Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, and the magazine Gridiron Greats. Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications.
Will Super Bowl LV Be a Not-So-Super Bowl?
Most National Football League fans know that teams are allowing none to very few fans in their respective stadiums thus far in the 2020 season due to the coronavirus.
That brings to mind the question of “if this trend continues to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, how many fans will be sitting in the seats of Raymond James Stadium, this season’s Super Bowl host?” The venue has a capacity seating of 65,618. The teams that are allowing fans to attend after week two is anywhere from 2,500 people to 13,000 in Miami and other teams are just cutting it to 25% capacity.
So, if Super Bowl LV is limited to a 25% attendance that would mean only 16,404 fans can witness the game that not sitting in front of a television. But how strange would that be if that becomes the case and then the NFL puts the “social distancing” into effect as the league’s teams have done thus far? No Super Bowl in history has had less than 60,000 fans in attendance with the low mark coming in the very first game when 61,946 fans took their seats in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
The highest attendance mark came on January 20, 1980, when the Pittsburgh Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl in six years defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the Rose Bowl 31-19 as 103,985 fans looked on. If attendance is cut for Super Bowl LV will the ticket prices be as well? I attended Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa when the Pittsburgh Steelers won their sixth and last Super Bowl. The cost of my ticket? A cool $1,600. In 1967 for the kickoff of the Super Bowl championship game, the average ticket price as just $12 which today’s market would be around $100.
Even in 1984, the ticket prices were affordable with an average cost of just $60. By 2003 however, prices began a steady and costly climb with the average ticket price that year being about $500. Since that it has risen dramatically capped off by last year’s average ticket price ranging anywhere from $2,900 to $4,300. Many tickets to a Super Bowl these past 10-20 years have been purchased mostly by the wealthy and if a seating cap is put on this season’s big game, you can expect a very different crowd to be in attendance if many at all.
What’s more intriguing about this forthcoming Super Bowl will what affect Corona has on the halftime show? That split between halves has turned into such an extravaganza and drawn the most popular musicians to midfield’s center stage that with social distancing rules possibly being put in place for the Super Bowl, how can any halftime show be put on with the same impact it has had in the past?
2020 has certainly been a disruptive year for everyone in the world with many things changing, lives altered, everyday habits completely different, and sports damaged beyond what might be fixable. With many NFL games already having been played in empty stadiums, it’s downright eerie. It’s just not football as we know it. Just check out how NFL teams handled attendance for week two of the season that has just passed.
- Cleveland Browns – FirstEnergy Stadium: 6,000 fans.
- Tennessee Titans – Nissan Stadium: No fans allowed for their home opener.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Raymond James Stadium: No fans permitted for the first two homes games of the season.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Heinz Field: Pittsburgh is mirroring Tampa.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Lincoln Financial Field: No fans until further notice.
- New York Jets – MetLife Stadium: Same as Philly…
- Miami Dolphins – Hard Rock Stadium: 13,000 were permitted for the home opener in week two.
- Indianapolis Colts – Lucas Oil Stadium: Just 2,500 were let in for the home opener.
- Green Bay Packers – Lambeau Field: Same as the Steelers and Bucs.
- Dallas Cowboys – AT&T Stadium: 25% of capacity will be permitted to attend.
- Chicago Bears – Soldier Field: No fans till further notice.
- Arizona Cardinals – State Farm Stadium: Repeat of Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Tampa
- Los Angeles Chargers – SoFi Stadium: See Philadelphia…
- Houston Texans – NRG Stadium: No fans were allowed for week two but the front office is hoping for 15,000 by October. Good luck.
- Seattle Seahawks – CenturyLink Field: No 12th men (or women) here at least for the first three home games.
- Las Vegas Raiders – Allegiant Stadium: Mark Madden previously said fans or no fans at all. Therefore, NO Raiders fans will be permitted to attend the new stadium in Las Vegas at all for this entire 2020 campaign.
It remains to be seen if this Corona Virus situation gets corrected and football can return to normal but all signs point towards a continuation of current policies through next year and possibly for the entire year which would mean if the attendance policies remain status quo, Super Bowl LV could be very sparsely attended and that would make for the lowest attended Super Bowl in history and probably the Lombardi Trophy game with the least amount of hype or excitement.