As you’d probably expect in the wake of the COVID-19 situation, NFL stadiums are going to look a bit different this year, and it’s going to start with how close fans are going to be to the actual playing surface.
Earlier this week, the National Football League approved a plan to cover the seats closest to the field. This will encompass the first six to eight rows of seating in every stadium in the National Football League. In those spots, teams will be able to sell advertising to offset the loss of revenue that is expected this season.
From what the article linked above from CBS Sports says, the seats will be covered with tarps, with the actual tarps themselves printed with advertising. I initially thought that we might see the sort of ads that we see behind home plate for baseball games and things of that nature that are more “virtual” advertisements. Then again, I’m not sure how they would have been able to pull that off.
Keeping people out of the first six to eight rows of seats would, theoretically, help to limit the exposure for players, coaches, and other team personnel on the sideline and prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The league is also going to relax the rules on the types of advertising that will be allowed as well. In recent years, the only advertising that has been visible on television has been provided by official NFL partners, but the league will start allowing local advertising closer to the field this season. It will be interesting to see which Twin Cities companies can get themselves some nationwide exposure through this program that they ordinarily would not have been able to get courtesy of Minnesota Vikings games on FOX, CBS, ESPN, and NBC.
No word on how this will affect season ticket holders that sit in those rows of seats. I’m assuming there will be some sort of word on that going forward. My guess is that they will be compensated in some way.
There are going to be a lot of things that are different about the NFL and NFL broadcasts in 2020, and not being able to see fans in the stands closest to the field is just another one that it appears we’re going to have to get used to.