The Green Bay Packers are the latest franchise to announce no fans will be attending games at Lambeau Field due to the coronavirus pandemic -- at least for the first two regular season games. Fans will be unable to attend the home opener against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, September 20 (Week 2) and a "Monday Night Football" showdown against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, October 1 (Week 4).
This decision is more significant since the Packers are a publicly held nonprofit corporation and have been since the 1923 season. The franchise has been kept intact by its public shareholders -- the fans. Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy released a statement on the decision:
"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands. Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants.
"We are hopeful that we will be able to host fans for games later in the season, should conditions allow. We will continue to consult with community healthcare and public health officials on the pandemic conditions in our area. We ask our fans to continue to help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing guidelines."
The earliest game Packers fans would be able to attend is a Week 8 showdown against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, November 1. Green Bay has just three home games in the first eight weeks of the season, so its possible fans may only miss the first two games of 2020. The Packers also have over two months to ensure Lambeau Field is safe for the contest.
There are 361,311 people (representing 5,009,518 shares) that are owners of the Packers franchise, a fanbase that has supported Green Bay through five stock sales with the latest happening in 2011. The Packers are governed by a board of directors and a seven-member executive committee -- while shareholders do not receive any dividend on the investment.