Packers Prepping to Play with Fans, Reduced Lambeau Field Capacity amid COVID-19

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

Lambeau Field is seen before an NFL football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers revealed Friday in a letter to season ticket holders that they are planning to play in front of fans this season at Lambeau Field—but at a significantly reduced capacity.

According to the Packers' official website, Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy noted that it is a "possibility" no fans will be permitted to attend games during the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, although the organization is "optimistic."

If fans are allowed to attend, they will have to follow several protocols, including social distancing and wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the Packers operating under the assumption that at least some fans will be allowed to attend games this season, Murphy asked season ticket holders to begin weighing their options for the 2020 campaign.

Soon, the Packers will send questionnaires to season ticket holders asking them whether they want to opt in or opt out. Those who opt in will have a chance to reserve tickets for the 2020 season. Murphy said Lambeau's capacity, which is over 81,000, would be "significantly reduced" if fans are allowed.

Those who opt out will either be refunded in full for 2020 or have their payment credited to 2021 season tickets. Season ticket holders who opt out will also get to keep their ticket package and seats for 2021.

NFL teams have not been able to meet in person this offseason because of COVID-19, which has them behind where they usually would be in terms of preparation. Despite the presence of the pandemic, training camp is scheduled to begin this month.

Then, teams will likely play two preseason games in August rather than the usual four, as ESPN's Kevin Seifert reported that the league plans to shorten the preseason slate.

A full 16-game regular-season schedule is in place with plans to start in September as usual, but the NFL has made no announcement or determinations regarding whether fans will be allowed to attend games.

It also remains unclear if some teams in cities less impacted by COVID-19 will be allowed to have fans or if every team will have to follow the same guidelines on fans regardless.

Bleacher Report's David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.