The NFL is moving forward with plans for a reduced-capacity Super Bowl LV, to be played Feb. 7 even if the league ultimately adds an 18th week to its regular season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
At this point, the NFL is planning to hold capacity to 20% at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which normally holds 65,000 fans. With temporary seating, its capacity could have been enlarged to nearly 75,000. Fans will be in pods 6 feet apart and masks will be required.
During the regular season, the NFL has left attendance decisions to home teams in conjunction with state and local authorities. Half of the league’s teams have had paid attendance for at least one game; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hosted an average of 10,961 fans at two home games.
As it maneuvers through the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has kept open the possibility of pushing back the Super Bowl for up to four weeks in order to complete its regular season. But it would prefer to keep it on schedule if at all possible, and at this point all rescheduled games have been fit under the existing 17-week structure.
If the league needs an extra week to finish the regular season, it will eliminate the extra week that is normally scheduled between the Super Bowl and the NFC and AFC Championship Games.