As NFL teams navigate whether or not fans will be allowed to -- or should -- attend games in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic, at least one organization is preparing to operate with a half-filled or even completely empty stadium in 2020. According to Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seattle Seahawks are internally exploring the possibility of heavy restrictions on seating at CenturyLink Field.
Social distancing requirements could mandate that large-scale events, including Seahawks home games, not contain a certain number of people in the same facility. So behind the scenes Seattle is weighing several options. "That plan could involve leaving entire rows or every other seat empty, and decisions on which season-ticket holders would get which games as part of amended packages," per Bell.
The Seahawks are considering just about every scenario, Bell noted, including allowing fewer than half their stadium's normal capacity (68,740), capping the attendance at around 20,000 fans or prohibiting any fans at all from attending the team's eight home games.
"We would definitely miss our fans, no question," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said, per Bell.
The Seahawks likely would not be alone in making substantial tweaks to their attendance policy. As CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones reported in May, many NFL executives have already been anticipating a reduction in stadium capacity to counter restrictions stemming from the pandemic, and the league is committed to proceeding with the 2020 season regardless of whether any fans are in the stands. Certain states, like Texas, have already declared stadiums safe to hold 50 percent of their standard capacity, but others could have different guidelines by the time the season kicks off in September.