If stadiums aren’t open, NFL anticipates outside congregations of fans

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While spitballing on the things that may happen if NFL stadiums prohibit fans this season with Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan and I agreed that, unless stay-at-home orders are in place in a given state or county, fans who can’t get into the stadium for a football game may congregate outside, tailgating while watching the game on TV and otherwise getting as close to the action as possible while participating in a communal experience.

Per a source with knowledge of the league’s thinking, the NFL is anticipating the congregation of fans outside stadiums that aren’t open for business. As the source explained it, parking lots can be set up for social distancing via the separation of cars, even if the people at the tailgates don’t stay six feet apart from people in their own group or other groups.

Some teams could decide to recapture lost revenue by selling parking spots (probably at a premium), and likewise making food, beer, merchandise, and even programs available.

Here’s the reality: If people aren’t required to stay inside their homes but aren’t permitted to go inside a stadium, they can show up outside the stadium. There’s every reason to turn those throngs into cash.

Some teams may choose to lock their parking lots in order to prevent fans from showing up. Still, at some point near the stadium there will be a perimeter created by the team. On the other side of that perimeter, nothing will stop fans from driving up, parking their cars, cracking open a few beers, grill up a few burgers, and watch the game.

This leads to an obvious question. If nothing in a given community will stop fans from assuming the risk and showing up outside the stadium, why not let them in? The league’s lawyers are leading the charge against opening the gates, but some in league circles believe that, given that outdoor transmission is more difficult to accomplish than indoor transmission, fans who show up and wear masks and potentially are spaced apart by six feet should be permitted to do so.

Even without six feet of separation, and as the source said, “It will be less risky than many other behaviors going on in the country now.”

So in this crazy, upside-down, Twilight Zone existence that is 2020, get ready for the possibility that pro football stadiums will be empty on the inside — and that thousands will be gathered on the outside to hang out, root for the home team, watch the game, and celebrate or commiserate together.

50 responses to “If stadiums aren’t open, NFL anticipates outside congregations of fans

  1. If I’m a team Id love to charge rip off parking rates and take theoir money.

  2. If you’re going to do that why not just block off every few seats or whatever and let them in? That way you get the parking $, the merch, the food AND the ticket money.

  3. All this being said on the day that the highest number of covid 19 cases (39,103) were recorded for a single day in this country when we were supposed to be on the bottom of the down slope and getting ready for the fall/winter wave.

    This will be the disaster of all disasters if the nfl goes through with it~

  4. Omg are people really that desperate they’d pay for a parking space just so they could be closer. We don’t want you in our stadiums but feel free to blow your money on a parking space and pay the usual outrageous prices for food and drink. If you kneel in the lot watch out for broken beer bottles. Look around people no mlb, nba, nhl or nfl so far and we all survived!!!! Go spend some time with your family. Time for the fans to take back the sports world that’s been hijacked.

  5. wonderboy says:
    June 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm
    If I’m a team Id love to charge rip off parking rates and take theoir money.


    If I’m one of the parking lot owners that gouges people for stadium parking, I’m gouging them EVEN MORE and putting a big TV on with the game on

  6. How about the league not worry about me, a grown man. If I want to be around others and not wear a useless mask, let me decide the inherent risk. I don’t need the NFL or the government to tell me what’s “safe”.

  7. Just wait until they let the suite and club seat ticket holders into the games.The “average fan” will be pissed.

  8. That might be the dumbest thing I’ve read all day, and I’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter. Why would an NFL team do this? Shut it down completely. It’s black or white and trying to define shades of grey is a recipe for disaster. Open the parking lots? Why not the concession areas? Why not the upper decks? Why not every 4th row?. The slope gets very slippery, really fast.

  9. This seems like wishful thinking on behalf of money hungry teams. Something tells me all the people with close-in seats that are getting their seats taken away by advertising tarps will not be so eager to purchase parking lot spots. Personally, my only reason for paying money for tickets and leaving the comfort of my home is to see the game live. I’d rather watch it for free on my warm and comfortable sofa vs. watching it on my phone from the bed of my pickup truck.

  10. Why is this an issue? It’s not an issue when people are tearing down statues.

  11. You mean I could pay to park and still have to watch the game on TV? Sign me up!

  12. No, just no. Fans deserve better. Make the games pay per view and fleece the fans that way.

  13. The NFL priced me out of going to games along time ago. It’s so nice to have a few friends over, fire up the grill, bring potluck, wear your gear, etc. That may change this year with the pandemic but there is no way I’m going to stand in a parking lot to watch same on a hand held tv or whatever. Thanks, I’ll pass. My couch, wide screen tv, sound system beer that doesnt cost $13 a cup, is too nice to pass up.

  14. Right so you let thousands of people tailgate before during and after the game. Are you going to require the driver take a breathalyzer before leaving the parking too? No way you can control the excessive amount of drinking that will occur.

  15. I guarantee you in won’t be in any stadium parking lot owned by the cities where fans aren’t allowed. If they won’t let you into the stadium they sure aren’t going to let you tailgate, period.
    And what about the lots that allow ‘tailgating’… think about those port-a-potties during about a 10+ hours for a day of heavy use by lots of drunk fans. Sure, I see it… go ask your wife what she thinks of that idea in the middle of a pandemic.
    I’ll watch at home, thank you.

    So that leaves the Cowboys and any other private stadiums in States where crowds are allowed at some level or further outside off site parking areas. I assume if they are ‘outside’ they want fans that come to tailgate to see the game, so first issue is the rights fees sold exclusively by the NFL to use a large screen and if the game is daylight, you’ll need a lot more then a bright projector and screen, so the cost for a 20′ projected image jumps from $5000 up to LED “JumboTron” @$25,000. and that’s if you don’t also need a sound system.
    Not going to happen for everyday games. Maybe playoffs.

  16. I don’t think fans, who are getting more and more used to watching on a huge TV at home, are going to do this in droves if there isn’t the payoff of going into the game at the end of tailgating.

    That’s especially true if it’s not an organized activity, just fans showing up to tailgate on their own. Now, if a team makes it an event, erects big tvs in the parking lots for tailgaters that’s a different story. There’s enough diehard fans that would go there if they can drink, eat, sit there and watch on what’s like a drive thru theater sized screen.

  17. I cannot understand why people do this. It’s not comfortable to do anything, including parking a car, in a giant miserable stadium parking lot.

    It would be way more fun to watch a game at a bar or at home with friends, or in a park if you must find a way to watch a game and gather outside.

  18. I may be wrong but I don’t see fans doing this without being allowed to attend the game. Why not let fans attend the game who are willing to sign a waiver holding the team and NFL harmless?

  19. When countries around the world look for the dumbest possible response to the Covid crisis, they need to look no further than America.

  20. You mean the nfl is not going to allow its fans to tailgate because that would be mind numbingly stupid, right? Litterally the world is about to put the united states on a travel ban, can we please stop with the nonsense and further embarrassment.

  21. Gosh if only there was SOME WAY the league could keep people from entering their parking lots…

  22. So why go to a stadium? How about watching the game at home with the same folks that would attend a tailgate? Eliminate the gas, parking fee, traffic. Sounds like another money grab by the NFL and teams.

  23. Researchers found that loud talkers spread disease more rapidly.

    “… singing and loud speech may spread it further than six feet”

    … where does this leave drunken screaming football fans?!?

  24. The teams should close the parking lots. Tailgating without social distancing can allow the virus to spread.

  25. I know in Cleveland that First Energy Field is right next to Lake Erie and it will be LOADED with boats and when (if) Cleveland does something good during the game the air horns are going to let those players know that we may not be in the stadium, but we are still with them. GO BROWNS !!!

  26. Good luck with that. Many stadiums if the lots are closed don’t have many abutting areas that would allow large numbers of people to park and tailgate.

    Also it seems pretty clear we’re headed towards a 2nd lockdown given the massive spikes in 3 of our most populous states.

  27. The NFL cares nothing for the ones that have lost their lives and the families truly affected by this virus. They truly look worse each day as what is important and not

  28. The NFL is becoming a comedians paradise they could live off of the NFL’s comments for years upon years

  29. Thus defeating the whole social distancing initiative. Lol ya ever feel you’re stuck on a bad carnival ride and it won’t turn off?

  30. Sounds like the NFL is planting seeds to get people to gather and tailgate as usual. I should get a food truck

  31. “We all manage risk every day. If we want to go then why not let us in?”

    Because covid is spread easily by those who are asymptomatic. Some amount of people who “want to go” will be carriers, will spread the infection, and those people will all take it back home and expose others who did not “want to go”.

    Its a sad thing that some people want to use their freedom in selfish ways that expose others to a potentially deadly disease rather than using it to protect their fellow Americans

    It if wasn’t so pathetic it would be hilarious seeing people who claim they are huge patriots, love America and would do anything for it but, you know, wear a mask aaaaaaaaa oh the horror!!!!!

    There’s going to be a 2nd lockdown anyway, there won’t be a 2020 NFL season

  32. I wish drive-in theaters were still a thing, imagine watching the game on one of those every Sunday.

  33. Good idea. So when the players are kneeling for the national anthem, there won’t be fans in the stands to boo them.

  34. This is brilliant. While we’re at it, let’s do away with masks, social distancing, searching for a vaccine, and stop all the testing for Covid. It’s all a hoax right? It’s just the government trying to control us, right?

    How have we come so far as a species, yet some people continue to lack the basic intelligence to understand that we are now the leaders of the world in stupid decisions about handling a pandemic?

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