The KC Chiefs are the only team in the AFC West to allow fans in the stands this season. What do the other teams’ attendance plans look like?
*THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN WITH THE HELP OF A SCREEN READER*
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the NFL decided not to take the same approach as the MLB, allowing each NFL franchise to make their own decision regarding attendance at stadiums. The Kansas City Chiefs are limiting their attendance to just 22% capacity.
They’re the only AFC West team allowing fans in the stands. How are the other three teams in the division handling their fan situation for the 2020 season?
We’ll start with the Denver Broncos, who have stated that there will be no fans in the stands for the home opener on September 14th. The team states they will continue to discuss plans for possible limited attendance with city and state officials.
"“Our organization remains hopeful that we can host a limited number of fans on a gradually increasing basis beginning early this season. Taking a careful, measured approach with attendance will allow us to evaluate and adjust all COVID-19 safety enhancements before moving forward.”"
It’s possible that there will be fans at the Chiefs/Broncos game that takes place on October 25th. That’s less than two months from now, so it’s hard to say for sure, but if there are any allowed, it’ll be a small amount.
Now we’ll shift to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Owner Mark Davis sent out an email to season ticket holders on August 24, letting them know that no fans will be allowed at home games this season. Obviously, out of the four teams in the AFC West, this deals the biggest blow to the Raiders, who just relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas.
"“While the current situation is not how any of us envisioned celebrating the opening of Allegiant Stadium, when circumstances permit we look forward to sharing an unparalleled GameDay Experience in the Magnificent Stadium you helped to build,” the team said in the letter."
Nothing would have pleased the team and Raider nation more than to have the first ever Black Hole in Vegas with rabid Raider fans wearing chains and black leather, snarling and chomping at the bit like the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. Sadly, that will be put off for another year, as the Raiders embark on the maiden voyage of their new Vegas digs with no fans to see it off.
When the KC Chiefs head to Las Vegas play the Raiders in week 11, they’ll be doing so in an empty stadium. This should make it less daunting for the Chiefs, as this game was scheduled to take place on Sunday Night Football to show off the new stadium.
Lastly, let’s discuss the Chargers’ plans, as they and the Rams look to enjoy the first season in their new luxurious stadium. Chargers brass simply states that both the Chargers and Rams will not have fans at home games until further notice.
"“We know our community, however, is still in the throes of a pandemic, and our only way out is to heed the guidance of state and local health officials and community leaders,” Spanos said. “Every decision we have made – and every decision we will make in the future – begins and ends with the health and safety of our community, players, coaches and staff in mind.”"
When it comes to the Chargers not having fans at home games, they’re probably thinking, “So what? How will that be different from any other season?” It has been a well-known long running joke that the Chargers have an attendance problem, many taking note of a lack of fans in the stands at home games – Well, lack of Chargers fans that is.
All jokes aside, because of this humorous, but completely factual piece of info, while no fans in the stands may not be beneficial to the Chargers, I’m not sure it will be detrimental either. If all jokes and rumors are true, then the Chargers are used to playing in front of very few fans, and probably rely on their fans the least amount of any of their AFC West counterparts.
Because of this, I don’t see the Chargers being to bothered over a lack of fans, and in fact in a small way they could benefit. I have listened to several Charger home games when they are playing the Chiefs, and Mitch Holthus informs me with unmistaken glee in his voice, that there are more Chiefs fans in the stands than Chargers fans, making a disruption for the Chargers on their own field.
Not only do Chiefs fans travel well, but that has to be disheartening when a team runs out on the field and sees more of the opposing teams fans than their own team’s fan base. The Chargers won’t have to worry about that this season. They can put the matter of fans, both a lack of their own and not having to worry about the opposing fans, completely out of their mind and focus on breaking in a new quarterback and defeating their AFC West foes.
These two square off in week two and it’ll be the Chargers’ first game in their new stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only AFC West team allowing fans to attend games from the jump. That might change as the season progresses, but for now, that’s how it’ll be.
What do you think about having or not having fans in the stands this season?