The New York Knicks today announced that Game 5 of their 2021 NBA playoffs series against the Atlanta Hawks, scheduled for June 5, has sold out. This follows Game 1, when the Knicks welcomed more than 15,000 fans and Game 2, when they expanded their seating for fully-vaccinated fans and increased capacity to more than 16,000. The two games mark the largest indoor crowds to gather in New York since the start of the pandemic. Given the enthusiastic response to vaccination requirements, the team also announced that, should they advance past round one, tickets will be sold exclusively to fully-vaccinated individuals.
“The energy our Knicks fans have brought to the playoffs has been incredible — proving there’s nothing more exciting than Knicks basketball at The Garden,” said David Hopkinson, EVP, MSG Sports and President, Team Business Operations. “It’s moments like this that show us what’s possible if everyone gets vaccinated — we’ll all be able to get back to doing what we love — and that definitely includes being together to cheer on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.”
The press release noted that more than 90 percent of fans in attendance at Madison Square Garden (MSG) were fully vaccinated during the first round. The high number of vaccinated attendees apparently goaded the team to decide to exclude those who are unvaccinated.
Fans are required to download a phone app that forces fans to upload vaccination information to be cleared to access their tickets—the information on how the app works can be seen at the Madison Square Garden FAQ page.
“For entry, all fans must present valid proof of either full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test, along with an appropriate ID matching their documentation,” MSG tells fans.
Last week a fan was ejected from MSG and then banned after the team determined that he spit at Atlanta guard Trae Young.
Last Thursday, the Knicks put out a statement saying: “We investigated the matter and determined that this patron, who is not a season ticket holder, did indeed spit on Trae Young, and for that reason, he is now banned from The Garden indefinitely. We apologize to Trae and the entire Hawks organization for this fan’s behavior. This was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our venue. We have turned the information over to the appropriate authorities.”