Large outdoor venues — including stadiums — can open at limited capacity next month, and area football fans are hopeful they will get to enjoy Pirate Nation this year.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that venues of over 10,000 people can open at 7% capacity starting Oct. 2. While East Carolina University officials have yet to announce what that means for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the 50,000-person stadium would be allowed to hold 3,500 people under the new guidelines.

Football fans say they do not want to be on the outside looking in any longer this season, including Troy Dreyfus.

“It’s weird,” said Dreyfus, who has covered the team at the Pirate Radio Station for nearly 20 seasons. “I’ve never been through an ECU season with no fans, but I’ve never been through a pandemic either.”

He thinks fans add something special to game day.

“Fans add the atmosphere and the enthusiasm and a big part of the pageantry that is college football,” he explained.

Football fans like Ty Tabb and Alexander Valentine agree — watching from home just is not the same.

“It takes away the experience having to watch it through the TV, opposed to actually being in the stadium,” Tabb said.

“It adds to the atmosphere, and it’s also good for Greenville as a whole,” Valentine added.

If ECU allows the 7% of fans into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, these roommates will be among the diehard Pirate fans trying to score tickets.

With the new guidelines going into effect on Oct. 2, ECU’s first home game with the possibility of fans is scheduled for Oct. 17 against Navy.