Once inside the Hungarian capital’s large new arena, however, the 15,500 spectators spread out in the 67,000-seat stadium.
The European Super Cup game between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in Budapest passed off smoothly on Thursday as UEFA used it as a trial run to see if the world's most popular sport can be played in front of live audiences once again.
Fans began to arrive hours before the match, the first major European club competition game to allow them since soccer returned amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and 60 minutes before kickoff the crowds at the Puskas Stadium were building.
Once inside the Hungarian capital's large new arena, however, the 15,500 spectators spread out in the 67,000-seat stadium.
Encouraged to do so by signs and security staff, they milled around the grassy grounds, standing or strolling about well apart from each other with everyone wearing face masks.
The coronavirus pandemic stopped fans going to stadiums, although club football in many countries has now resumed and some have allowed a limited number of spectators in to watch games.
UEFA had decided its traditional season-opening Super Cup game, between the Champions League winners and Europa League champions, would be safe to attend, but the ruling body faced criticism.
The fans who did get in were focusing on the positives.
"I can't tell you how long I have waited to do something like this, it's like I'm having withdrawal symptoms, but now I'm getting a fix and there is nothing to stop me," said 24-year-old Bayern supporter Matyas Lakatos.
A friend came over to hug him but Lakatos pushed him away.
"Not here, man," he said.