NFL May Cover Lower Rows With Tarps This Season

A lack of fans inside sporting venues means a lack of gate revenue, which leaves ticket sellers scrambling when it comes to making up for lost money due to COVID-19.

This may be the solution, from Ben Fischer at Sports Business Daily:

NFL teams have been told they’ll be able to sell camera-visible signage to local sponsors for the first time during the ’20 season, sources said, a step one sales executive said would “significantly” defray pandemic-related revenue losses.

Under a plan shared with team presidents on Tuesday, 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, similar to how EPL teams repurposed empty seating sections for ads during its return to play last week.

This idea makes a lot of sense for obvious reasons. If fans aren’t expected to be there, or if you’re going to move them back beyond the lower rows for safety reasons, then you might as well try to recoup some of the lost revenue by putting ads in those spots. Maybe Wawa or Lew Blum Towing.

The article mentions the Premier League, and here’s a picture shared by a Manchester United fan account on Twitter that shows how the team placed the smaller tarps around Old Trafford this afternoon:

Those tarps go a little higher than the eighth row, but it gives you an idea of what it might look like.

Fischer says the plan will be presented to owners tomorrow.

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