Games Without Fans and Players Opting Out: What’s Different in the NFL This Year?

Football is kicking off again and if all goes well, we should see a season with the usual amount of games on. Needless to say, we are pretty damn excited for this!

But some things will not be the same compared to most years. In this article, we’ll update you on the latest on teams allowing fans in stadiums and what a very limited attendance means financially. We also have the full list of players who opted out of the season for you.

There will be very few fans in stadiums this year

Teams will not be allowed to fill up stadiums in 2020, and it will be interesting to see whether or not this will have an effect on home-field advantage. Will it still be beneficial to play at home, or is it not going to be the same without fans in the stands? 

The rules regarding events vary state by state, and many teams are in talks with local governments in an attempt to come up with some sort of compromise with a limited capacity for fans in attendance. Others have announced that there will be no fans in home games throughout the season. 

Here’s what we currently know about the plans of each team in terms of allowing fans in games: 

Team

Plan

Dallas Cowboys

Plan to allow fans, exact capacity TBA

Pittsburgh Steelers

Plan to allow fans, exact capacity TBA

Indianapolis Colts

Plan to allow fans with 25% capacity limit

Jacksonville Jaguars

Plan to allow fans with 25% capacity limit

Kansas City Chiefs

Plan to allow fans with 22% capacity limit

Baltimore Ravens

Plan to allow 7,500 fans, proposal waiting approval

Arizona Cardinals

No official announcement

Buffalo Bills

No official announcement

Carolina Panthers

No official announcement

Cincinnati Bengals

No official announcement

Cleveland Browns

No official announcement

Denver Broncos

No official announcement

Detroit Lions

No official announcement

Los Angeles Chargers

No official announcement

Los Angeles Rams

No official announcement

Miami Dolphins

No official announcement

Minnesota Vikings

No official announcement

Philadelphia Eagles

No official announcement

San Francisco 49ers

No official announcement

Seattle Seahawks

No official announcement

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No official announcement

Chicago Bears

No fans until further notice

New York Giants

No fans until further notice

New York Jets

No fans until further notice

Atlanta Falcons

No fans through at least Sept.

Green Bay Packers

No fans through at least Sept.

New England Patriots

No fans through at least Sept.

Houston Texans

No fans through at least first home game

New Orleans Saints

No fans through at least first home game

Tennessee Titans

No fans through at least first home game

Las Vegas Raiders

No fans for the 2020 season

Washington Football Team

No fans for the 2020 season

Teams will have tough financial situations

As we can see from the table above, teams will be facing massive cuts in game day revenue this year with little to no fans attending. 

When we covered the new financial realities that leagues are facing earlier this summer, we mentioned that an analysis conducted for ESPN estimated a loss of about $2.3 billion in game-day revenues for the league if no fans are allowed in stadiums for the full season. That amounts to about $72 million in potential losses per team, although the reality is probably different between each team.

To help teams manage the massive loss of revenue that prospect entails, the league and NFL club executives have agreed to raise the debt limit of each franchise by $150 million.  

The NFL is a cash machine, and the league will definitely be able to help teams through a year of tough times. It should also be noted that national revenues, mostly from TV deals, make up for huge chunks of the annual revenues of teams. 

And many franchises have been smart enough to secure sources of income from non-traditional avenues as well. Take the Green Bay Packers, for example, who are now reaping the benefits and generating income from renting out developed land around Lambeau Field, while also managing a venture fund. The Packers have indicated that they might be able to pull off a profitable year in 2020 if they are allowed to have a small number of fans in attendance. 

Diversifying investments is always a good idea and NFL teams are no different.

Players were given the chance to opt out of the season

The modified collective bargaining agreement gave players a chance to decide against playing in 2020 due to COVID-19 related concerns. High-risk individuals were given a $350,000 stipend, while other players opting out received a $150,000 salary advance for 2021. 

The deadline has now passed, and more than 60 players decided to use the option and announced that they will not be participating this year. 

The New England Patriots lost eight players, including key contributors in Dont’a Hightower, Marcus Cannon and Patrick Chung.

Only three teams in the Chargers, the Falcons and the Steelers had no players opting out. 

Here’s the full list of players we’ll be missing in 2020:

San Francisco 49ers

WR Travis Benjamin

OT Shon Coleman

C Jake Brendel

 

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman

S Jordan Lucas

 

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince

DL Josh Tupou

 

Buffalo Bills

CB EJ Gaines 

DL Star Lotulelei

 

Denver Broncos

OT Ja’Wuan James 

DL Kyle Peko

 

Cleveland Browns

DT Andrew Billings 

OT Drake Dorbeck

OG Drew Forbes

OG Colby Gossett

OG Malcolm Pridgeon

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OT Brad Seaton

 

Arizona Cardinals

OT Marcus Gilbert

 

Los Angeles Chargers

 

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

OL Lucas Niang

RB Damien Williams

 

Indianapolis Colts

S Rolan Milligan

LB Skai Moore

S Marvell Tell

 

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady  

WR Stephen Guidry

FB Jamize Olawale

 

Miami Dolphins

WR Allen Hurns

WR Albert Wilson II

 

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin

 

Atlanta Falcons

 

New York Giants

CB Sam Beal

WR Da’Mari Scott 

OT Nate Solder

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

LB Lerentee McCray  

CB Rashaan Melvin

DL Al Woods

 

New York Jets

WR Josh Doctson

OL Leo Koloamatangi

LB CJ Mosley

 

Detroit Lions

WR Geronimo Allison 

DL John Atkins

C Russell Bodine

 

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess

 

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack

LB Christian Miller

 

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden  

OT Marcus Cannon  

S Patrick Chung

LB Dont’a Hightower

TE Matt LaCosse  

WR Marqise Lee 

OL Najee Toran 

FB Danny Vitale 

 

Las Vegas Raiders

LB Ukeme Eligwe

DB DJ Killings

DE Jeremiah Valoaga  

 

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer

 

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith

WR De’Anthony Thomas

 

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan  

TE Cole Wick

 

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Houston Texans

DL Eddie Vanderdoes

 

Tennessee Titans

OT Anthony McKinney

 

Minnesota Vikings

DL Michael Pierce

 

Washington Football Team

DL Caleb Brantley 

LB Josh Harvey-Clemons


To take advantage of the return of sports and to learn everything you need to know about smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

Hot Off The Press!

zero