With the 2020 NFL regular season fast approaching, it remains to be seen among many of the 32 teams whether fans will be allowed inside the stadiums.
Because the league is leaving it to each team to formulate their own plans and coordinate with their local and state authorities, policies are sure to vary from team to team. A few have already declared that no fans will be allowed at all this season; others have submitted plans to welcome fans, and some are operating on a case-by-case basis.
We’ve examined the plans that each team has made public so far, and found a few common themes:
- The NFL has already said that masks will be required at all games league-wide, and each team has made that mandate a prominent part of their admission policy.
- Social distancing will be in full force, and as a result no team so far has unveiled a plan that allows for more than 25 percent capacity at any stadium.
- Tailgating will either be banned, discouraged or limited in such a way that enforces social distancing protocols.
- Mobile ticketing and cashless payments, already a big part of the experience at many stadiums, will become mandatory — and may possibly remain that way after the pandemic passes.
- Single-game ticket sales will be almost exclusively limited to existing season ticket members, and if sales to the general public do occur, they will most likely be restricted to fans proving that they reside in the team’s general area. In other words, traveling to attend games will be highly discouraged.
Despite that last point, tickets will likely still be available on the secondary market, and fans will undoubtedly still travel.
While 2020 is probably not the year to do the ambitious football road trip that we love to tout on this site, it appears that going to a game or two is still an option to the resourceful, provided you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your fellow fans safe.
See below for an up-to-date list of what each NFL team is planning in regards to allowing fans into its stadium in 2020.
Since policies and protocols will continue to change rapidly, we’ll update this post as new information comes in, so we encourage you to continue to check the list if you indeed plan to attend a game this season.
Last updated: September 11, 2020
The Bills will not have fans for the first two home games at the stadium formerly known as New Era Field this season. If fans are permitted later in the season, ticket sales will be held for each game and be limited to season ticket members.
Bills’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. New York Jets
The Dolphins will restrict capacity at Hard Rock Stadium to 13,000 fans for the home opener on September 20. They revealed in a release that protocols being implemented at the stadium include a ban on tailgating, mobile ticketing and cashless purchases and socially distanced seating clusters.
Dolphins’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Buffalo
New England Patriots
The Patriots will keep fans out of Gillette Stadium through the end of September, affecting the first two home games. The team has been considering plans that would reduce the stadium’s capacity to 20 percent for home games, and that a pod system would be used to keep parties of fans distanced. However, that plan is subject to state and local approval.
Patriots’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Miami
New York Jets
By order of the state of New Jersey, MetLife Stadium will be closed to fans “until further notice.” That is expected to apply to the entire regular season for both the Jets and Giants, meaning all home games will be played in an empty stadium.
Jets’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. San Francisco
The team will not allow fans at M&T Bank Stadium for “at least the initial part of the 2020 season,” according to a release.
Ravens’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Cleveland
The Bengals will play their home opener at Paul Brown Stadium without fans in attendance. However, the state of Ohio has allowed a special variance that allows the Bengals — as well as the in-state rival Cleveland Browns — to open the stadium to a maximum of 6,000 fans for the team’s next two home games, both in October.
Bengals’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Browns will allow about 6,000 fans — or about 10 percent capacity — inside FirstEnergy Stadium for the team’s first two home games.
Browns’ first home game: Thursday, September 17 vs. Cincinnati
The Steelers will not have fans for the first two home games at Heinz Field. The Pitt Panthers, who share the stadium, also will not allow fans for their games through the end of September.
Steelers’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Denver
NRG Stadium will be closed to fans for the Texans’ home opener, on September 20. However, the status for the remaining home games will be made as the dates get closer.
Texans’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Baltimore
Capacity at Lucas Oil Stadium will be limited to a maximum of 25 percent, the team has announced. Colts season ticket members are being offered half-season plans in addition to deferring their plans to 2021.
Colts’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Minnesota
The Jaguars will cap capacity at TIAA Bank Field at 25 percent and will introduce a seating chart that allows for distancing between groups of fans. The team also said it might make single-game tickets available for purchase if demand merits.
Jacksonville will play all eight of its home games at TIAA Bank Field, as the two home games it was originally scheduled to play in London were moved when the NFL decided to cancel all International Series games in 2020.
Jaguars’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Indianapolis
The Titans will not have fans at their first home game on September 20 at Nissan Stadium, though it has been working on a plan to admit fans to home games later in the season.
Titans’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Jacksonville
The team will play its season opener at Empower Field at Mile High, the Monday-night nightcap, without fans. However, the stadium will be open to a maximum of 5,700 fans starting with the second home game, on September 27.
Broncos’ first home game: Monday, September 14 vs. Tennessee
Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium will open to a reduced capacity of about 22 percent, according to a team news release. That means fans will be welcome at the NFL opener on Thursday, September 10, in which the Chiefs will celebrate their Super Bowl championship.
Tickets for the Chiefs’ first three home games will go on sale later this month, with season ticket members getting the first crack at them.
Chiefs’ first home game: Thursday, September 10 vs. Houston
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders’ highly anticipated first season in Las Vegas will take place without fans at the new Allegiant Stadium, the team has announced. It’s certainly a disappointment for the team, which had reportedly already sold all of its tickets for the upcoming season.
Raiders’ first home game: Monday, September 21 vs. New Orleans
Los Angeles Chargers
In a joint decision with the Rams and the new SoFi Stadium, the Chargers have announced that home games will be held without fans “until further notice,” leaving open the possibility that fans may be admitted to games later in the season.
Chargers’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Kansas City
Team owner Jerry Jones has been outspoken about his desire to have fans at AT&T Stadium this season, though he acknowledged that the ultimate number of fans allowed in for each game is “a moving target.” Jones also floated the idea of a pod format for tailgating and seating to adhere to social distancing protocols, and the team has announced it will implement mobile-only ticketing and cashless purchases.
Cowboys’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Atlanta
New York Giants
By order of the state of New Jersey, MetLife Stadium will be closed to fans “until further notice.” That is expected to affect the entire regular season for both the Giants and Jets, meaning all home games will be played in an empty stadium.
Giants’ first home game: Monday, September 14 vs. Pittsburgh
The Eagles will not allow fans to attend games at Lincoln Financial Field “until further notice.” That could change later in the season if local and state authorities allow for it.
Eagles’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Los Angeles Rams
Washington Football Team
The team has announced that no fans will be allowed to watch games during the 2020 season at FedEx Field.
Washington’s first home game: Sunday, September 13, vs. Philadelphia
Seating capacity will be reduced at Soldier Field, and single-game tickets will be made available exclusively to season ticket members, the team has announced.
Bears’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. New York Giants
The Lions announced that the first two home games of the season at Ford Field will not have fans. But the remainder of the season, starting with home game No. 3 on November 1 against Indianapolis, is still under evaluation.
Lions’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Chicago
Green Bay Packers
The first two regular-season games at Lambeau Field will be closed to fans, the Packers have announced. The Packers’ third home game isn’t until November 1, giving the team time to determine a course of action for the remainder of the season.
Packers’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Detroit
The Vikings have announced that the first two games at U.S. Bank Stadium will be played without fans. The team is holding out hope of bringing fans back in some capacity for future home games.
Vikings’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Green Bay
The Falcons will play their first two home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium without fans, the team has announced. Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer, which shares the stadium, will also play without fans during the month of September. The two teams will reassess conditions as October approaches.
Previously, the Falcons stated they would limit capacity to 20,000 for all home games during the 2020 season.
Falcons’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Seattle
The Panthers will not allow fans into Bank of America Stadium for the team’s first home game, the team has announced. The team previously said that ticket inventory will be greatly reduced and only available to a reduced number of personal seat license owners at Bank of America Stadium.
Panthers’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Las Vegas
New Orleans Saints
The home opener on September 13 will be played without fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints have announced. The status of ensuing home games will be determined on a case-by-case basis as those dates approach.
Saints’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No fans will be allowed for the first two Buccaneers home games at Raymond James Stadium, according to the team. After a surge in season-ticket sales prompted by the Bucs’ signing of Tom Brady, the team has offered season ticket members the option of rolling over to 2021 or obtaining refunds in expectation of drastically reducing capacity for games later in the season.
Buccaneers’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Carolina
The Cardinals will not have fans for their first two home games at State Farm Stadium, the team announced. The possibility of fans being admitted to games later in the season “has not been ruled out,” according to a news release.”
Cardinals’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. Washington
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams, as well as the co-tenant Chargers, will keep SoFi Stadium closed to fans “until further notice.” They have deferred all of their season-ticket sales for 2020 in the brand new stadium to 2021. Should it be deemed allowable, the team will give season ticket members priority on single-game sales.
Rams’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Dallas
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have confirmed that the season opener on September 13 at Levi’s Stadium will be held without fans. If the stadium is opened for future games, tickets will be made available on a game-by-game basis to season ticket members. No indications have been made as to how much capacity will be allowed into the stadium if it does open.
49ers’ first home game: Sunday, September 13 vs. Arizona
The Seahawks have announced that they will play their first three home games at CenturyLink Field without fans, taking them through the end of October. Earlier, the state of Washington barred Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer from allowing fans to watch matches in the same stadium.
Seahawks’ first home game: Sunday, September 20 vs. New England
About Edward de la Fuente | Itinerant Fan
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