There is no doubt that this pandemic has allowed for a lot of creativity across the world. From virtual workouts to in-person graduations to other unique ways to conduct business, a lot of challenges have been overcome. New challenges are now arising, however, like NFL game attendance. While it is hard to picture packed stadiums this fall, other high volume events have occurred that could be used as a blueprint for sporting events going forward.
As fall approaches so too does another NFL season. The financial implications of playing in empty stadiums is massive as the league is a multi-billion dollar industry. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, arguably the most recognized owner in the league, wants fans to attend games this season. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is allowing football stadiums to host fans at fifty percent capacity. AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, has an 80,000 person capacity. Jones is hoping that small groups between five to fifteen people will be able to sit together in the stands. Similarly, the Atlanta Falcons are hoping to have between 10,000 to 20,000 fans in their 71,000 capacity stadium.
Social Distance Test
The thought of this might seem a little much to some, but a temporary performance venue in England could be a factor in helping determine how to safely host fans. Earlier this week, 2,500 people were able to attend a Sam Fender concert in person. The venue was able to meet social distancing requirements by setting up hundreds of small seating areas apart from one another. Five people were allowed to sit together as long as they arrived in the same vehicle. Food and drinks were able to be pre-ordered to avoid crowding food areas. The venue is playing host to comedians and musicians over the next few weeks.
There is really no chance that stadiums and venues will be at full capacity throughout the rest of 2020. This does not have to mean that stadiums are completely empty, however. Careful planning and limited numbers could possibly give fans a way to enjoy events in person.
Burke, Minyvonne. “Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Expects Fans to Attend Home Games.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 13 Aug. 2020, www.nbcnews.com/news/sports/dallas-cowboys-owner-jerry-jones-expects-fans-attend-home-games-n1236607.
Eckstein, Jakob. “How The NFL Makes Money: TV Is King, Streaming and Gambling on Horizon.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 5 Feb. 2020, www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/062515/how-nfl-makes-money.asp.
“Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Falcons Football Stadium – Stadiums of Pro Football.” Stadiums of Pro Football – Your Ticket to Every NFL Football Stadium, www.stadiumsofprofootball.com/stadiums/mercedes-benz-stadium/.
Woodyatt, Amy. “UK’s First Socially Distanced Concert Shows What the Future of Live Music Might Look Like.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 Aug. 2020, www.cnn.com/travel/article/social-distanced-music-festival-intl-scli-gbr/index.html.