Hartford Athletic prepares for first-ever playoff match, with more fans in the stands

Hartford Athletic

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) –This is a big moment for Hartford Athletic as they make their first-ever playoff run. And now that Connecticut is in phase 3 of reopening that opens up Dillon Stadium to allow even more to see it in person.

From 25% capacity to 40% — more fans will be in the stands this weekend. The Athletic’s Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives, Joe Calafiore, says the team balanced expanded capacity with fan safety.

“Yes if you look at the phase 3 reopening protocols for the state of Connecticut that number could’ve been larger but as we were reviewing it and with distancing between seats and the number of people in the stadium and the footprint we have 40% was a number that the city and the state were comfortable with,” Calafiore told News 8. “So it’s important to us that we are being safe during this pandemic at the same time allowing as many fans in the stadium as possible to witness this historic moment for the club.”

And the fans can’t wait until game day. The team even made arrangements for the most loyal supporters to watch practice from a distance — cheering on the Athletic as they prepare for Saturday night’s big match.

“I think it’s just some playoff fever. We have some very passionate fans here,” says Athletic fan Brandon Peate.

That passion doesn’t go unnoticed. Players and fans shared a special moment at practice… from afar.

“It’s amazing how much this team really appreciates us,” says Peate. “Like a couple of them know us by name. They come over at the end of every game to show their appreciation.“

40% capacity at Dillon Stadium is about 2000 fans. And while Saturday’s game is sold out, if things go well they could be back here playing again before the playoffs end. 

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