The Washington Football Team will play the first season after its name and logo change without a home crowd.
FedEx Field will be empty for the team's home games during the 2020 season, Washington announced Wednesday.
The organization has been monitoring the situation with the state of Maryland and Prince George's County (MD), and this decision "comes out of an abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic," Washington's statement read.
Washington plans to re-evaluate the decision if the coronavirus outbreak improves once the regular season begins.
"We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches, and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season," owner Dan Snyder said.
"This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state, and local officials - along with input from some of the nation's foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation's capital - we are confident that it is the right one. We are working to find ways to make our fans' presence felt in new and innovative ways for 2020 and can't wait to welcome the community through the gates as soon as it's safe."
Washington is going through a re-branding process this offseason after a review of the team's name. The franchise retired the Redskins nickname and logo after facing intense pressure from sponsors, including FedEx.
Several teams have made limited-capacity plans for the upcoming campaign in case attendance protocols change. The Raiders recently announced they will play their first season in Las Vegas without fans.
Washington's decision apparently won't be uniformly followed across the NFC East as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that he doesn't intend to see his team play its home games in an empty stadium.
"The Dallas Cowboys plan on playing all of our football games and we plan on playing them in front of our fans," Jones said, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic.