As expected, the Columbus Crew will have the capability to have a full house for the grand opening of the team’s new downtown home. The club announced Thursday afternoon it will allow a full capacity crowd of roughly 20,000 supporters for its inaugural match at New Crew Stadium on July 3 against the New England Revolution. The announcement comes one day after the Crew revealed it will allow full capacity for its last-ever game at historic Crew Stadium on June 19 against the Chicago Fire.
Just like the final match at historic Crew Stadium, the first match at the new stadium will also have no mask or social distancing requirements, per the updated CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals. Non-vaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear masks but won’t be required as all individuals were for Crew games since last fall.
“The opening of New Crew Stadium is all about creating an incredible experience for our supporters. Being able to provide this new level of energy and excitement to a full stadium of people who can share in this special moment together has always been a top priority,” Crew Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons said in the announcement. “Our community has been waiting to experience the Crew in its new environment and we’re excited to transition into our new, modern, dynamic world-class home. We can’t wait to see everyone in person on July 3 for our inaugural match against New England.”
Unless COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike again, all matches at New Crew Stadium will allow for full capacity in the 2021 season. Some of the highlight encounters include the July 3 opener against the Revs, an Aug. 21 encounter with the Seattle Sounders in a rematch of the 2020 MLS Cup Final, the first Hell is Real Derby at the team’s new home on Aug. 27 versus FC Cincinnati and the Black & Gold’s Decision Day match on Nov. 7 against the Chicago Fire.
The July 3 grand opening will certainly be a special occasion as the Crew finally has a downtown home near other Columbus sports venues such as Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park. The likely sellout crowd of fans are likely to see a competitive match, as New England is the top team in the Eastern Conference facing the defending MLS Cup champions. Fans will also be treated to a fireworks show after the game to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Columbus is currently on a break after winning its last two matches against New York City FC and Toronto FC. The Black & Gold return to the pitch in front of a full house on June 19 against the Chicago Fire in the final match at historic Crew Stadium. The Crew will then have two big road encounters at the Philadelphia Union on June 23 followed by a nationally-televised inter-conference clash with Austin FC on June 27.