The hottest ticket in town a year ago got even hotter Wednesday.
In less than an hour, Thursday’s boys basketball game between crosstown rivals Santa Fe High and Capital was sold out. Tickets went on sale at 4:30 p.m. and were gone before most fans had a shot at buying a seat.
The Santa Fe Public Schools Twitter account for athletics posted shortly after 5 p.m. that all tickets had been sold and that there would be no game-day sales at the door.
Citing social-distancing policies that mandate fan groups sit at least 6 feet apart, Capital athletic director Charles Bernert said Wednesday that Edward A. Ortiz Memorial Gymnasium can accommodate only 350 fans until further notice.
Santa Fe County’s turquoise status, as determined by the New Mexico Department of Health’s coronavirus framework, had no impact on increasing the gym’s capacity. Indoor venues can allow up to 33 percent of capacity but only when observing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for minimum distance between groups.
Using that as a framework, Bernert said there no way to fit more than 350 people into Capital’s gym.
With tickets selling at $5 for adults and $2 for students, it made for a very popular sale, one where demand far outweighed the supply.
“Yeah, at that price they do go fast,” Bernert said.
Capital and Santa Fe High are again two of the top teams in Class 5A for boys basketball, with each ranked in the top-10 of the latest coaches poll.
Santa Fe (3-1 overall, 2-0 in District 5-5A) and Los Lunas are tied for the district lead while Capital (2-1, 2-1) is a half-game behind, following a loss Tuesday at Los Lunas.
The Demons and Jaguars had six memorable meetings last season, each winning three times. They entered the state tournament on a collision course for a seventh meeting in the state semifinals before Santa Fe High was upset in the quarterfinals.
Both teams have reached the state finals the past two years. In the process, each has created a wave of followers that makes every meeting between the archrivals a popular event. Last year’s district tiebreaker and district tournament finals attracted sell-out crowds.
The teams will meet at least one more time this season, albeit with more space to accommodate additional fans. The scheduled April 28 rematch will be in Santa Fe High’s more spacious Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium, a venue that can hold about 1,000 in current conditions.
Thursday’s game will be streamed live on the NFHS Network and broadcast live on KSWV-AM 810 and KVSF-AM 1400.