NFL exploring seating plans for Super Bowl LV, including 20% capacity
The NFL is exploring various seating plans at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on Feb. 7 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
"The safety of the public, attendees, players and personnel continues to be our foremost priority," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday, according to Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal. "We are working on a host of Super Bowl plans, include gameday, in conjunction with the host committee and the appropriate local and county public health and government officials."
Though the NFL has yet to confirm how many spectators will be allowed at Raymond James Stadium for the event, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the league is planning for 20% of the venue's capacity.
"There is no set capacity figure at this time as we continue to monitor the ongoing pandemic with more than three months to go before the Super Bowl on February 7," McCarthy said.
"There have been 19 teams that have already or have been authorized by public authorities to host regular-season games. The average has been around 20 percent with fans seated in pods and everyone wearing face coverings. Among the scenarios we are exploring (for the Super Bowl) is a capacity of around that figure but we anticipate it could grow as we get closer to the game."
Fans will reportedly be placed in pods 6 feet apart from others and masks will be required in the stands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A handful of teams have already experienced outbreaks in their buildings during the 2020 campaign, most notably the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots. The NFL reportedly planned to create a Week 18 if such issues continued.
If a Week 18 is added to the regular season, the off week usually given to participating teams would be eliminated and the Super Bowl would remain on schedule for Feb. 7, per Schefter.
Raymond James Stadium has a maximum capacity of nearly 66,000. That means there could be 13,000-15,000 fans at this season's big game.