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Professional Bull Riders schedules South Dakota event with fans in attendance

PBR chief executive Sean Gleason (Credit: Bull Stock Media)

Professional Bull Riders is scheduled to become the first major sports organization in North America to stage an event with fans in attendance amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Endeavor-owned property became one of the first-movers in the return from the health crisis when it staged an event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in late April.

Now PBR is extending its new-found innovation by allowing spectators for an event at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12.

The event is the championship weekend of the newly-created PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, the first four weekends of which will be staged without spectators at South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, throughout June. The competition will be broadcast on the CBS family of networks.

To ensure health and safety requirements at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, tickets will be available to the public for only approximately 35 per cent of stadium capacity; there will be a four- to six-foot buffer between ticketed seats; re-routed in-arena traffic flow; and complimentary facial coverings for fans entering the venue.

In addition, there will be mobile ticketing to replace traditional printed tickets; an increased reliance on cashless, contactless concessions with prepackaged food available for sale; social distancing guidelines and monitoring at restroom and concession areas; and limits on the number of fans who may enter and occupy restrooms at any time.

“After successfully holding closed events in Oklahoma that utilized a comprehensive wellness and safety plan now being reviewed by other leagues, we have added protocols to provide fans a secure place to enjoy a new exciting team format,” said PBR commissioner Sean Gleason. “We want to thank our fans for their patience and cooperation, as well as our venue, city and state partners, including Governor Kristi Noem, for collaborating on these measures for bringing this new team tournament in front of fans in an environment they’ll be comfortable in.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem added: “South Dakota is working to get back to normal, and that includes the return of sports at the proper time.”