INGLEWOOD, CA — Don't count on a preseason, and expect and the NFL's newest state-of-the-art stadium to be eerily filled with empty seats when the 2020 season kicks off. The Los Angeles Rams notified season ticket holders Tuesday of the coronavirus precautions in place should fans be allowed to attend games at SoFi Stadium this year.
The team anticipates the NFL canceling preseason play, making their first game at SoFi Stadium the Sept. 13 "Sunday Night Football" game against the Dallas Cowboys. If fans are allowed to attend the games, social distancing will be required, meaning there won't be enough seats for all season ticket holders. The team told season ticket holders if fans the capacity at the 70,240- seat SoFi Stadium would be limited to approximately 15,000. Season ticket holders will have the option of deferring their season tickets to the 2021 season.
For those who do opt to attend games, wearing a face covering would be required.
Other safety protocols would include:
prohibiting seating in the first seven rows where the seats would be covered with tarps to protect players and coaches;
all purchase stations would be strictly cashless;
hand sanitizer stations would be located throughout the stadium;
tailgate parking may be available but in a limited capacity. Social distancing would be enforced and congregations outside of those attending the game will be discouraged; and
health screening protocols would likely include requiring fans to sign a waiver before entering as well as staff temperature checks.
For those season ticket holders who opt to defer to the 2021 season, all season ticket payment plans will be halted, effective immediately. Payments made toward 2020 season tickets can be used toward 2021 season tickets or be refunded. All single-game tickets purchased from the Rams and Ticketmaster will be canceled and refunded.
Fans will have the option of opting out of their 2020 season tickets and still be able to keep them for 2021 at the same price.
The first NFL preseason game at SoFi Stadium was scheduled for Aug. 14 matching the Rams and New Orleans Saints. The Rams other home preseason game was to be on Aug. 29 against the Denver Broncos.
The Rams were also to play a third preseason game at the Inglewood stadium, Aug. 22 against the Los Angeles Chargers in what would have been a Chargers home game.
The Chargers confirmed in an email sent to season ticket members Tuesday that if they are able to have fans at their games it will be at a reduced capacity to accommodate state and local social distancing guidelines and mandates.
Single-game tickets that have been purchased were canceled Tuesday due to the reduction in capacity, and full refunds will be sent in three-to- seven days per the Chargers and Ticketmaster.
The Chargers established a rollover program for season ticket members earlier this month, freezing prices on tickets for the 2021 season, giving them the first opportunity to purchase single-game tickets in 2020 if fans are allowed to attend and allowing fans to receive a refund for their 2020 season tickets while retaining their location for the 2021 season.
City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.