[UPDATE 2/23/20]: Following last week’s announcement that Madison Square Garden will begin welcoming limited in-person fans for Knicks and Rangers games in accordance with state reopening guidelines, the famed Manhattan arena has added a new concert event to its calendar. The newly announced performance by Colombian artist Maluma is set to take place at MSG on Friday, October 1st, according to the show’s announcement. Tickets for the show are set to go on sale this Thursday, February 25th.
JUST ANNOUNCED: @maluma returns to The Garden on Fri., 10/1/21 as part of his Papi Juancho Tour 🔥 Access presale tickets starting 2/25 at 10am thru 2/26 at 9am with code SOCIAL. Tickets go on sale to the general public 2/26 at 10am.
— MSG (@TheGarden) February 22, 2021
Even with this new announcement, the timetable and specifics regarding the eventual return of live music to The Garden remains unclear. The arena has a variety of concerts on its schedule set to take place ahead of the October Maluma show, though most of those—like the two-night Justin Bieber run scheduled for mid-July—were rescheduled to their current 2021 dates when their original dates were nixed last year.
Of note, the ticketing page for the Maluma show does not include the lengthy list of COVID safety compliance protocols and capacity limits included in last week’s reopening announcement. While any event in 2021 would have to comply with state-mandated COVID restrictions at the time of the show, the more open-ended announcement may indicate a sense of optimism with regard to the trajectory of the state’s eventual reopening later this year. Until then, Madison Square Garden—like the rest of the world—will have to remain flexible as the COVID-19 situation continues to change from day to day.
Scroll down to read through the various protocols in place for The Garden’s reopening to fans.
[2/16/21] Madison Square Garden will begin hosting in-person fans on February 23rd, marking the first time the famous New York City arena will welcome a ticketed audience since the novel pandemic forced its closure during the Big East Tournament on March 12th, 2020. While the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL) have played their games at The Garden throughout the start of their respective 2021 seasons, none of the franchises’ home games have featured in-person audiences.
MSG’s reopening to fans comes following Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s announcement last week that stadiums and arenas in the state may open with strict COVID-19 testing, distancing protocols, and capacity limits in place.
According to the reopening announcement on the Madison Square Garden Entertainment website, “We are thrilled to welcome fans back to Madison Square Garden, following the state’s decision to allow New York’s arenas to operate at 10% capacity. Our first events with fans will be New York Knicks and New York Rangers games, with Knicks beginning February 23 and Rangers beginning February 26. We want you to know that your health and safety remain our top priority, and we have worked closely with state and health officials to develop the strongest operating protocols with the goal of providing a safe and enjoyable experience.”
As the announcement continues, “While we’re not where we want to be yet – with every seat filled – this is an important first step. We can’t wait until we’re able to welcome more people through our doors, and when that day comes, we look forward to sharing in unforgettable moments at The World’s Most Famous Arena with more of our passionate fans – we’ve missed you!”
Fans attending this first batch of games will be subject to strict COVID-19 safety and testing protocols including timed, door-specific entry, on-site health screenings, and proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Face coverings will also be required for all fans in attendance, as will strict, “pod”-style distancing rules. For a list of protocols and answers to frequently asked questions about the reopening of Madison Square Garden to fans, head here.
MSG Entertainment has yet to comment on the timeline for the return of concerts at The Garden, which hosted its last ticketed, pre-pandemic show with The Brothers on March 10th, 2020. Ticketed music and arts performances have remained on pause throughout the state since then, and smaller venues, Broadway theaters, and the like will remain closed even as larger venues open for athletic events. Still, this new reopening chapter is a relatively promising first step toward the eventual return of arts and culture to the Big Apple.
New York lawmakers are also working on various initiatives to kickstart the arts in the interim. Cuomo’s reopening of arenas and venues in New York came after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the city’s “Open Culture” initiative, which will open up to 115 designated streets in all five NYC boroughs to be used for ticketed performing arts events throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Last week, Cuomo also announced the state’s plans for a NY PopsUp statewide arts festival, featuring over 300 performances from a variety of artists over 100 days beginning February 20th and continuing through Labor Day.