Oklahoma City Thunder will not have fans at any game during the 2020-21 season, the team announced to season ticket holders in an email Tuesday.
“As you know, the Thunder made a decision to begin this season without guests inside the arena.
“We communicated to you at that time, and since then, that we would monitor the situation to determine if guests could return at some point during the second half of the season.
As we have continued to evaluate all conditions, we have made the final decision to not host fans for the balance of the 2020-21 season.
“The decision was based on several factors. The ultimate one being that the overall health and safety of our fans and our community is the most important thing to us.”
The Thunder as in the case of most NBA teams, has played without fans at home games throughout the first half of the season due to COVID-19. But several teams are set to open their arenas when the second half of the season begins next week.
Just this week, the Spurs and 76ers announced that they will start allowing fans at a reduced capacity. That means that more than half of the teams in the NBA will be playing in front of fans after the All-Star break. The others: Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Phoenix and Utah.
The Thunder said another factor was the limited game experience fans would face under the strict conditions that would be required.
The last game with fans was March 2020 when the game against Utah was suspended prior to tipoff. Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, leading to the suspension of the game.