Negron: When Can We Go Back To Games? Maybe Sooner Than We Thought

For the first time in forty seven professional baseball seasons, I have not seen a game at the cathedral of baseball, known as Yankee Stadium.

I miss all of the different people at The Stadium, the players, the kids, the vendors, the ushers, the people from baseball operations and the excitement of the way they run a  juggernaut like the New York Yankees. The sights, the sounds, even the smells, are what is missing from this crazy summer, even as we have gotten out and seen people socially distanced. When will it come back to the Stadium, or to a theater where we can again do our show?

The projections have been daunting, even as we see some places in soccer bring people back a bit, but not around here. However, there was some light that came through last week, in the form of a survey from New Yorkers who go to games.

First once again the Yankees are leading the way in another area. Yankee Stadium was the first certified this week by WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.

The Stadium achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating by implementing features across five categories. These categories are air and water quality management, cleaning and sanitization procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, and stakeholder engagement and communications.

Under Randy Levine, Doug Behar and the Steinbrenner family, we are leading the way in health and safety.

Then there was more good news.

Riptide Partners, a New York based consulting company that works with arenas and stadiums, showed us a survey that revealed people who buy tickets may come back sooner than expected once it is allowed by officials. Their survey, from over 4,000 consumers who regularly attended sporting and entertainment events in the New York tri-state area said 89% will return to events depending in just over three months. That’s a lot different from what we have been hearing about a year or 18 months.

“There are literally hundreds of theaters, arenas and venues of all sizes that have been affected by the shutdown, and it was our desire to get a better handle on the thoughts of those venue patrons who had attended events prior to the shutdown. We think this survey tells a slightly different story than what was originally thought,” Rob Comstock, Riptide Partners co-founder said this week about their survey. “The variable of when people can return to venues in larger groups will be decided by health and government officials, but when that date is set, we believe that people will feel safer, and come back sooner, than anticipated based on the survey responses we have received.”

So, when can I be back in the seats with kids around me at The Stadium? Probably not this fall, I know, but we are moving that way…and maybe this winter, late in the winter, we can also resume our show at a venue.

The news on both sides was encouraging for sure. We still have to keep doing the right things as New Yorkers to get there, but hopefully we are making progress. We have to do it together.

Photo: Ray Negron

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