NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated Tuesday that the league plans to have fans at Raymond James Stadium for Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7.
The size of the audience hasn’t been formally announced, but Goodell suggested recent news of the development of a COVID-19 vaccine could increase it.
“If there are potential opportunities, whether there are vaccines, whether there are additional testing that we think would help make our fans attending the game safer, we are certainly considering that and we are actively considering that,” Goodell said on a media teleconference Tuesday afternoon.
“But our intent is to have as many fans at the Super Bowl as can be done safely.”
Goodell’s re-emphasis on having fans for the league’s signature game comes at a time when a national surge in coronavirus cases has been offset by news that drug maker Pfizer’s vaccine appears to be 90 percent effective in clinical trials.
All scheduled NFL regular-season games, meanwhile, have been played so far, though some have been postponed by a day or two.
Average seating capacity for NFL stadiums authorized to host fans this season has been around 20 percent. An NFL spokesman said in late October the league is exploring a capacity of around that figure for the Super Bowl, but added it potentially could grow.
“We are making plans on that basis” of having fans at the Super Bowl, Goodell said.
“We are not doing it on the basis that there will be vaccine; we don’t know whether there will or there won’t. I think we’ve been successful in taking the approach of adapting our events and our policies and our approach to make sure that we put safety No. 1 in all cases.”