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The Knicks will play in front of about 2,000 fans per home game starting Feb. 23

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Bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off for them.

Celebrities Attend Houston Rockets v New York Knicks Game
Fans at one of the final games before last season’s shutdown.
Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images

The crowd noise at Madison Square Garden won’t be completely fake for much longer, as the Knicks have announced that, despite the ongoing pandemic, they will be allowed to host roughly 2,000 fans per game beginning on Feb. 23 against the Golden State Warriors.

The news came as part of a larger announcement from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who revealed on Wednesday that sports and entertainment events in stadiums with a capacity of 10,000 or more people can start allowing limited amounts of spectators on Feb. 23. Under Cuomo’s plan, there will be strict testing requirements and temperature checks for any fans that do attend these events. Additionally, seating will be socially distant, and face masks will be mandatory.

The decision to open up arenas to a limited number of fans comes as New York City seems to be trending in the right direction when it comes to confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and even deaths, according to NYC Health. Still, the city is averaging 474 coronavirus deaths per week, which is a lot of human beings.

These are the trends, for now.
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page#summary

For Knicks games, MSG can typically seat a total of 19,812 people, which means that 2,000 fans is roughly 10% of the overall capacity. The ability to host some fans will certainly help line the pockets of James Dolan, and maybe some real, live cheering from the hometown faithful will serve to jazz up Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks, which have outperformed expectations to such an extent this year that apparently the front office thinks the team could be a Bradley Beal or Victor Oladipo away from actual contention.

Not sure about that one, guys, but we can discuss whether the Knicks should try to trade for a star in another post.

Thibs sure sounds excited about the prospect of having fans at home games, saying “it’s great for the league,” according to this story from the New York Post.

“Safety has to come first in this situation. For us, we know how important fans are to our organization. It’s something [that] you’re hopeful it gets turned around. This appears to be a good sign. As long as it’s safe, we’re looking forward to that.”

He’s joined in his excitement by rookie Obi Toppin, who is also quoted in that piece.

We all love our fans,’’ Toppin said after Knicks practice in Miami Wednesday. “We have the best fanbase in the NBA. It will be amazing to have fans. But safety is first. When that time comes for fans to be there we’ll love it.’’

Of course, the real question here is whether us, the fans, are ready to mask up and attend a Knicks game. Many of us have been mostly hiding indoors for the last year, heading out to be in public places with other people only when necessary or unavoidable. Apparently, season ticket holders will have priority when it comes to the limited amount of tickets that will be available, but even the rest of us poor losers have a shot. All you have to do is go to this link and give the organization a bunch of personal information.

Poll

Will you be willing to attend a Knicks game this season?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Obviously yes.
    (53 votes)
  • 10%
    Probably yes.
    (15 votes)
  • 17%
    Maybe, but honestly not sure.
    (26 votes)
  • 36%
    No f***ing way. Ever heard of Covid?
    (55 votes)
149 votes total Vote Now