Notre Dame expects full capacity for 2021 season

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When Toledo visits Notre Dame on Sept. 11, Notre Dame Stadium should be filled for the first time in nearly two years. When USC arrives in South Bend in mid-October for a primetime game, the Trojans should be met by nearly 80,000 fans in green. When the Irish seniors are recognized against Georgia Tech in mid-November, more than their teachers and classmates will applaud them.

The University announced Wednesday afternoon that it will sell 2021 football tickets with plans of crowds being back at full capacity after limiting attendance in 2020 to only students, faculty and staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We can’t wait to welcome the Notre Dame family back to campus next season,” director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said. “Between now and the start of the football season, we will continue to closely monitor conditions throughout the nation, in St. Joseph County and on campus, and based on that information will decide what protocols and procedures will be employed to ensure the safety of all attendees.”

A significant part of why Notre Dame limited attendance in 2020 was its difficulty maintaining a viable atmosphere on campus, aside from football. Introducing fans from across the country would have amplified that difficulty.

But in the fall, the University will require all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus. Even with only 90 percent of students vaccinated to end the spring semester, campus coronavirus positive test results plummeted, so it is logical to expect the campus atmosphere to not be a worrisome one in the fall.

Instead, it will be a festive one, with Swarbrick also offering optimism that tailgates will be full-go, along with other football weekend traditions.

“We encourage that everyone attending a game this fall be vaccinated,” Swarbrick said.

Notre Dame will begin selling tickets to season ticket members this week and in mid-July, per the release, and a ticket lottery will work through its usual participants before single-game tickets are made available in mid-August.

Of course, all those tickets will be digital in 2021. Notre Dame will no longer have any paper tickets. All tickets will be handled through mobile ticketing, as in, smartphones and apps.

RELATED READING: Notre Dame makes the move to mobile ticketing for all sporting events starting this fall