Dolphins’ owner hints at uncertainty for fans attending games this season

Dolphins helmet on field before game
Oct 13, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins helmet is seen on the field before a game against the Washington Redskins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL remains confident that there will be a full 2020 season with stadiums packed to capacity this fall. While that might be true, there already seems to be some doubt from NFL owners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross appeared on CNBC Tuesday morning and spoke about the upcoming NFL season. While he expressed confidence that there will be a season in 2020, Ross hinted at far more uncertainty regarding the league’s hopes for fans to attend games.

It’s not surprising that the NFL is planning for fans to attend games as of now. The league has stuck to its offseason schedule throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn’t even pushed back minicamps, which are scheduled to start in June.

There is a significant amount at stake for the NFL. If games are played in empty stadiums, the league could lose more than $5 billion in revenue. It’s why the league has even considered delaying the regular season to allow for more time to see if states lift restrictions on mass gatherings.

While the NFL is expressing confidence publicly, recent actions from NFL teams indicate that stadium revenue and attendance will decline this year. The Pittsburgh Steelers are selling only 50% of individual game tickets and many front offices are planning to be cautious with contract extensions due to financial concerns.

There will be an NFL season this fall, that much is clear. As of now, though, it remains uncertain if the NFL will be allowed to bring fans into stadiums by September.