Falcons to play in front of limited fans



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Mercedes-Benz-Stadium - Atlanta Image: Atlanta Falcons

The latest National Football League (NFL) team to spell out their stadium attendance plans for a 2020 season staged during COVID-19 is the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, US. The Falcons compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference South division.

In an email sent to season ticket members recently, the Falcons revealed that for home games during the 2020 season, there will be a limited capacity of between 10,000 and 20,000 at their residence Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The Falcons said the chic Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s reduced capacity is in tune with State and local requirements as well as the NFL and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines. The spiffy facility can otherwise hold 71,000 spectators.

In an email survey sent by the organization, season ticket members who are current on their payments will be asked if they would like to attend home games in 2020 and if so, requested to rank the Falcons’ first four home games in order in which they’d like to attend. The Falcons will take on the Seattle Seahawks on September 13, followed by the Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions.

The Falcons said they are facilitating flexibility to the extent possible in the event that things “trend in a positive way” for the final four home regular season games. If limited capacity remains in place for the entire 2020 season, the Falcons currently anticipate sending out a second survey in October for the final games.

In sync with NFL protocols, face covering is mandatory for all spectators at all times once they step inside the stadium precinct.

According to Brian McCarthy of the NFL, face coverings will be required at all NFL games in 2020, and not just by the Falcons.

Commenting on how Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be adapted for the COVID-19 era, Don Rovak, Vice-President of Sales and Service for parent company AMB, told mediapersons, “The end zone suites are going to be off-limits. The first seven to 12 rows along the sidelines are going to be off-limits to provide safety for the players. We took the other seats and looked at how many season-ticket members currently have season-ticket accounts of one, two, three, four, five, and six and from there, started creating these pods throughout the stadium; worked with Ticketmaster to get an original drawing.”

“We have a seat that is blocked along each aisle so you don’t have to worry about sitting next to an aisle where countless people are walking by you. But we do have these pods spread out in the 100, 200, and 300 levels throughout the entire venue,” Rovak added.

Considering there are several college games set to be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it’s safe to assume the same rules would apply to those games.

Georgia is scheduled to open the season against Virginia in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Auburn is set to face North Carolina in the stadium during Week 2 of the season. The 2020 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship Game is also set to be played in the Atlanta-based stadium.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Rams also announced that its new SoFi Stadium at California, US, will be at limited or no capacity in 2020, while season tickets will not be possible for its debut campaign. The New York Giants and New York Jets announced their games at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, US, will be a closed door affair until further notice to meet COVID-19 rules in place in the State of New Jersey.

The American football team New England Patriots stated recently that they expect to operate Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, US, at 20 percent capacity. The Baltimore Ravens earlier became the first team in the league to define its intended attendance cap if fans are permitted at games during the 2020 season, with the American football franchise Jacksonville Jaguars following suit.

The American football team Philadelphia Eagles have also been informed by City leaders that they will have to play games sans fans at Lincoln Financial Field (in Philadelphia, US) this season.

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