Broncos, Colts the outliers as NFL nears full capacity goal

The National Football League (NFL) is closing in on its goal of having stadiums at full capacity for its 2021 season after it was disclosed that only two teams are yet to receive permission for this course of action.

The NFL’s US-based 2020 season saw 119 games have fan attendance in some capacity, with around 1.2 million fans in total. Fan attendance was determined by teams’ local COVID-19 restrictions. Notably, the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers (SoFi Stadium), as well as the Las Vegas Raiders (Allegiant Stadium) were forced to play their entire seasons behind closed doors at their new homes.

In March, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed his hope that full capacity would be achieved for the 2021 season and recent weeks have seen a number of teams make announcements to this effect.

Most recently, it was declared that MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, will open at full capacity next season, with the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium (pictured) also operating without restrictions.

The NFL’s two-day spring meeting commenced yesterday (Tuesday), with Peter O’Reilly, the League’s executive vice-president of club business and events, stating all but two teams have now gained approval from state and local governments to open their stadiums at full capacity for the new season.

The two teams that have yet to receive authorisation are the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, but ESPN.com reported that O’Reilly stated the League “feels good about the path” to final authorisation for the two franchises.

At yesterday’s meeting, O’Reilly is said to have reported that the League-wide season-ticket renewal rate has been about 90%, boosted over the past 10 days following the announcement of the 2021 schedule. Over that period, ticket sales are said to have run at an 83% greater rate than they did in the same timeframe after the release of the 2019 schedule.

Earlier this month, the NFL announced a return to international play with Tottenham Hotspur Stadium confirmed to host two games during its 2021 regular season, the only outings for the League in the UK this year.

Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars will be the home teams for the games, taking on the New York Jets on October 10 and the Miami Dolphins on October 17, respectively. Both games have been scheduled for 2.30pm GMT kick offs.

Image: John Jensen on Unsplash