The New England Patriots can't promise their fans the 2020 NFL season will go on as scheduled.
They can promise free parking, though.
In a letter to season-ticket holders Monday, the Patriots announced that parking at Gillette Stadium will be free in 2020 and that ticketing will be entirely digital, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
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That's no small gesture from the Patriots, as parking at Gillette Stadium isn't cheap. But it assumes NFL games will be played in front of fans, which is far from a sure thing as the coronavirus pandemic persists in the United States.
The Patriots acknowledged the possibility of games being cancelled or played in empty stadiums in Monday's letter.
"We know you, too, are eager to return and cheer on the Patriots together," the letter read, per PFT. "However as previously communicated, if for any reason a game is cancelled this season or is unable to be played with fans, you will receive a full refund for the face value of your ticket (plus associated fees) OR you will have the option to apply the full amount of a cancelled game as a credit toward a future ticket purchase."
If games are played in front of fans, digital ticketing and free parking would eliminate exchanges of cash, which present a higher risk of COVID-19 spread.
Of course, large gatherings such as NFL games present their own health risks during the pandemic. While the league reportedly decided to shorten the preseason from four games to two, it has yet to develop safety protocols for the season or decide whether fans will be allowed at games.
That decision may not come for some time as the coronavirus continues to evolve, but at least Patriots fans have the promise of free parking if they're allowed at Gillette Stadium.