NEW YORK -- New York City basketball fans are excited about playoff basketball returning to Madison Square Garden -- and they're buying the tickets to prove it.
The New York Knicks announced Thursday they've sold out their reduced-capacity tickets for Games 1 and 2 of their series against the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks were offering 15,000 seats -- the largest capacity announced so far for the postseason.
The Knicks said in a news release that this will be the largest indoor gathering in New York since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The team added that it's expected nearly 90% of those in attendance will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I hope everyone in sports and entertainment is listening because the public has spoken -- they are fine with getting vaccinated and want to get back to the experiences they love," James Dolan, executive chairman of MSG Sports, said in a statement. "This overwhelming response by Knicks fans -- almost 90% of whom are vaccinated -- should silence any doubters. It's time to start booking events and filling up our schedules, so stay tuned."
The Knicks had previously announced the fan capacity at Madison Square Garden would increase from 1,980 in the regular season to 13,000 for the first round of the playoffs.
Julius Randle said the team was "extremely excited" for the increase in fans.
"It's going to be pretty packed in there. It'll be fun, just the energy. So we went from no fans to certain amounts, an even bigger amount now. I think it's perfect timing," he said.
In comparison to the Knicks' 15,000 fans, the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to welcome roughly 10,000 fans. The Utah Jazz could allow 13,000 fans. The Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks hover at about 9,000 fans.
The Knicks and Hawks tip off the series Sunday. Game 2 will be played Wednesday. This marks the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Knicks have made the postseason.