The Cincinnati Reds rank 10th in baseball in attendance, averaging 11,600 fans in their first eight home games.
That number will climb because the Ohio Department of Health will allow the Reds to increase seating capacity from 30 to 40 percent, the Reds announced Wednesday. The change goes into effect April 30 when the Reds start a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
“The Reds are encouraged by this news and will continue to follow the guidelines set by our state,” said Reds President and Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini in a press release. “We are going to be choiceful as we add seats, keeping the safety of fans as our top priority. We believe this is the right approach as we mirror what is happening throughout the state.”
Great American Ball Park seats 42,319, so the 30 percent limit capped crowds at 12,695 fans. The biggest crowd this season numbered 12,598 on Saturday. The smallest crowd was 8,095 on Tuesday.
The 40 percent limit means the Reds could see crowds as big as 16,927. Instead of sitting in groups of six or fewer, fans can now sit in groups as large as 10 people. The seating pods can include multiple groups from separate parties.
Fans will still have to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.
“We are very pleased with our fans’ compliance to our safety protocols at the ballpark,” said Tim O’Connell, vice president of ballpark operations, in a press release. “Operationally it is our preference to add capacity in smaller increments like this, as the state permits.”