The Baltimore Ravens NFL American football franchise has become the first team in the league to specify its intended attendance cap if fans are allowed at games during the 2020 season.

M&T Bank Stadium’s expected stadium capacity would be fewer than 14,000 if fans are permitted into venues at all when the season gets underway in September.

M&T Bank Stadium’s usual capacity is 71,000 and the capped figure is based on social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by the NFL, health experts and government officials.

Ravens president Dick Cass said: “To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary. We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible.”

A number of other NFL teams have announced that their stadiums will operate at reduced capacities, but the Ravens are the first to announce an exact cap on attendances.

The Ravens have also informed permanent seat license owners that their 2020 season tickets will be deferred to the 2021 campaign, with the same seats to be offered for renewal. Credit funds paid toward the 2020 season so far will be applied to accounts and can be used towards next season’s renewal or other future ticket purchases.

Refunds can also be requested, while current 2020 single-game tickets will also be discontinued.

Baker Koppelman, the Ravens’ senior vice-president of ticket sales and operations, said: “With over 62,000 season tickets already sold, there is no equitable way to accommodate in a limited stadium capacity all PSL owners who are interested in maintaining season tickets for 2020.

“Under these unusual circumstances, it’s best to simplify the ticket sales process and allow fans to decide which games they want to attend, while giving our PSL owners priority in accessing tickets.”

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