New York to allow only the wealthiest to enjoy in-person sporting events

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New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center will open their doors this week for the first time in almost a year – but only to those who can reach deep in their pockets.

Both venues have opted for a private experience, disregarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that stadiums and arenas can now operate with 10 percent of the building’s overall capacity.

Instead each stadium is offering limited seating with exclusive options, including free food, nonalcoholic beverages and an optional COVID-19 test prior to arrival – but prices have sky rocketed to as high as $5,000 per ticket, first reported The New York Post.

The Brooklyn-based Barclays Center has a seating capacity that holds up to 19,000 people, but the stadium is only permitting 300 to enter – less than a sixth of the 1,900 available seats allowed under the new coronavirus regulations.

New group seating areas have been erected on platforms, complete with couches, tables and plexiglass barriers. Each group will be served their complimentary food by staff donning protective gear.

Along with receiving the optional coronavirus test with the purchase of their ticket, they will be given a rapid test prior to entering the stadium, which will give them their results in just six minutes, reported the Post.

Barclays Center is the first sports venue in the U.S. to offer COVID-19 testing with admission.

Though only the wealthy will be able to enjoy live sporting events at the moment, the Nets plan to open the arena’s upper seating to permit more entries, with tickets starting at $150.

“We are looking forward to bringing Nets fans back to Barclays Center to see what we believe is the most exciting team in the NBA,” CEO of BSE Global, John Abbamondi, told the New York publication.

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BSE Global is the parent company of both the Nets and Barclay stadium, and will reportedly be donating a portion of ticket proceeds to helping vaccinate Brooklyn.

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