The 2020 National Football League season has been unlike any other season in the history of the NFL.
The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the league, causing game scheduling and location disruptions. Several teams were forced to take star players out of the lineup due to contact tracing or direct contact with the virus. Players and team personnel were left wondering if they would have enough players to put on the field.
Despite the odds being stacked against them, the league bowed up and fought through the pandemic. They were able to play the entire 2020 season and are now entering the playoffs to determine the Super Bowl winner. Each of the NFL’s 32 teams played a full 16-game regular season to the surprise of many.
While teams forged through the season on the field, they took major financial hits off the field. Teams were forced to operate with minimum fan attendance and some franchises didn’t allow any fans into their stadiums. The limited capacity attendance meant a heavy reduction in the league’s normally steady revenue growth.
NFL Teams Looking at Ways to Increase Playoff Attendance
May teams, including the New Orleans Saints, explored options to get more fans into stadiums during the playoffs. While there is little science to back it up, having a “home field advantage” in the playoffs is considered a big plus. With no crazy fans in the stands rooting on the home team, playing a playoff game on the home field loses some of its lusters.
According to Pro Football Talk, the Saints looked into numerous ways to get more fans into the Super Dome. The Saints will take on the Chicago Bears this weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
Saints head coach Sean Payton reportedly brought up an idea to bring 50,000 fans into their stadium for the game.
“I brought up the idea of testing 50,000 people and quarantining them in a hotel and having the most safest Superdome known to man, scientifically,” coach Sean Payton says, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune Reporter Luke Johnson. “Bus them, they’ve tested every day, and you’ve got a COVID-free facility.”
While it is a creative idea, it seems the odds of it actually happening are pretty low. The Saints, instead, expect a game attendance of around 3,000.