Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.
After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.
Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.
Per the Inquirer:
"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."
"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."
"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.
Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.
A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.
As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:
The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.
In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall.
Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.
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