The NBA expects arenas to gradually increase fan attendance at games this season, and return to full capacity by next season, thanks to a combination of COVID-19 testing accessibility, widespread vaccinations and a new health screening partnership, announced Wednesday.
The NBA has entered a multiyear leaguewide partnership with Clear, a biometric screening company known for its expedited security screening at airports.
With the partnership, all 30 NBA teams will be able to use Clear's COVID-19 health screening technology at arenas, allowing teams to securely verify COVID-19 lab results and vaccination status for team employees, fans or both.
It will be up to each team as to how to use the technology, though at least one-third of the league has already been using the Health Pass program.
More than two-thirds of NBA teams are allowing fans into arenas for games at limited numbers, which vary based on city and state regulations.
For fans attending games, they can download the Clear app and upload to it an identifying document and a selfie. They can then link their COVID-19 test results through the app to fill out their health pass.
Before entering the venue, fans can open the app, verify their identity, complete a brief health survey. Then, depending on their COVID-related information will be given the go-ahead to enter the arena.
Some arenas will also sport a number of Clear kiosks to check temperatures and complete the process.
A Clear spokesman tells ESPN that areas only receive information about whether an individual has passed the access requirements; they do not receive any private health information.
Clear says the program is scalable and can eventually be used to fill areas to capacity, when state requirements allow teams to do so.
Photo: Getty Images