As COVID-19 fears grew, public officials and sports execs contemplated health risks — and debated a PR message — but let 33,000 fans into a Seattle…
Despite concerns about the new coronavirus, more than 33,000 fans attended the Seattle Sounders soccer match on March 7, 2020, at CenturyLink Field. (Lindsey Wasson/Sounders FC Communications)
In Italy, a Feb. 19 soccer match, later dubbed “Game Zero” and described by a respiratory specialist as a “biological bomb,” has been cited as a possible reason that one province became an epicenter of the pandemic.
But that match was played before the country’s first confirmed case of locally transmitted COVID-19. In Washington, community spread had been recognized at least a week before the Sounders match. The governor declared a state of emergency on Feb. 29, the King County executive on March 1.
On the evening of March 7, a Saturday, hundreds gathered in Occidental Park for their traditional March to the Match. They stood shoulder to shoulder and marched three blocks down Occidental Avenue to CenturyLink Field.