Madison Square Garden to Host 15k Fans After Cuomo OKs Vaccinated Sections

Madison Square Garden, Knicks
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

A general view of Madison Square Garden before the Memphis Grizzlies against the New York Knicks on Oct. 29, 2016 in New York City.

Fans seated in the vaccinated sections will have to show proof of full COVID-19 immunization status.

When the New York Knicks take on the Atlanta Hawks this Sunday for the first round of the NBA playoffs, Madison Square Garden will welcome 15,000 fans into the arena to watch the game live, making it the largest indoor gathering for New York State since the start of the pandemic.

Earlier in the week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that starting May 22, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets would have fully vaccinated fan sections, increasing the capacity of both Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. The Nets playoff series against the Boston Celtics kicks off tomorrow.

More that over 50% of each arena will be used for fully vaccinated fan sections at the playoff games. Individuals seated in the vaccinated sections will have to show proof of full COVID-19 immunization status, which can be provided through paper form, digital application or the State's Excelsior Pass.

"I hope everyone in sports and entertainment is listening because the public has spoken – they are fine with getting vaccinated and want to get back to the experiences they love," James Dolan, executive chairman of MSG sports and executive chairman and chief executive of MSG Entertainment said in a recent statement. "This overwhelming response by Knicks fans – almost 90% of whom are vaccinated – should silence any doubters. It’s time to start booking events and filling up our schedules, so stay tuned. We want to thank Governor Cuomo for this leap forward; he knew we could do this – not just for us, but for New York."

Knicks president Leon Rose said the team was "simply blown away by the passionate support of our loyal Knicks fans this season – and there’s no question their excitement this week speaks as much about New York’s return as our return to the playoffs."