BOCA RATON – Tailgates are out and fewer than 3,500 fans will be allowed to purchase tickets to get into FAU football games this season.
Florida Atlantic announced Thursday that as part of its COVID-19 precautions it will limit attendance at fall football games to 20 percent of capacity, which works out to about 6,000 fans per game. None of those patrons will be allowed to tailgate on FAU property.
Of the newly announced 6,000 capacity, 2,500 of those tickets are reserved for students.
The University of Miami also limited attendance to 20 percent of capacity at Hard Rock Stadium this season, but did not set aside tickets for students.
The Owls are accustomed to playing in front of empty seats. FAU averaged 16,810 fans during its seven home games, including the Conference USA title game, last season en route to its second C-USA title in three years. Remove the home opener against Central Florida, a sellout bolstered by a predominant number of UCF fans, and that average falls below 15,000 per game.
A glance around the stadium in any of the final six home games showed the actual attendance to be significantly lower than the announced number.
FAU hosts South Florida on Sept. 26 in the Owls’ home opener. Charlotte (Oct. 3), Texas-San Antonio (Oct. 31) and Western Kentucky (Nov. 7) also visit Boca Raton. Scheduled home contests against Stony Brook and Old Dominion have already been canceled. ODU, a C-USA rival, chose not to play football this season.
None of FAU’s scheduled four home games are sold out. An FAU spokesperson said now that Florida Atlantic has determined that fans will be allowed inside the stadium ticket office sales people are now contacting season-ticket holders to renew their seats. The Owls have not yet begun to sell single-game tickets.
Season-ticket holders will be given priority, so it is possible that fans hoping to see the Owls in person this season will need to purchase season tickets.
FAU is banning pregame tailgate parties in its parking lot, an order that will be enforced by campus police. The Owls could shorten the amount of time lots are open prior to kickoff in an effort to restrict gatherings.
Florida Atlantic hopes to issue a complete set of parking guidelines in the coming days.
The Owls take the field for the first time under first-year coach Willie Taggart on Sept. 19 at Georgia Southern.