NFL Exploring Plan to Allow 20% Fan Capacity at Super Bowl 55

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2020

The sun rises over Raymond James Stadium as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the field for an NFL football training camp practice Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The NFL is reportedly planning to allow attendance at just 20 percent of capacity for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, amid concerns over COVID-19, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Schefter also noted the league could add an 18th week to the regular season to complete rescheduled games while still holding the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 as planned.

The NFL said in a statement that it is "exploring" a scenario with 20 percent capacity, but no decision has been made:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had no fans for their first two home games but began allowing spectators in Week 4 and allowed 25 percent capacity for the Oct. 18 game against the Green Bay Packers.

There was an announced attendance of 15,540 for the Week 6 win.

The stadium officially holds 65,000 and is expandable to 75,000, while over 70,000 fans attended Super Bowl XLIII the last time it was in Tampa in 2009.

Per KCRA, the worst attendance in Super Bowl history came at the first one, which still featured 61,946 fans. Last year's game reportedly had the second-lowest attendance.

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The NFL has been planning on contingencies in case it isn't possible to play the Super Bowl with a full arena.

"Our hope is going to be to fill this stadium with fans. That's our hope," Jonathan Barker, head of live events and production for the NFL, said in September, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "But the smart thing to do is to prepare just in case. If we find ourselves on Feb. 7 where we're in different scenario, we're going to just make sure we're ready for that."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 210,000 people in the United States have died as a result of COVID-19.