With most major professional sports now resuming action after the COVID-19 pause, it is time to take a look at the prospects for ticket sales.
Realistically it is hard to expect fans to be packing stadiums and arenas before next spring. Until then, the virus and how local governments react to it will remain the determining factors.
But we have seen signs of hope for folks who want to buy tickets. Here we’ll take a look at the major sports and the prospects for ticket sales.

First Foray

You may have noticed that a few weeks ago NASCAR took the first step in ticket sales to a sports event. It allowed sales of 30,000 tickets to its All-Star Race in Bristol, Tenn.

Only about 20,000 fans took them up on the offer, but it was the first foray into sales of sports tickets in the United States since sports began locking down in March.
Of course those 20,000 fans were situated with spacing in a 160,000-seat stadium. And Tennessee was a relatively safe state through most of spring and early summer. Positive COVID tests have not gone up in the state significantly since the event, though there is no way to tell if it contributed to spread, because people came in from other states.
Nevertheless, Bristol was a start. But what about other sports?

Baseball

Major league baseball has begun its shortened season, but there is no notion of selling tickets in the foreseeable future. What teams are selling is cardboard cutouts as proxy fans in the stands.
The good thing about baseball is that it is essentially an outdoor sport, even if you count stadiums with lids.

It is conceivable that limited attendance could be allowed late in the season or in the playoffs in late September.
The bad thing is that teams are travelling, as in a normal season, and that is being reflected in positive test results here and there. The more positive tests, the less chance of a normal schedule, and the less chance of sales of tickets.

Football

There are two major markets here – college and pro. The nature of the game as a full-contact sport causes more hesitancy for sake of athletes, so shortened rosters are a real possibility.
The college football landscape is so varied in size and location of schools, it is hard to tell how ticket sales will go. The status of school attendance is in doubt, which makes a prediction even harder.
With kickoff scheduled for Aug. 29, some teams and leagues are going to conference-only schedules, while others are considering a spring start.
Ohio State and Texas are planning to allow around 20,000 fans in their stadiums, both which are around 100,000 capacity. That is the likely trend for other major programs, at least for now. It is just a matter of deciding who gets a ticket.
The NFL has already dropped its preseason schedule for safety’s sake. Now scheduled to open play Sept. 10, no one has committed to having fans at stadiums, but there are reports that the league will move forward with fans.

If you plan to buy tickets, be prepared to mask up and sign a liability waiver. Full houses are doubtful for most of the season.

Basketball

An indoor sport, this is a tough one to guage.
College basketball had to let March Madness go by the wayside, simply because of timing. Schools and leagues now are looking forward to 2020-21, hoping that help is on the way. We’ll know more in October.
The NBA is playing in a bubble in Orlando, and no fans are likely to be allowed through the playoffs. Then they will move forward to ‘20-21.
The good news is that no NBA players of 346 tested have tested positive since mid-July.

Hockey

Another indoor sport, the NHL has gone north of the border for its bubble, with the eastern teams playing in Toronto and western in Edmonton. Since those cities are relatively safe, it is possible that some fans will be allowed at some point, but not at the start.
Even though it is a contact sport, the players seem relatively safe because gloves and face shields are part of their normal game wear.

Other Outdoor Sports

The PGA tour has resumed with no fans on courses. Because of limited seating and the potential for close quarter gatherings, that will probably be the rule for a while.
Soccer leagues worldwide have prohibited fans as they have resumed. The MLS has opened under a bubble concept that will play out through their season. On-site fans are prohibited.
NASCAR’s breakthrough in Bristol is the exception rather than rule as their season moves forward. The organization has agreed to adhere to local regulations, so there is a chance for tickets at some sites, particularly toward the end of the season in November.
Indy and Formula 1 circuits are running generally without fans. But many of their events are spread out on courses, often along city streets. This may be more conducive to ticket sales at least sometime in future.