The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is going to make football fans' views of the 2020 NFL season look a lot more commercial.
NFL teams are expected to be able to sell sign space to local sponsors and advertisers this fall, with TV-viewable rows of seats blocked off to limit the number of fans in stadiums, according to the Sports Business Journal.
From the SBJ:
The first six to eight rows of seating in every stadium -- including on-field suites -- will be off limits to fans this season. That move is officially to protect players, coaches and team staff from coronavirus exposure, but it would also free up that space to become lucrative sponsorship assets.
Sources said those seats will be covered by tarps that could include sponsor logos.
If you've been following the English Premier League's restart, you'll be familiar with the concept. If not, you can see the sold ad space at the very left of this photo:
Not too bad, you know, the view from the top of the Main Stand at Anfield. pic.twitter.com/rqbFsmIeFZ— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) June 24, 2020
It'll be interesting to see how individual teams handle the ad space, but this is a smart move from a business standpoint.
Last month, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro explored just how much money the Eagles will lose if the 2020 season is played without fans in the stadiums.
The Eagles stand to lose the ninth-most money of any team, per a Forbes analysis, at roughly $204 million:
"Based on numbers from the 2018 season, the NFL would lose $5.5 billion in stadium revenue without fans in stadiums.
"For this story, stadium revenue includes the total of ticket sales, concessions, sponsors, parking and team stores.
"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."
Ad space on tarps won't make up that enormous gap, but considering more football fans than usual will be watching games on TV this fall, the ads won't come cheap.
Here's hoping the Eagles find sponsors who are suitably Philly.
The Eagles' first home game of 2020 is scheduled for Aug. 27, a home preseason game against the Patriots. Their first regular season home game of 2020 is scheduled for Sept. 20 against the Rams in Week 2.
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