JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sharks are back, and the arena league football team is hoping they have a full crowd there to see them.
The Sharks announced on Wednesday that they are planning on playing in front of a full capacity crowd in 2021. The Sharks, who play at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, are set to open their home schedule on June 12 at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Cobras.
Masks are not required, but “are encouraged for those who choose to wear them,” the team said in a release.
The decision to play in front of a full capacity crowd with no mandated safety restrictions comes after the UFC promotion came to Jacksonville last weekend and packed the house to the tune of 15,269 fans. Promotor Dana White said that the UFC said a VyStar arena gate record, and numerous fans that News4Jax spoke to said that they were grateful that the event brought back a bit of normal after 13 months of COVID-19 battles.
That event drew significant concern from different factions, with White’s hometown paper the Las Vegas Review Journal ripping the event.
“I am excited to see our championship-winning Jacksonville Sharks retake the field to a full crowd at the arena this June,” said Mayor Lenny Curry.
“The people of Jacksonville have been through so much in the past year and I am grateful to get back to the lifestyle we know and love in Northeast Florida. Thank you to the Jacksonville Sharks, National Arena League, and the hardworking team at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena for bringing live sports back to the River City.
The Sharks’ 2020 season was wiped out by the pandemic. The team won the National Arena League championship in 2019 with a 15-1 record. The team averaged more than 7,000 fans that season.
“The decision to have fans back in the arena is awesome, we can’t thank Mayor Curry and the Governor enough. It’s been a tough year, not sure what we would have done without the support of our fans. We’re excited to get back into the arena and start playing some football,” Sharks president Steve Curran said in a statement.
For schedule and ticket information, see here.
Jacksonville Sharks schedule
Date, Opponent (all times 7 p.m.)
June 4, at Ontario Bandits
June 12, vs. Carolina Cobras
June 19, at Orlando Predators
June 26, vs. Albany Empire
July 10, at Carolina Cobras
July 17, vs. Columbus Lions
July 24, vs. Orlando Predators
July 31, at Columbus Lions