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Power and Light District draws crowds as T-Mobile Center hosts 2nd major event of 2021

Power and Light District
Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 20, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In 2020, sports seasons were shortened, tournaments were canceled and that partially carried over into 2021. COVID-19 concerns caused the Kansas Jayhawks to withdraw from the Big 12 Tournament one week ago.

“I actually went to the tournament because I bought a ticket to see KU, and they didn’t get to play," Merriman said, "so it’s nice to be here, see them play and see a win."

But the weather and Saturday's sporting events drew large crowds to Kansas City's Power and Light District.

Hundreds of March Madness fans were content, cheering their teams onto victory.

"I think with time it will feel back to normal, but I think for now, this is good," Valerie Merriman, a Kansas fan, said.

The atmosphere is much different due to COVID-19 protocols. Social distancing was required, along with masks unless fans were eating or drinking.

“Been looking forward to this for a long time, finally kind of getting back to normal so, it’s all good," Jamie Jones, a Missouri fan, said.

The Big 12 Tournament was the first major event held at the T-Mobile Center this year after Disney on Ice was canceled last month due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Saturday, the arena welcomed fans of the Professional Bull Riders, but not without safety measures in place. Pod seating, mandatory masks and limited capacity were in place inside the T-Mobile Center.

“For about six months last year, we bucked bulls, we held our events for TV only, so to have anybody improves so much the energy and the level of excitement for our riders and our athletes," Robby Greene, head of television and production for PBR, said. "So this is the beginning of how we’ll open back up and get back to normal."

As COVID-19 case numbers drop and the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available, people are hopeful 20% capacity will increase

“It was just a really dark time when everything was closed and you couldn’t hang out with anybody, but now everyone can get together and have good times again. It’s awesome," Tyler Darbyshire said.

Kansas has vaccinated more than 22.2 percent of the state population and Missouri has vaccinated 21.7 percent, according to each state's database.