KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Royals begin their 2021 Major League Baseball season at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Thursday, fans will be in the stands for the first time since 2019.
How the team limits capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic means fans will notice several changes when they attend a game in-person this season. Here’s 41 Action News’ guide to Royals Opening Day 2021:
- Game time: 3:10 p.m. Thursday, April 1, 2021
- Opponent: Texas Rangers
- Royals starting pitcher: Brad Keller
- Fans must buy parking pass in advance, passes not sold at gate in 2021.
- Tailgating is only allowed within a group's pod directly behind their vehicle.
- Parking is split into zones to get fans closest to the stadium entrance where they'll be seated
- Fans must buy tickets in advance. The box office is not open on game day.
- Tickets must be digital/mobile accessible on the MLB Ballpark App.
- In 2021, the Royals will not allow fans to enter with large bags or food like in the past.
- No bags larger than a 4 inch by 6 inch clutch.
- New bag policy aims at reducing contact and interaction between guests and stadium staff.
Game day experience:
- In 2021, all registers within Kauffman Stadium are cashless. People must use a credit, debit or gift card or a pay by phone option.
- The stadium does have a reverse ATM where people can insert cash and receive a gift card.
- Fans must wear face coverings at all times inside the stadium with the exception of when they’re actively eating or drinking.
- Seats and blocked off into pods. Each pod is at least six feet away from another.
- Staff used zip ties to keep unsold seats folded shut.
New safety netting and foul poles:
- Before the 2020 season, the Royals replaced the foul poles in left and right field for the first time in Kauffman Stadium’s history.
- The new poles are necessary to support the weight of an expanded protective netting system.
- Nets now stretch from foul pole to foul pole protecting fans from foul balls and errant bats.
- Kauffman Stadium is now home to the tallest HDR capable screen in all of MLB (and the NFL).
- CrownVision, the video board past centerfield received its first major upgrade since its installation in 2008.
- The screen is now High Dynamic Range, which means it can provide a clearer picture for fans.
- CrownVision can now display more than one billion different colors.
- The Royals also installed a brand new video screen on the Hall of Fame in left field.
- Plus the team upgraded the two video scoreboards in the outfield wall.
- Opening Day collectible pins, baseballs and t-shirts are available for sale at the Royals team store within Kauffman Stadium.
- In 2021, the store will now offer $40 mystery bags. No two bags are alike. Only after purchasing the bags will customers find out what combination of apparel, head wear, novelty or other specialty items are inside.
- The team store also expanded in exclusive line of t-shirts known as the K Collection with Homage. 20+ new designs depict current and former players as well as a variety of vintage logos.
- The store now sells face masks with Royals logos
- Due to COVID-19, the store has limited capacity and does not accept cash.