Louisville City FC fans are set to be on hand for the official opening of Lynn Family Stadium after approval was given for the venue to operate at 50% capacity upon the resumption of the Championship season. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisvil
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC announced on Monday its plan to host 50 percent of capacity at its new home, Lynn Family Stadium, had been approved by the Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear.
The plan, named “VenueShield”, was devised by stadium operator ASM Global, which is aiming to implement a national program that will instill confidence for those attending events amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility’s food and beverage partner, Levy Restaurants, will also have initiatives in place for safe concession operations during games.
“In what’s been a challenging year, we’re excited to be able to open our stadium in front of supporters who have been with us from the beginning,” said LouCity president Brad Estes. “I want to thank ASM Global for the work they put in developing the VenueShield program as well as the governor’s office for ensuring we’re able to do this in a safe manner.”
As part of the program, LouCity has implemented a strict list of protocols that fans must follow before and during games at the stadium. Louisville’s proactive approach in collaboration with ASM Global – which included providing a detailed list of protocols to be followed by fans before and during games – has provided a potential model for others to follow. Other Championship clubs such as OKC Energy FC and FC Tulsa have announced their aim to host fans at Taft Stadium and ONEOK Field respectively when play resumes.
Louisville’s model could also be of use to those clubs in in other parts of the United States where current local guidelines have seen clubs plan for games without fans when the season resumes. Among those are communities like Memphis, which is in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which would mean fans would not currently be permitted at AutoZone Park.
As the Championship builds toward its return to action in a little under three weeks, league officials are receiving regular updates from all the league’s markets on their current situations. It is also overseeing the implementation of its own guidelines by all clubs that will allow for a safe return to play.
“The reality is COVID-19 has impacted certain parts of the country significantly more than others,” USL Vice President of Communications & Public Relations Ryan Madden told WMC’s Cassie Carlson. “We have to just be flexible and make sure we’re setting minimum standards and looking out for everyone’s health and wellness.
“We feel very confident in our policies. We brought in several health experts, Doctors from Northwestern University, the University of Tennessee, Chief Medical Officer with U.S. Soccer as well as legal, medical, and operational experts from both inside the league and outside the league who all came together to help create a clear set of policies.”
For LouCity’s front office, however, the potential to welcome fans into their new venue makes the club’s return next month all the more exciting.
“We have waited a long time for the first match in Lynn Family Stadium, and we are excited that we will be able to have our biggest fans in attendance,” said Mitch Ried, LouCity’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.