HomeNewsNFL: Chicago Bears May Play Without Fans All Season Long, Mayor Says

NFL: Chicago Bears May Play Without Fans All Season Long, Mayor Says

by Chris Haney
Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Even though the Chicago Bears organization is staying optimistic about fans attending games at Soldier Field, the mayor of Chicago is not as convinced.

The Bears have high hopes of welcoming fans inside the stadium sometime before the season comes to an end. However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared a different opinion in a recent interview.

Lightfoot said there is a less than 50 percent chance that Soldier Field will be open to fans in 2020.

“We’ve had challenges there. The Bears have to be better partners in a range of different issues, this as well,” Lightfoot said, to Chris Emma of 670 The Score. “We’re willing to absolutely work with the Bears. But they got to talk with us and be willing to cooperate and not just say things in the media. . . . We’re nowhere near at a place where we can even realistically talk about fans coming back to Soldier Field.”

When Soldier Field hosts its first game of the season on Sunday, the stadium’s seats will be empty. Lightfoot says she thinks the stadium will be empty for seven more games after that – the equivalent of the entire regular season.

NFL Team Policies Vary On Fans Attending Games

Previous to the start of the NFL season, teams canceled practices along with all preseason games due to COVID-19. The Chiefs-Texans matchup was the first NFL game of the season, and the first to play with fans in the seats.

Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, only the Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts allowed fans inside their stadiums for their Week 1 games. Each club allowed limited attendance with a decreased capacity of fans.

For example, Arrowhead Stadium can normally seat up to 76,000 when its sold out. During the season opener, the team announced an attendance of 15,895 fans at the game – around 20 percent stadium capacity.

[H/T NBC Sports]