The NFL is intending to have fans in stadiums this coming season, but in case that is not a reality, the Baltimore Ravens have a backup plan. Ravens president Dick Cass shared in a conference call last week that the team is committed to establishing an assistance fund to keep the over 3,000 stadium staff paid for the coming season should games be played without fans in attendance.
“If we don’t have that kind of staff because we have a reduced crowd at the stadium, we are planning on creating an employees’ assistance fund,” Cass said according to the Associated Press, adding that “we have not terminated or laid off or furloughed anybody and we don’t intend to.”
Ongoing uncertainty makes it hard to determine whether stadiums will hold crowds in the fall. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that depending on what measures the country takes to combat a potential second wave of the outbreak – along with the amount of COVID-19 cases in a given community – playing NFL games with some fans may be feasible. The Miami Dolphins have outlined a mock-up safety plan that would grant 15,000 fans into Hard Rock Stadium rather than the venue’s full capacity of 65,000.
Teams across the MLB, NBA and NHL have created employee assistance funds for stadium staffers as their seasons have been altered by the pandemic. However, the Ravens are among the first in the NFL to make the same commitment.
The Ravens are expecting to open training camp and begin the season on time, however, Cass said that adjustments may need to be made.