The newly relocated Las Vegas Raiders, opening one of the National Football League’s two new stadiums this fall, said there’ll not be any attending fans at Allegiant Stadium this fall due to the continued Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to commutation ticket holders, the Raiders said they’re will not follow the lead of various other NFL teams and keep open the likelihood of some sort of reduced attendance during the 2020 season if circumstances allow.
“There is nothing more important to the Raider organization than the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, stadium workers, and fans,” the team said in their letter. “After intensive consultant with healthcare officials and state and community leaders, we have made the difficult decision to play the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2020 inaugural season at Allegiant Stadium without fans in attendance. This decision is based in our commitment to protect the health of our fans and the entire community in response to the coronavirus pandemic affecting us all.”
The Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, conversely, are still hopping to have some fans at the new $5bn SoFi Stadium, the other NFL facility opening this year. The Rams recently detailed plans to possess at the most 15,000 fans within the 70,000-seat facility, if permitted by local health officials, while the Chargers have similarly told their commutation ticket holders to plan on reduced attendance this season.
The Raiders will debut the 65,000-seat, $2bn Allegiant Stadium, located just off the famed Las Vegas Strip, on September 21 on Monday Night Football in an occasion which will also mark the 50th anniversary of that primetime television showcase.
“While the current situation is not how any of us envisioned celebrating the opening of Allegiant Stadium, when circumstances permit we look forward to sharing an unparalleled gameday experience in the magnificent stadium you helped to build,” the team said.
The club, which relocated from Oakland, California, last year unveiled its naming rights deal with Allegiant Air for the stadium, with the agreement estimated to be worth quite $400m.
Raiders owner Mark Davis told The Athletic last month that if fans weren’t ready to attend the team’s games this season he wouldn’t go either, which some sort of reduced capacity scenario was a non-starter for him.
“It’s all or none for me,” Davis said. “Either all the fans are going to be in there or none. I can’t tell one fan that they can’t go to the inaugural opening game in a stadium that they helped build through their [personal seat licenses]. I won’t tell them that they can’t go but the rest of these guys can.”
The New York Jets and Giants, which share MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, also said they will not have attending fans this year, with that decision fueled by restrictions in that state on outdoor public gatherings.