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Allegiant Stadium hopeful to be at full capacity for Raiders games this season

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The Las Vegas Raiders played their inaugural season at Allegiant Stadium in 2020 without fans. (File)

Raider Nation received some good news over the weekend.

MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle told the Las Vegas Review Journal during a charity event Saturday he's working with Gov. Sisolak to open Allegiant Stadium at full capacity for Raiders games this season. The NFL had previously announced its intention to have full capacity in 2021.

"I know this fall we're going to have a full stadium for the Raiders," Hornbuckle told the Review-Journal.

Hornbuckle said he's optimistic the COVID-19 infection rates and ICU numbers will continue to drop in Las Vegas.

"We've been under 5 percent now for the last couple of weeks, so I think we're getting there," Hornbuckle told the Review-Journal. "I think it'll be a couple more stages, but I'm hoping by July 4th weekend we can just do what we do normally and have some fun."

Allegiant Stadium has a seating capacity of 65,000 people and the venue's first ever concert with Garth Brooks scheduled for July 10th is sold out. The concert was rescheduled from February 2021 and August 2020.

Raiders President Mark Badain followed up Hornbuckle's words by saying the team is hopeful it can bring fans to the stadium at full capacity and will continue to listen to the authorities and the medical community in the process.

"Obviously everybody wants to get back to live events, both in Las Vegas and around the world," Badain told the Review-Journal. "As soon as we're given the go ahead, our plan is to hopefully open the place up and pack it, and bring people to town, and have it be the economic stimulus that everybody thought it was going to be."

The Raiders played their inaugural season without fans in the stands for their eight home games in the 2020 season. While several NFL teams had a limited number of fans in the stands last season, it was all or nothing for Raiders owner Mark Davis, who opted to have an empty stadium for the entire season.

"Mark was in solidarity with the fans and he said, 'If they can't be in my stadium, I'm not going to be there,' so he didn't see any games in the stadium last year, and I think that says a lot about who he is," Badain said. "You can tell Raider Nation is ready to explode and to get into that stadium."

Fans had a first-look inside of Allegiant Stadium for UNLV's football games against Nevada and Fresno State in October and November 2020. Those two games were played in front of 2,000 fans, as the Rebels were granted 3 percent capacity of the stadium.

UNLV is scheduled to play six games at Allegiant Stadium this fall. Allegiant Stadium is scheduled to host BYU vs. Arizona in the September, the Pac-12 championship game in December and the 2022 Pro Bowl.

The NFL recently expanded the season from 16 games to 17 games, but the league has not announced a 2021 schedule yet.

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