While the Twins wait to hear how many fans might be allowed at Target Field on opening day, they asked season-ticket holders Monday to make decisions about their 2021 plans.
In a letter to ticket holders, the team said it is preparing for a limited number of fans at Target Field for the home opener April 8 against the Seattle Mariners. But the Twins are waiting for Gov. Tim Walz to tell them what that number will be, owing to COVID-19 concerns; the ballpark can accommodate just over 39,000 fans, but it won't be anywhere near capacity next month.
So the Twins are providing season-ticket holders with two options: opt-in for the full season, or receive credits on their accounts and buy tickets monthly at an exclusive presale. The team asked season-ticket holders to respond by March 8.
Last year, the no-fans-allowed baseball season didn't start until July. So Twins fans were given the option of taking an account credit for their 2020 tickets or receiving a refund. Team spokesman Matt Hodson said that more than 92% of season-ticket holders, or roughly 12,000, chose the credit. Those fans got a 15% bonus in their accounts, he said.
This year, fans can opt-in for the season and attend all games in their plan. Those who do may be moved to what the team is calling a "revised seat location" to allow for appropriate social distancing.
The team noted that the revised seat location might be in a different section and price category from the ticket holder's regular package. If the new seats are cheaper, fans will receive a credit that can be used during the 2021 or 2022 seasons. Ticket prices for 2021 will remain the same as they were for 2020.
Fans who choose this option will receive tickets at the beginning of each month and should expect their seat locations to change as capacity at the ballpark increases throughout the season. Ticket holders who choose this option will be in for the rest of the season and don't need to take additional action.
The second option allows fans to continue taking account credits for their seats and participate in monthly presales exclusively for season-ticket holders. The team noted that availability may be limited during the presales, and tickets will be sold in groups of two and four seats.
If and when the Twins get approval to fully open Target Field, the ticket holders in group two will receive seats in their original location for the remaining games in the season, the team said. The team's plan for the upcoming season includes keeping pods of fans who attend the games together seated at a distance of 6 feet from other pods.
Over the weekend, the Twins began playing spring training games in Fort Myers, Fla., under COVID restrictions and with a limited number of socially distanced fans in the seats at Hammond Stadium.
The team has submitted an extensive plan to Walz and the state Department of Health aimed at bringing fans back to Target Field. The plan includes tying up seats that aren't in use; using an app for contactless ordering and pickup of food, drinks and merchandise; and working with Maplewood-based 3M Co. on an array of cleaning and safety protocols.
Walz has provided no timeline on when he might make a decision about capacity at Target Field. The ballpark has been closed since last fall, and the team needs a month to prepare the facility for the return of fans.