While the NFL continues with its plans to begin the 2020 campaign on schedule Sept. 10 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league is expected to lose billions of dollars in revenue because of the need to limit gate receipts.
Those effects won't just be felt this season. According to Ken Belson of the New York Times, team owners are working to spread out the losses over several years, potentially by lowering the salary cap.
"Some owners have been negotiating with the N.F.L. Players Association to determine how long to spread out the hit to the salary cap, though no formal proposals have been exchanged. ... Two people briefed on the talks said the owners hope to reach an agreement with the union by the end of the month, when training camps are scheduled to open.
"... The NFL, which generates about three-quarters of its $15 billion in annual revenue from the sale of national broadcast rights, sponsorships and merchandise, is far less reliant on ticket sales and local revenue than other professional sports leagues.
"Still, the league stands to lose between $2 billion and $4 billion in revenue this season if fans are not on hand to buy tickets, luxury suites, food, merchandise and parking passes. The owners expect the players, who receive about 48 percent of league revenue, to absorb a proportional amount of those losses. Usually, the salary cap is reset each February based on expectations for revenue for the coming season."
Belson noted the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders would be disproportionately hurt by the lack of fans as they open new stadiums, as would teams like the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys, who play in stadiums with larger-than-average capacities. The Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers also play in front of larger crowds.
In order to help offset the losses, the NFL recently approved a proposal to cover the first six to eight rows of seats with tarps and then use that space to sell ads.