Borussia Dortmund has broken the Bundesliga attendance record amid COVID-19 after selling out of its 11,500 available tickets for the match against SC Freiburg on Saturday.
The figure was 1,500 more than the team’s first home game of the season against Borussia Mönchengladbach at the 81,365-capacity Signal Iduna Park after Dortmund’s city authorities gave the green light for additional places.
Borussia Dortmund season ticket holders and club members were able to purchase two tickets each for the match against Freiburg and must be resident in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Dortmund consistently have the highest average attendance in Europe each season, with the 2019-20 season seeing 81,154 fans at each game on average. The club sat above the Premier League’s Manchester United, La Liga’s FC Barcelona and its Bundesliga competitors Bayern Munich for average attendance.
Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt welcomed 8,000 fans in its match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, while Stuttgart saw 9,500 fans at its game against Bayer Leverkusen. The lowest attendance was the just 300 that saw FC Koln versus Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Germany’s current system of allowing fans into sports events permits stadiums to be up to 20 per cent full if the number of COVID-19 cases in the locality has been below 35 per 100,000 people in the previous seven days.
The model only applies to home fans and gives local authorities the final say, with options either to reduce capacity below 20 per cent or to exclude all supporters.
Seven of the nine Bundesliga games had fans present, with Bayern Munich still not allowed to host supporters and Werder Bremen told just 48 hours ahead of its game with Arminia Bielefeld that it would not be able to host fans due to a local spike.
The decision came two weeks after Werder hosted 8,400 fans for the visit of Hertha Berlin.
“We would like to apologise to our fans, partners and suppliers for the short notice. The current situation is a real challenge for everyone involved,” said Werder’s president, Dr. Hubertus Hess-Grunewald.
The German model is being studied by the Sports Technology Innovation Group (STIG) to see if it can be used in England.
The group, which was set up by the UK government last month, has made it a priority to see if Germany’s approach could be adapted for English sport, with fans currently not allowed to attend any events after the government scrapped a plan to allow them to return on October 1.
The STIG’s study will include the strategies that the German authorities use for public transport, as well as fans getting into and leaving stadiums.
The Dallas Cowboys welcomed a crowd of 25,021 on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in its second home game of the season against the Cleveland Browns.
The crowd, which marked a record for the NFL post lockdown, accounted for 25 per cent of the 80,000-capacity stadium, which has space for more than 100,000 including standing room.
The Cowboys implemented COVID-safe policies including disinfecting surfaces, hand sanitiser stations canvassing the stadium, and touch-free mobile ticketing and concession payment. Tickets have been made available in pods to sit with family or friends, spaced at least six feet apart from the next closest pod. Masks are required except when actively eating or drinking.
In the Cowboys’ win against the Atlanta Falcons in their home opener, a crowd of 21,708 was in attendance. During the 2019 season, the team saw an average attendance of 90,929 that led the NFL.
Elsewhere in the league, more than 6,000 fans watched the Cincinnati Bengals inside Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.
Six out of this weekend’s 14 games did not welcome any fans. In addition, the Tennessee Titans were supposed to have approximately 7,000 fans, but postponed to a later date after eight members of the organisation tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
Image: Borussia Dortmund