There will be way fewer fans at OU football games this season -- more than 63,000 fewer -- because of new game day protocols in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oklahoma announced its new game day procedures Thursday. The procedures will cut the attendance at Memorial Stadium from more than 86,000 to fewer than 23,000.
Here is the complete list of protocols OU released Thursday:
The OU Athletics Department is also excited to announce a brand-new version of the SoonerSports2Go app. It is the most comprehensive app ever released by the department and will contain an extensive list of services including digital ticketing, parking assistance, a free digital game program and an interface with stadium concessions to allow fans to order in advance and then pick up at designated locations. iOS users can download the latest version of the SoonerSports2Go app now. The updated Android app will be live in the coming days.
STADIUM SEATING CAPACITY PATTERN
Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium seating capacity will be based on the establishment of “family” seating pods of 2 to 8 based on the primary ticketholders request with a consistent pattern of separation between each of the pods. The pattern will be arrayed throughout the stadium bowl in a manner that best fits the configuration of each seating section. Suites and loge boxes are separate pods.
The pattern was developed with the assistance of sports architecture firm Populous, which has worked with the University on a number of football stadium projects including the most recent handrail and seating bowl improvements prior to the 2019 season. Populous sports facility experience includes design and/or event planning for collegiate facilities, Olympic venues, World Cup venues, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, etc.
The basic components of the seating capacity pattern include:
• “Family” seating pods of 2 to 8 will be assigned.
• No seat will be occupied directly in front or directly behind any family pod: an empty seat will be on the row directly in front and the row directly behind each seat in a family pod.
• Each family pod will have direct access to an aisle without crossing in front of any other family pod on the same row.
• The closest pod on the same row in the seating bowl will be separated by 3 empty seats.
An additional element of the stadium capacity includes a separation of seating from the field bench areas by 6 empty rows. These seating patterns permit a stadium capacity in the seating bowl of approximately 20,300, and approximately 2,400 in suites and loge boxes.
• Appropriate cloth or surgical-style masks that cover the nose and mouth completely will be required at all times while on campus and in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
• Other face coverings including clear face shields, gaiters/buffs, bandanas or masks with valves are not permitted.
• Fans may purchase approved masks from any of The Sooner Shop locations on game day if their mask does not meet guidelines.
• OU will continue its clear-bag policy this season. The approved clear plastic tote size is a maximum of 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Even those bags are subject to search.
• Non-transparent clutch wallets no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches are permitted.
• Bags necessary for medical equipment will be searched at marked medical lanes at each gate.
• No other bags or purses including diaper bags are permitted and the limit on bags is one per person.
• Fans may bring an EMPTY clear, plastic water bottle less than 17 oz. into the stadium.
• The WAZE feature in the SoonerSports2Go app can be used to guide fans to designated parking lots.
• A complete parking map is available on SoonerSports.com.
• Sooner Club members will receive parking info from their account representative in the coming days.
• Parking passes will be digital this year for those who qualify for Sooner Club parking.
• A limited number of portable toilets and sanitizer stations will be available in RV lots.
• The check-in process will be remote and cashless.
Game Day Shuttles
• Bus shuttles (pay) from Lloyd Noble Center will be available only to at-risk (65 and over) and ADA patrons for 2020.
• Buses will need to operate at 50% or less capacity, but more buses will be in operation.
PREGAME “PARTY AT THE PALACE” (NORTH OF STADIUM)
• Masks will be required to be worn.
• Vendor activations will be spread out to facilitate distancing protocol.
• Vendor lines will feature distancing decals and reminders.
• Food trucks from Midway Deli, The Meating Place and Kona Ice will operate this season.
• Usual tables and seating areas will be removed.
• Giveaways will be limited to pre-packed items.
• Bands will be replaced by a deejay.
• Digital ticketing will be implemented for 2020 to allow fans to seamlessly access or transfer tickets to others via the SoonerSports2Go app (step-by-step instructions and additional information on how to access and transfer tickets will be provided by the OU Athletics Tickets Office in the coming days).
• Barriers will be in place at all ticket booths and the visiting team ticket area to minimize contact.
• Ticket resolution areas will be located at Gates 5 and 7, as well as the main ticket office.
• Visiting team ticket allotments will be reduced per Big 12 Conference guidelines.
• Tickets will indicate preferred gate entry based on seat location.
• Self-serve pedestal scanners will be used to reduce points of contact.
• ADA patrons, premium ticket holders and fans needing extra time will be permitted to enter stadium 2.5 hours before kickoff (all others may enter 2 hours before kick).
• By entering the stadium, fans attest that they agree to OU’s fan code of conduct, are not COVID-19 symptomatic and will follow COVID-19 prevention protocol, including wearing a mask.
• Entrance pathways at each gate will be safely distanced.
• An increased number of bag-free express lanes will be available to reduce contact and expedite stadium entry.
• Pathway maps will be in place to help guide fans around the stadium.
• Once inside the stadium, fans will use the outer concourse (nearest gates) for movement around the stadium, and will utilize the inner concourse for concessions, restrooms and seating bowl entry.
• Concourse floor decals will indicate direction of travel and entry/exit locations.
• Bench and bistro seating will be limited or eliminated.
• Elevator capacity will be reduced to facilitate distancing protocol. Fans who must utilize an elevator to access their seats should budget more time than usual to get to their seat location.
• Cool zones will be utilized as first-aid stations (medical staff might elect to move patrons to the Norman Regional Gomer Jones Medical Facility inside stadium).
o Guests will not be permitted inside the Norman Regional Gomer Jones Medical Facility.
o Attendants will serve water to patrons as needed in single-use cups.
• The number of bike teams patrolling stadium perimeter will be increased.
• All high-touch areas and the stadium seating bowl will be disinfected prior to fan arrival.
• Approximately 230 hand sanitizer stations will be available in the stadium concourse, premium areas and press box levels.
• Additional game day staff will be dedicated to restrooms and other public and high-traffic areas.
• Bottle-filler stations have been added on all main stadium concourses.
• Restroom capacity will be controlled to assist with distancing.
• Touchless fixtures have been installed.
• One-way traffic will be implemented.
• A 100% cashless experience will be in place for food, beverage and retail (Apple Pay will be available at all locations).
• Mobile ordering will be available for concessions, retail and chairback purchases via the SoonerSports2Go app.
• Reverse ATMs (cash-to-card kiosks) will be available in stadium concourses so fans may use cash to purchase prepaid debit cards for use at concessions and retail locations.
• Concession stands will be 100% cashless.
• Plexi-barriers will be utilized to reduce employee and fan contact at concessions counters.
• Orders for select items can be placed via the SoonerSports2Go app to deliver a contactless order and pick-up experience at concession stands (designated pick-up locations only).
• Packaged condiments will be used instead of condiment stations.
• Customers seeking refills as part of the refillable popcorn and soda program will receive prepackaged items to transfer into personal packaging.
PREMIUM CLUBS AND SUITES
• Plexi-barriers will be utilized to reduce employee-to-fan contact at registers.
• Single-use disposable cups with lids will be present at fountain machines.
• Suite food will be stationed and wrapped before the game begins inside suites.
• Club area buffet lines will feature an attendant serving guests their elected options.
• Where possible, food and beverage will utilize eco-friendly, enclosed packaging to provide contactless service (ex. pre-wrapped or pre-portioned items, lid covers and continued use of plastic barriers).
• Stadium retail locations will be 100% cashless.
• Store capacity will be limited to facilitate distancing protocol.
• Mobile orders may be placed via the SoonerSports2Go app (pick-up locations available inside the stadium and at The Sooner Shop located at the bottom of the Asp parking garage).
• Portable shop presence in stadium will be limited.
• Fan amenities to be sold include approved masks and clear bags.
• New to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for the 2020 season, Digital Seat tags will unlock unique experiences, opportunities, and offers for Sooner fans.
• Fans simply aim their mobile device camera at the seat armrest or bleacher to instantly launch the Digital Seat platform. Once launched, the platform provides multiple interactive modules ranging from access to real-time stats, team rosters, valuable sponsor offers, purchasing team merchandise, enter-to-win campaigns, digital programs and more.
LOST AND FOUND
• Lost and Found will now be located inside OU’s Game Day Operations office (main concourse in stadium’s northwest corner).
• Patrons may claim lost-and-found items up to one hour after the conclusion of the game or from OU’s Facility Management Office during normal business hours.
PRIDE OF OKLAHOMA
• The Pride of Oklahoma will have an 80-member pep band in the stands this season and will move to section 27. The reduction in numbers is necessary to allow band members to appropriately distance themselves.
• For safety reasons, band members will not march on the field during game days this season. Pregame shows will feature recordings from past years, and halftime show will consist of recordings from this year’s Pride of Oklahoma members.
• In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Oklahoma has announced that tailgating is prohibited on OU campus grounds and parking areas for the 2020 football season.
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