Titans hoping for 25 percent capacity of Nissan Stadium, conversations with city ongoing

17286NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Friday was the deadline for Titans’ season-ticket holders to pass on participating in whatever the team is able to put together for the 2020 season.

Once those who stayed in receive a plan from the Titans, they will have an additional opportunity to defer.

It’s not entirely clear how the city will go about deciding how many fans will be allowed in Nissan Stadium for games given concerns about the spread of COVID-19. The NFL has decreed that anyone attending a game must wear a mask.

Indications are the Titans' initial request was for 25 percent capacity. The building accommodates 69,143 for football, so that would be 17,286.

The office of Mayor John Cooper replied to my inquiry with this statement:

There is a wide range of approaches to in-person attendance throughout a league that plays in states with a wide range of both public health policies and prevalence of the coronavirus.

We cannot waive our public health principles no matter how much we are rooting for our home team. We are taking a cautious approach recognizing that we can’t predict where COVID-19 will be further into the season. We may need to open the season with tighter restrictions with the ability to ease these restrictions based on our COVID-19 numbers and as we also learn from the experiences of other NFL cities.

We appreciate the Titans’ commitment to a high level of staffing and their thoughtful approach to safely hosting games this season.

A health department spokesman said the health department is in discussions with the Titans and that director of the metropolitan public health department, Dr. Michael Caldwell, and Cooper have the authority to approve any agreement.

We do not know how many season-ticket holders the Titans have, or the total number of tickets for which they collectively account.

On July 20, before we knew there would be a second layer for opting out, I put up a Twitter poll and nearly 1,600 people replied about their intentions.

The Raiders, Jets and Giants will play with no fans this season.

The potential for crowds for the two Pennsylvania teams is in doubt. The Packers have revealed they will not have fans for at least their first two games.

It’s unclear how far in advance the Titans will be told what will be allowed and if the team will be able to adapt to the sort of potential eased restrictions to which the mayor's office referred.

Most teams are in a similar situation right now with their limitations unknown while a few franchises expecting to have fans have shared some details already. The Atlanta Falcons expect to accommodate between 10,000 and 20,000 people, while the Baltimore Ravens announced they will not host more than 14,000.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

Presuming the Titans are able to do what they hope, the coronavirus will mean they will play in front of some of the smallest audiences in their history.

For the first five years in the franchise's history starting in 1960, the Houston Oilers played at 33,000-seat Jeppesen Stadium and drew one crowd under 16,000 and four more under 17,000.

The listed attendance for the Houston Oilers final home game at the Astrodome on Dec. 15, 1996 -- a 21-13 loss to Cincinnati -- was 15,131. The Tennessee Oilers counted two crowds of under 18,000 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis the following year.

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