Allegiant Stadium will get an extended dress rehearsal before it sees its first fans, as the Las Vegas Raiders have decided that they will play home games this fall in front of an empty building, according to an email sent to season ticket holders Monday. The brand new venue, which was supposed to open this month with NFL preseason games and a Garth Brooks concert, will now likely see the first several months of its operation with only game day personnel and players in the building.
Team owner Mark Davis addressed fans with the news, confirming earlier statements of his expressing doubt that the organization would open its doors if attendance was going to be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. “This decision is based on our committment to protect the health of our fans and the entire community in response to the coronavirus pandemic affecting us all,” he wrote, indicating that the decision was based on a combination of keeping fans safe, but also avoiding “potential inequitites associated with determining who can and cannot attend specific games” to all who committed to the exhorbitant premium the team asked fans to pay for personal seat licenses in the new building.
“While the current situation is not how any of us envisioned celebrating the opening of Allegiant Stadium, when circumstances permit we look forward to sharing an unparalleled GameDay Experience in the Magnificent Stadium you helped build.”
Fans will be given the option of rolling payments already made into 2021, or requesting a full refund. They will also receive the collectible swag the team had planned on giving out to its inaugural season ticket members upon their move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
The Raiders are officially the third NFL franchise to announce fans will not be able to attend this fall. The New Jersey-based Jets and Giants are using the very limited capacity that Governor Phil Murphy is allowing at outdoor events in the state to accomodate friends and family of team members and coaches, with no ability for fans to attend. Many other franchises have cancelled season tickets for the year, with hopes that season ticket members will be able to purchase single game tickets once their capacity limits and seating charts are finalized.
Garth Brooks recently announced his August concert would be postponed to February of 2021, which may wind up being the stadium’s first event with fans in attendance – assuming that date holds. University of Nevada, Las Vegas will also play its home games at Allegiant Stadium, but the team has not yet announced its plans for the upcoming season relative to attendance. The stadium is also scheduled to host the Pro Bowl in early 2021 and the Las Vegas Bowl featuring a matchup of Pac-12 team against either an SEC or Big Ten opponent.