for the boys' semifinals the next day.
For hockey, the capacity limit would go up in the middle of the tournament on April 1, before four girls' semifinals games starting between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. But the tickets will still be allocated for each participating high school with no sales to the general public.
"The hockey tournament is going to bridge that line from March to April, which moves from 250 [total attendance limit] to the higher number 1/8 600 fans per game] after that point," said Erich Martens, executive director of the MSHSL, noting that semifinal session tickets will be for both games for Class 1A and Class 2A.
Add it all up, and that's 2,400 total hockey fans per session at Xcel.
The Loons have the benefit of being outdoors at Allianz Field, but with a stadium capacity of 19,400, they'll initially host 4,000 fans.
"Our hope is as the season goes and you know the community gets back to normal that we will have the opportunity to increase attendance alongside that," Minnesota United Chief Revenue Officer Bryant Pfeiffer said.
While teams are telling fans that whoever purchases the tickets needs to use them, secondary ticket markets are showing activity. StubHub and Ticket King had a wide array of seats available for every Twins game at Target Field, including the home opener. Ticket King had at least 250 tickets available for every Twins game between April 8 and May 6. A more limited inventory — at much higher prices — appears on Ticket King and StubHub for Wild and Wolves games.