Major League Baseball announced that its 30 clubs would be offering incentives to unvaccinated fans as part of a June program called “MLB Vaccinate At The Plate.” Details for many teams have already been released, but others are pending as the month enters its second week.
The drive is one of many occuring across the United States as COVID vaccination efforts continue. Many states have seen a diminished demand for the vaccines, and businesses – including many that were dramatically impacted by the required closures that public health officials put in place in 2020 – have been offering a number of benefits to those who are willing to get the shot. Major League Baseball is one of many sports organizations to join in, and is the first major professional league to offer such a centrally coordinated offer.
“Each of the 30 MLB Clubs, working with their local healthcare provider or a national pharmacy provider, will host at least one event where unvaccinated fans will be able to receive free tickets to a game if they get a COVID-19 vaccine,” the league’s website says.
Eight franchises have details available now regarding their plans, with a ninth providing a date but no details as to the specifics of the offer. The other clubs are providing information at a later date.
Tickets aren’t the only benefit on offer. Seattle, for example, is offering a free pair of tickets to an upcoming game plus a $20 Amazon gift card from June 14-June 23. Boston is offering vaccinations at upcoming high school graduations held at the ballpark, plus free tickets to an upcoming game where the second shot will be administered. In Arizona, the Diamondbacks are hosting a free vaccination event where those who participate will be able to run the bases in addition to their complimentary ticket to a future game.
According to MLB, two-thirds of its teams have also been allowed to relax their own social distancing protocols after reaching the league’s 85 percent fully vaccinated threshhold. In total, 85.2 percent of the league’s “tier one” personnel (players, managers, coaches, and other close contact support personnel) have received at least one dose of vaccines.
With vaccinations both in and outside of the playing field reaching higher levels, the number of franchises allowing full capacity attendance continues to grow. The Chicago Cubs will begin full attendance later this week with a home game against Atlanta, with Washington (June 11), Philadelphia (June 12), Milwaukee (June 25), and Minnesota (July 5) planning full reopenings soon. Texas, Atlanta, Arizona, Boston, Baltimore and Cincinnati are already allowing full crowds.
President Joe Biden has been pushing to get the United States to have 70 percent of adults vaccinated by the July 4th holiday. According to the White House, 63 percent of adults have received at least one shot, with 52 percent of adults fully vaccinated. There are currently 12 states that have 70 percent of adults vaccinated as of June 3.