The Washington Football Team announced Wednesday that it will not permit fans at FedEx Field to begin the 2020 NFL season due to safety concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic.
It marks the latest move in a wave across the NFL with teams taking drastic steps to reduce or eliminate fan attendance with the season fast approaching.
Washington Football Team will play without fans at FedEx Field
In a statement, the club cited health and safety concerns for the general public, fans and team employees as the driving reason behind the move. Washington becomes just the latest NFL team to take the ultimate step by barring fans from attending games.
During the 2019 NFL season, Washington ranked near the bottom of the league in average attendance. Amid frequent losing and poor play on the field, Washington averaged just 65,000 fans per game with the third-lowest percentage for total attendance (72%).
The organization has already offered full refunds for 2020 season-ticket holders, another decision that will prove to be financially costly.
Will NFL fans be able to attend games this season?
The NFL has put the decision regarding stadium attendance up to each organization and local health officials. As a result, there has been a wide disparity in how each NFL team will handle attendance for the 2020 NFL season.
The Las Vegas Raiders, who are opening up Allegiant Stadium, will not permit fans to attend games this season. The decision could cost them $30 million in local partnership deals and a staggering amount in lost stadium revenue.
Similarly, the New York Giants and New York Jets announced attendance at MetLife Stadium won’t be permitted to begin the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any fans who attend an NFL game this season will be required to wear a face covering and social-distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced.