The NFL is one of the only sports leagues eyeing a full, uninterrupted 2020 season despite the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, officials are planning on seeing full stadiums this fall.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, spoke of the league’s hopes for fan-filled stadiums in an appearance on “The Brian Mitchell Show” on The Team 980 Friday.
“We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise,” Vincent said, via NBC Sports Washington. “Now remember when we’re talking — we’re talking about August, September. So there’s a lot that can happen here. So we’re planning for full stadiums.”
The league may face roadblocks on that plan. Depending on what the pandemic looks like in the fall, health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have said the NFL could be in the clear to host fans so long as they are complying with social distancing. But if the virus sees a second wave of cases in the coming months, operations could get trickier even in empty stadiums. Regardless, contingency plans are being developed.
“We also know that we have to plan for half stadiums. Three-quarters. So we’re planning for all of these different scenarios,” Vincent added. “But first and foremost, we’re making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that’s our plan. That’s our plan of action.”
Various teams have taken their own measures to bring fans into stadiums this coming season, albeit not intending to fill every seat out of safety. The Pittsburgh Steelers have released only 50 percent of their single-game ticket inventory for sale last week to accommodate any need for social distancing. The Miami Dolphins have laid out safety plans to reduce their stadium capacity by nearly 80 percent and implement other measures like required face masks in-stadium, organized entry and exits and concession pick-up services.
On the field, the NFL is testing new masks potentially made from surgical or N95 material to mitigate the transmission of the virus.