The NFL’s return in September was an awaited sight amid all the pandemic blues. Sports shut down completely in early March as COVID-19 raged throughout the country, and many fans wondered if football would return at all. Many teams have made it happen this season.
While the NFL has generally left it up to the teams to decide if they want to have fans or not, the Center for Disease Control’s social distancing guidelines cap attendance to about 20-25% of U.S. venues’ full capacity. Many teams are ready to follow the guidelines and assess the situation on a week-to-week basis, which is contingent on the number of cases in their particular city indicating that the situation remains highly fluid between the teams and city authorities.
Consequently, the pandemic has upended ticket sales. The NFL stands to lose about $5.5 billion — or 38% — of its stadium revenue, based on 2018 league numbers, according to Forbes. The impact on each team will differ.
About 40% of NFL season-ticket holders who pushed their packages to 2021 demanded a refund, according to Sports Business Journal, pointing to further trouble for the league in the coming weeks. In response, many teams have started encouraging their fans to leave their money in their accounts by offering incentives like food and drinks discounts and priority access to playoff tickets.
Many players have opted out of the season, citing various personal and family medical reasons. In total, 66 NFL players announced that they will not be playing the 2020 season.
NFL Team 2020 Fan Attendance Tracker (Last Updated: 4:30 p.m. ET on Oct 22):
Teams That Will Not Have Fans in Attendance:
- Baltimore Ravens (testing procedures in Week 4 with family of players and staff)
- Buffalo Bills (for the first two home games)
- Chicago Bears (until further notice)
- Detroit Lions (through Oct.)
- Green Bay Packers (for first two home games)
- Las Vegas Raiders (for 2020 season)
- Los Angeles Chargers (until further notice)
- Los Angeles Rams (until further notice)
- New England Patriots (through Sept.)
- New York Giants (until further notice)
- New York Jets (until further notice)
- Philadelphia Eagles (until further notice)
- San Francisco 49ers (for the first home game)
- Seattle Seahawks (for first three home games)
- Washington Football Team (for 2020 season)
Teams That Will Have Fans in Attendance:
- Arizona Cardinals (capped at 1,200 for week 7)
- Atlanta Falcons (will allow limited fans beginning Week 5)
- Cincinnati Bengals (capped at 12,000)
- Cleveland Browns (capped at 12,000)
- Carolina Panthers (5,240 fans for the second home game on Oct. 18)
- Dallas Cowboys (21,078 fans attended home opener)
- Denver Broncos (capped at 5,700 for week 7)
- Indianapolis Colts (capped at 12,000 fans beginning Week 6)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (capped at 16,791 fans)
- Kansas City Chiefs (capped at 16,046 fans)
- Miami Dolphins (capped at 13,000 fans)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (capped at 5,500 fans)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (capped at 10,000 fans )
- Tennessee Titans (capped at 10,400 for week 7)
- Houston Texans (13,300 fans for Week 4)
- Minnesota Vikings (testing procedures in Week 6 with family of players and staff; further plans to follow)
- New Orleans Saints (capped at 3,000 for week 7)
- Philadelphia Eagles (capped at 7,500 fans)