LA Rams News: Season ticket holders advised limited attendance

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LA Rams season ticket holders advised 2020 season may limit attendance

The LA Rams have a brand new stadium for 2020. But that arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has created quite the unusual set of circumstances for 2020.  Those circumstances have impacted virtually everyone in significant ways.  From social distancing of no closer than 6-feet apart to requiring face masks whenever leaving the home, to working from home whenever possible, to self-quarantining when not, lives of virtually everyone have been altered.

But professional sports, and every industry that depends upon large gatherings of spectators or participants, have likely been the hardest hit.  COVID-19’s arrival hard halted the XFL, NFL, and NBA seasons. It’s stopped MLB ‘s plans for the 2020 season and created havoc across NCAA sports, educational centers, and the worldwide school systems.

NFL impact minimal… so far

The timing of the NFL season is such that the surge of COVID-19 around the globe has occurred during the lull of the football time frames. The NFL was able to follow all applicable regulations relatively pain-free by converting most 2020 NFL Draft activities to a virtual format.

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For the most part, that was successful enough.  The 2020 NFL Draft took place. NFL teams were able to access the 2020 NFL Free Agency market well enough. And with coaching changes, personnel changes, the addition of rookies to the roster, football has been one of the few “almost normal” aspects of professional sports.  But as the season approaches, the very nature of a direct contact sport may prove to be the ultimate challenge.

Here comes a season of changes

The NFL understands that without a cure for the coronavirus pandemic, strict guidelines to prevent a rapid spread of the disease will remain in effect. Within that framework, the NFL has been planning the various scenarios for the upcoming 2020 NFL season.  Of course, the worst-case scenario is that no 2020 NFL season will take place.  On the opposite extreme, there is a best-case scenario where the NFL season will not be impacted.

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So where is the real path? Likely somewhere in between.  Games played before a limited seating or empty stands. While that may indeed allow the season to take place, even this scenario could have a devastating financial impact upon the NFL in 2020 and 2021. Even now, the Rams have begun the communication process of sharing what little information is known about the 2020 NFL season with season ticket holders.

What news is being shared?

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Seating and scheduling changes coming

The LA Rams announced that the NFL is adopting health and safety protocols for the 2020 NFL season.  Right now, that has been translated into the first eight rows of NFL seating will remain empty for NFL games.  This is just the first of what is expected to be further protocols to be implemented and enforced for seating at NFL games. The likelihood of limited season is increasing, while sold-out crowds are very unlikely at this point.

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The Rams anticipate the number of preseason games will be reduced, and in doing so will require games to be rescheduled to meet the new parameters. Since those decisions have yet to be made, the Rams are not in a position to answer specific questions about which preseason games will be changed, and which remaining preseason games will be played and where. While the Rams and SoFi Stadium sort this out, there is still the uncertainty of the 2020 NFL season to sort through. And the Rams have extended the opportunity for fans to opt out of 2020, while not being penalized for the 2021 season.