DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Not only are the University of Dayton’s stadium seats empty but so were the seats at restaurants and bars on Brown Street. Some of the businesses said not having Flyers games was another financial burden on top of the pandemic.
“UD games help us out tremendously and it’s a huge financial loss to not have that boost,” said Nick Brandell, a manager at Jimmie’s Ladder 11.
The UD Arena’s walls once echoed with the cheers of thousands of fans, but it was nearly empty during the Flyers season opener.
The facility can hold as many as 13,407 fans, but the state’s health department is capping spectators at 300. UD Athletic Staff said the number for tonight’s game was well below that, likely closer to 100.
“There is no atmosphere right now. We probably won’t even get people in here to watch the game,” said Brandell. “We’ll have it on the TVs but the entire atmosphere is gone.”
Fans inside the arena said they’re glad to see the boys back on the court but the sound of fans cheering will definitely be missed. Crowd noise at the game is prerecorded and there is no live band or cheerleaders.
“When this place is filled it’s exciting, I myself like to sit by the band because there’s just so much excitement,” said Renee Johnson, a Flyers fan. “It definitely is different but I’m excited for the team, they just want to play.”
Renee is the mother of #40 Chase Johnson and said her son doesn’t seem to play different without the normal amount of fans but it’s no secret, things definitely feel different.
Seats will predominantly go to the team’s family members, with everyone masked and socially distanced. Spectator restrictions will be in effect through the end of 2020.
The flyers next scheduled game is Saturday afternoon.