Despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Super Bowl LV (55) is set to air on Sunday, Feb. 7, which means it's almost time to catch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs battle it out for the NFL's top title. Due to the pandemic, however, things will look a little different this year. With the extra COVID-19 safety restrictions in place, you may be wondering if there will be fans at the 2021 Super Bowl. You can expect a scaled-down event.
The Super Bowl will take place at Raymond James Stadium, the home stadium of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Tampa Bay, Florida, on Sunday, Feb. 7. (The home team advantage is pure coincidence, BTW.) You can expect game day to feature plenty of action and fanfare, from major plays to the legendary halftime show, but it will all look a little different.
To adapt to COVID-19 health guidelines, there will only be 25,000 seats available for fans at the sporting event, per NFL.com. The 25,000 fans will be a record low for the Super Bowl and less than half the capacity of the 65,000-seat Raymond James Stadium. (The previous lowest attendance recorded was the 61,946 fans at Super Bowl I in Los Angeles in 1967.) Following the tradition of a season, there will also be 30,000 cutouts of fans in the stands.
Of the 25,000 fans that'll be available for the 2021 Super Bowl, 7,500 tickets will be given to vaccinated health care workers, per NFL.com. 14,500 seats were sold to fans who won't need to be vaccinated or tested before entering the stadium, per The New York Times, and another 2,700 will have luxury box tickets. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, every visitor in the stadium will be given a kit that includes personal protective equipment, such as a KN95 mask and hand sanitizer.
According to Sporting News, attendees must follow the "Fan Health Promise," which means they won't attend the game if they've tested positive or have had contact with someone who tested positive in the last 14 days. They'll also stay home if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 48 hours prior to the game, or if they've traveled somewhere in the past two weeks that conflicts with quarantine regulations that would allow them to go to the game. The NFL will also implement social distancing, but people who have been together as a pod may stay together in certain areas thorough out the stadium, per CNBC.
There won't be any temperature checks at the game, per CNBC, but the NFL has made larger entry points for the game to maintain distancing. Jonathan Barker, the NFL’s head of live event production, told CNBC the stadium has also been undergoing rigorous cleanings, and on game day, fans will not be sitting directly behind or in front of one another. Pods will max out at 10 people, and cardboard cutouts will fill the empty spaces.
Fans also won't be seated too close to the field, either, per NFL.com. There will be a 20-foot distance between the fans and those on the field — players, coaches, personnel — by leaving empty the rows immediately behind each sideline. Players themselves are undergoing daily COVID-19 testing, and if a player tests positive, they're "removed from the team environment," and they will isolate and not play in the game, according to what Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing health and safety, told NFL.com
With plenty of variables thrown in, this year's game will surely be different than years past. With more cutouts than fans at the stadium, most people will be tuning into Super Bowl LV from home on CBS or CBS streaming sites. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.
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