Although the NFL is hoping to keep the fan experience as normal as possible for the 2020 season, the league is definitely going to have to make some changes and it appears that one of those changes could involve fans signing a legal document. According to the Athletic, the NFL is currently considering the possibility of having fans sign a coronavirus liability waiver before they would be allowed to attend a game. By signing the waiver, fans would agree not to hold the NFL responsible if they were to catch COVID-19 while attending a game. Basically, fans would be forfeiting their right to sue the league and would be assuming all health risks that come with being in a stadium during a global pandemic.
With an uptick in coronavirus cases around the country, a waiver wouldn't be completely unheard of. During a rally in Tulsa on June 20, the Trump campaign required all attendees to sign a waiver. The idea of having fans signs a waiver is one of several changes that the league will soon be considering with the proposals expected to be sent to each team at some point next week. According to the Athletic, other proposals include asking fans to wear masks and having every stadium go cashless (The Falcons are the only team that currently runs a cashless operation).
Filling a stadium with thousands of fans during a pandemic won't be easy, which is why the NFL has been slowly trying to plan how to make it all work. So far, the league has made two big changes that will affect attendance: For one, the league will be putting a tarp over the first six to eight rows in each stadium. Part of the reason the NFL decided to make that move is so that fans won't be in close proximity to any players, which will theoretically limit player exposure to the virus while they're on the sideline.
The NFL has also decided that each team will be allowed to set its own stadium capacity. Teams will be asked to set their capacity based on local health protocols and policies, which means some stadiums could have a capacity of zero -- if a state bans large public gatherings -- while other stadiums could have their capacity set at 50 percent or more.
A big reason the NFL is doing everything in its power to try and make sure that fans will be able to attend games is that there's a lot of money involved. The league has estimated that if fans aren't allowed to attend games in 2020 that NFL's 32 teams would collectively lose out on more than $3 billion.
Although the NFL is taking plenty of measures to make sure fans and players will be safe, there's still plenty of questions left to be answered and with less than three months until the first game of the season, the league is slowly running out of time to answer them.