MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Believe it or not, we’re about six weeks away from Twins opening day. After a 2020 season with no fans allowed, this year the team hopes to have 10,000 fans in stadium.
“We have every intent of bringing fans back this year,” said Matt Hoy, the VP of Operations for the Twins.READ MORE: Will Alex Kirilloff Be Twins' Left Fielder On Opening Day?
Hoy is already down in Fort Myers for spring training, where the team is rolling out a test drive of how they hope to bring fans back to Target Field for opening day and beyond.
“We’ve done is we’ve created pods of two or four seats all throughout the building, and what we will actually do is zip tie all the other chairs closed, so only the seats that are properly distanced will be available,” said Hoy.
Right now, the team is waiting on Gov. Tim Walz to sign off on the proposal they submitted.
Normally over 38,000 fans can fit inside Target Field, but if this proposal is approved at 25% capacity, then 10,000 fans can still come into the stadium. The organization is going to utilize the space, spreading out all the fans safely and having tickets available at every price point.
“To spread everyone we’re going to basically cover every nook and cranny in the building,” said Hoy.
Bringing back fans, even just 10,000, would have a big impact on the neighboring businesses.
“We’ll take whatever we can get,” said Lynn Nieland, a bartender at Cuzzy’s, which is one of the popular spots in the North Loop for Twins fans to go before and after games.
Fans Tanner Londo and Dan Lenhardt are hopeful about a return to the stadium, which will in turn bring fans back to the businesses.READ MORE: Despite Bullpen Additions, Twins Won't Demote Taylor Rogers
“Even if you’re not going to the game, restaurants and patios will still benefit from the extra capacity and foot traffic,” said Lenhardt.
“It just brings a good energy and a good vibe to this area that’s kind of been flat for a while,” said Londo.
Just down the block at Darby’s, owner Marcus Dorn said he took a significant financial hit last season with no fans.
“Roughly 30% down between the baseball months of April and September,” said Dorn.
Even if 25% capacity gets approved, Dorn knows fans will seize that chance to go to a game in person, which he hopes will fill up his outdoor patio again.
“I think every game they allow 10,000, they will definitely sell 10,000 tickets,” said Dorn.
Now the decision to bring back fans is in the hands of Walz.
The Twins have teamed up with Minnesota’s 3M to bring sanitation and physical distancing supplies to Target Field.
The team also announced a partnership with Venuetize to bring contactless ordering and payments for concessions to Target Field. Fans will be able to use the MLB Ballpark app to order and pay for food, drinks and merchandise.MORE NEWS: Top Twins Prospect Royce Lewis Out For Season With Torn ACL
Opening day at Target Field is April 8.