The NFL is exploring the possibility of reducing seating capacity to 20 per cent at February’s Super Bowl in Tampa because of COVID-19.
Raymond James Stadium, which was expected have a capacity crowd of close to 75,000 for the February 7 NFL championship game, would instead host between 13,000 to 15,000 fans, making one of the hardest tickets in sport to come by even tougher to find.
The NFL said it was still refining its plans for the game, a money-making annual media spectacle that attracts thousands of fans to different host cities each year.
“There have been 19 teams that have already or have been authorised by public authorities to host regular-season games,” a spokesman said.
“The average has been around 20 per cent with fans seated in pods and everyone wearing face coverings.
“Among the scenarios we are exploring is a capacity of around that figure but we anticipate it could grow as we get closer to the game.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc with the NFL calendar with positive cases forcing a reshuffling of the schedule and leaving open the possibility of adding an 18th week of games to the regular season.
Teams have largely been left to decide for themselves whether to allow fans on game days, as long as they adhere to local and state regulations.
By Week 6, more than half of weekend games had spectators.
The United States has had a surge in COVID-19 cases recently with the death toll reaching more than 227,000.