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Even if NFL opened its doors to fans in the fall, would the fans enter?

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A poll by Seton Hall indicates that the majority of the people will stay away from stadiums until a coronavirus vaccine is implemented

Allegiant Stadium Under Construction Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

At some point the NFL will have to make a decision as to when and how they’ll begin playing games for next season, including at what point it will be appropriate to host games in full stadiums again. But regardless of their own business decision, the NFL can’t control when those potential ticket purchasers will be ready to sit or stand among a crowd of 50,000 or more people again. A recent study by Seton Hall University, published on April 9, found that nearly three of four people they polled would not attend games and 12 percent would so long as social distancing could be maintained.

Asked what they would do if the leagues resumed play before the development of a vaccine, 72 percent of Americans said they would not attend games, with 12 percent saying they would if social distancing could be maintained. Only 13 percent said they would feel safe attending as in the past. Among sports fans the number drops to a still significant 61 percent.

Medical experts have repeatedly put the timeline for approval of a vaccine into 2021, although they have not ruled out an existing drug proving effective for treatment this year. Seventy-four percent of Americans thought it was possible, likely or very likely that sports would be cancelled for the rest of this year.

Specifically in regards to the NFL, 70% of respondents said that the NFL should not start up without a vaccine in place as to protect the safety of the players and other league personnel. Another 20% said that the league should resume but giving players the option to stay at home and not participate.

I would also note that in the poll, 17% said they followed sports very closely and 37% indicated they followed closely, but 26% said not closely and 20% said not at all.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been set to open Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas next season with construction still ongoing, with the hope that it would be ready when games begin again. We don’t know at this point when games will begin or if the stadium work will be delayed at all because of COVID-19, but getting people comfortable in crowds or heavily populated places again could be on a different timeline altogether.

Poll

If sports were to resume play later this year but before a vaccine for coronavirus is developed would you feel safe attending a game, only if there was restricted attendance and social distancing or not at all?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Safe
    (200 votes)
  • 14%
    Safe but only if social distancing
    (88 votes)
  • 42%
    Not at all
    (251 votes)
  • 8%
    Don’t know/no opinion
    (53 votes)
592 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If some form of social distancing is continuing in the fall do you think the NFL should:

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Start up as planned
    (186 votes)
  • 11%
    Start up but allow players to choose not to play
    (54 votes)
  • 38%
    Not start up to ensure players safety
    (180 votes)
  • 9%
    Don’t know/No opinion
    (44 votes)
464 votes total Vote Now