An executive order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer has forced the Detroit Lions to refund numerous fans after she capped stadium attendance at just 500 amid an uptick in coronavirus cases in the state. The team had sold three-game ticket packages to season ticket holders, but had to backtrack when it became apparent that they had sold far more than her new limits would allow.
“For weeks we have counted the days until our November home games in anticipation of welcoming you back to Ford Field,” an email to season-ticket holders read. “As a result of the Governor’s most recent Executive Order, we are unable to honor the 3-game ticket package you previously purchased. To say we are disappointed is an understatement.”
Games on November 1 against Indianapolis, November 15 against Minnesota and Thanksgiving Day – November 26 – against Houston, are impacted by the order.
The rollback comes as several teams are ramping up fan capacity across the league. Ohio authorities approved bumping capacity for Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals games to 12,000 just this week, while Tampa Bay began its initial allowing of fans at games with an event last week celebrating the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup victory. Denver also began allowing fans with 5,700 able to attend remaining home games for 2020.
For Detroit fans, funds paid for the packages that have since been cancelled by Gov. Whitmer’s restrictions will be rolled over towards the purchase of tickets for the 2021 season. It is unclear whether or not the team will allow fans up to the 500 capacity allowed under the new order.
Michigan has seen 142,726 confirmed COVID-19 cases according to worldometers.info. After seeing its average number of new cases decline from a high of nearly 2,000 at its peak in April to below 200 in mid-June, counts have been rising once more. The 7-day moving average just moved back above 1,000 new cases, but the average number of deaths attributed to the virus has been consistently between 10-20 since June.
Should the order be altered or changed, Lions fans could theoretically attend the final three home games of the season. Green Bay heads to Ford Field in Week 14, with Tampa Bay and Minnesota in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively.