CLEVELAND — As the 2020 NFL season approaches, plenty remains unknown regarding the logistics of fans attending games amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a letter sent to season ticket holders on Thursday, the Cleveland Browns acknowledged as much, admitting that the likelihood of fans being permitted to attend games with the stadium at full capacity is "very low."
The Browns did, however, communicate new policies that could impact their attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium this fall. Those policies include a mandate for any fan in attendance to wear a mask or face covering, as well as the ability for any season ticket holder to opt out of the 2020 season, while maintaining their seat priority and location for 2021.
Even if a season ticket holder doesn't opt out, the Browns said that they can't currently guarantee they will receive tickets to a specific number of games or for particular seat locations during the 2020 season.
The full letter to season ticket holders read as follows:
We hope this email finds you and your family safe and healthy. We appreciate your continued support and loyalty to the Browns as a general or club seat season ticket member during these unprecedented past several months. We are energized by your passion and are diligently preparing to open the 2020 season with health and safety as our highest priority. We have been, and will remain, in regular communication with our state and local authorities, health departments and other medical experts, as well as the NFL, and are committed to following their guidance for our operations this season.
We are still in the process of developing our fan protocols and stadium operations plan for the 2020 season, but it is clear that the fan experience will be different. We have received preliminary guidance from the NFL (developed in conjunction with the CDC and national medical experts) regarding some of the policies and requirements that will likely be in place for NFL gamedays this season. These will include physical distancing requirements, mandated facial coverings for everyone in the stadium, robust cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and changes to stadium layout, seat locations and fan circulation. We will communicate more details around the stadium protocols and plan once finalized and approved. Please understand that these guidelines are fluid and may continue to evolve with the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months.
As we are sure you can appreciate, we need to be flexible during this unique time, and while we remain confident that games will be played at FirstEnergy Stadium this year, the likelihood of being able to play in front of a full stadium is low at this time. It is also very possible that the preseason schedule will be shortened, and capacity allowances or game schedules may also change during the course of the season. We are planning for a number of scenarios and will share more information when it becomes available.
As we plan for the return of football this fall, given the current uncertainties, we are offering each season ticket member the opportunity to opt out of purchasing season tickets for the 2020 season and to still retain their seat location and priority for the 2021 season, along with certain season ticket member benefits this season (including merchandise discounts, mobile RedZone and access to membership services representatives). Any amounts paid to date for the 2020 season will be automatically applied to the 2021 season unless you indicate that you would prefer to receive a refund. Additionally, for season ticket members who are also PSL holders, all PSL rights and obligations will remain for 2021. If you would like to opt out of purchasing your season tickets for the 2020 season, you can do so by clicking here or the button below and we will be excited to see you in 2021. Please note that even if you do not opt out at this time, we are currently unable to guarantee that any fan will receive tickets to a specific number of games or for particular seat locations during the 2020 season.
We encourage you to call your Membership Services Representative at 440-891-5050 with any questions regarding your account, and sincerely appreciate your patience and support throughout this process. We will be in touch soon with further information, and we wish you all the best.