Analysis Opinion

What to expect of the Arrowhead capacity this season

The coronavirus pandemic situation will definitely take a toll on the 2020 NFL season. Getting closer to September and still having a pretty tough health situation in the USA, the NFL will have to take a drastic decision regarding the coming games.

Filling the stadiums with thousands of fans respecting social distances and common health rules will be tough to apply. But the NFL is working hard to make it work.

That was exactly the reason why the International games were cancelled a few months back, so the league could plan slowly and more efficiently how to deal with the pandemic.

And it will certainly affect the attendance of all the stadiums. So let’s talk about the Arrowhead stadium.

Usually, the Kansas City stadium has a seating capacity of 76,416 making it the 27th largest stadium in the United States and the sixth largest NFL stadium.

This season, the NFL was discussing to forbid the first seven or eight rows to avoid any close proximity with the players. Additionally, the NFL decided to let each team decide the maximum capacity for their stadium. Teams will be obliged to set a capacity based on the health situation in their own city or state and respect as much as possible local health protocols.

That could mean reducing the capacity of a stadium to fifty percent or in some serious cases, to zero.

Some teams were rumored to be moved to play the whole season in a less affected state.

The most recent reports say the league is considering having fans sign a coronavirus liability waiver in order to attend games.

While there have been no official statements regarding potential fan attendance so far in Kansas City, it seems very difficult to welcome the whole stadium capacity given the COVID-19 restrictions that will almost certainly still be in place in August for the preseason.

NFLPA membership voted on a conference call this week in favor of not playing any preseason games ahead of the 2020 season, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Friday. The players decided in favor of a longer runway for preparation for the NFL’s regular season. The NFL, however would like to keep some of the preseason games by playing two of them instead of four.

Of course, things can change, but the league is pushing hard to get the games played as originally scheduled, in spite of public safety, for the players and the fans. The Chiefs are defending a title this year, and the Super Bowl may have been the last exciting sports moment we had before any of the COVID-19 madness. The Kingdom is excited about the season, about getting some kind of normalcy but yet the thought of gathering as usual and tailgating at Arrowhead could be scary for many.

At this point, it’s still unclear how the season will unfold, given the uncertainty of most things related to COVID-19.

All major sports season have been shaken by this very peculiar situation, the NBA, the MLB, all soccer championships in Europe were postponed or even cancelled. And they will need to find new creative ways to attract fans without any risks of getting sick.

There is a chance there will not be fans or a few lucky ones allowed in the stands of the Arrowhead stadium. What is pretty sure is that the 2020 season will not be sold out with a full capacity crowd at Arrowhead and that is a shame. The home-field advantage will be less obvious when you do not have a full crowd cheering the Chiefs and booing the opposite team. The Chiefs players usually feed off the crowd, and fans in attendance can make a difference in the outcome of a game.

COVID-19 has changed everything so far, from how we experience public events to the fragility of our society. Let’s hope for the return of football this fall to be able to share at least once a week a good time with family and friends.

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