What will a Phoenix Rising matchday look like at Casino Arizona Field?
Phoenix Rising FC will be permitting fewer than 1,000 season-ticket members to matches at Casino Arizona Field starting Friday against Las Vegas Lights FC.
The club made the announcement on Friday after receiving a safety certification and guidance protocols from HealthyVerify, a private company that specializes in disease-reducing procedures.
“It was a group that was brought to our attention by an attorney that we work with,” Phoenix Rising GM Bobby Dulle told media on a Zoom call Tuesday.
“And as we did our homework and saw some of the groups they were working with — airlines, restaurants, different municipalities — we felt it was a good group as we put together our operational plan, that they were the ones to kind of revise it, make suggestions and ultimately provide an outside, independent third-party to review what we were doing.”
Dulle said that the group is made up of medical professionals, doctors, infectious disease experts, professors at Arizona State University and attornies.
“For us, it was an additional investment which is never easy at this time,” Dulle said. “But as with every decision — whether it’s getting the players back out to training or getting the players back out to resume games — it was well worth the investment because health and safety are things we don’t want to jeopardize at any level.”
On Wednesday night, the club will be hosting a call to answer any questions as well as take suggestions from fans that are attending Friday night’s match.
So what will a Phoenix Rising matchday at Casino Arizona Field look like under the new protocols?
For starters, parking will be more spread out throughout the parking lot. The club’s bag policy has also changed to a no bag policy other than for medical reasons. However, noisemakers — such as drums — will be permitted.
Fans will be spread out and given an assigned seat on either the east, west or south end of Casino Arizona Field.
Food and drink (including alcohol) will be available for purchase, but the club asks that fans consume those at their seats, as the normal picnic tables placed around the stadium will not be available. And although PRFC’s next home match falls on a Friday, Dulle says $1 beer night is not something that is likely in 2020 due to safety reasons.
Other than eating or drinking, fans must wear a facial covering at all times and are also being asked to stay in their assigned seat during the game. There will also be a text message that fans can anonymously send in order to report any protocol violations within the stadium.
“We’ll be extremely strict. … and we’re going to enforce it,” Dulle said. “If we see that it’s something just being blatantly disrespectful — then there’s just no room for it and we’ll just ask them to leave the venue and not return.”
Dulle added that the east stands will wait to exit until the field has been vacated in order to prevent a crossing between the fans and the coaches, players and referees along the northeast walkway from the locker rooms to the pitch.
“We won’t have the kids walking out onto the field with the players,” Dulle said.
“We won’t have something that we pride ourselves on and our players really enjoy: postgame autographs and walking around and high-fiving the fans. Those actions within the game won’t take place.”
Ticket sales for the general public will not be for purchase as the amount of season-ticket holders outnumbers the amount of available seating, which is at roughly 15% capacity.
“When we had the opportunity to open it up, we certainly wanted to reward and honor and pay back our season-ticket members first and foremost that have stood by us through this entire thing. We have based it off of priority numbers,” Dulle said.
Phoenix Rising hosts Las Vegas Lights on Friday at Casino Arizona Field, the club’s first home match with fans in attendance since opening night on March 7.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be audio broadcasted live on ArizonaSports.com and on the new Arizona Sports app.