The Atlanta Falcons have become the latest NFL American football team to specify their stadium attendance plans for a 2020 season staged during COVID-19.
The Falcons announced in an email to season ticket members that there will be a limited capacity of between 10,000 and 20,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for home games during the 2020 season.
The Falcons said the 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s reduced capacity is in keeping with state and local requirements as well as the NFL and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines.
In an email survey sent by the organisation, season ticket members who are current on their payments will be asked if they would like to attend home games in 2020 and if so, requested to rank the Falcons’ first four home games in order in which they’d like to attend. The Falcons play the Seattle Seahawks on September 13, followed by the Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions.
The Falcons said they are allowing for as much flexibility as possible in the event that things “trend in a positive way” for the final four home regular season games. If limited capacity remains in place for the entire 2020 season, the Falcons currently anticipate sending out a second survey in October for the final games.
In-line with NFL protocols, all ticketholders must wear face covering at all times once inside the stadium. Commenting on how Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be adapted for the COVID-19 era, Don Rovak, vice-president of sales and service for parent company AMB, told ESPN: “The end zone suites are going to be off-limits. The first seven to 12 rows along the sidelines are going to be off-limits to provide safety for the players.
“We took the other seats and looked at how many season-ticket members currently have season-ticket accounts of one, two, three, four, five, and six and from there, started creating these pods throughout the stadium; worked with Ticketmaster to get an original drawing.
“We have a seat that is blocked along each aisle so you don’t have to worry about sitting next to an aisle where countless people are walking by you. But we do have these pods spread out in the 100, 200, and 300 levels throughout the entire venue.”
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Rams announced that its new SoFi Stadium will be at limited or no capacity in 2020, while season tickets will not be possible for its debut campaign. The New York Giants and New York Jets announced their games at MetLife Stadium will be held behind closed doors until further notice to meet COVID-19 regulations in the state of New Jersey.
The New England Patriots last week stated they expect to operate Gillette Stadium at 20% capacity. The Baltimore Ravens earlier became the first team in the league to specify its intended attendance cap if fans are allowed at games during the 2020 season, with the Jacksonville Jaguars following suit.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been informed by city leaders that they shouldn’t expect to have fans in Lincoln Financial Field this season.
Image: Atlanta Falcons