New playbook: Cities that would host California’s NFL groups amid pandemic

The NFL formally launched its 2020 schedule just lately, with the expectation that the season will begin on time on Sept. 10.

There are apparent hurdles to this. Amid the continued COVID-19 pandemic, California has been one of many hardest-hit states, which has made reopening a problem.

In actual fact, Los Angeles County introduced this week that it’s extending stay-at-home orders via the tip of July. Northern California counties have been additionally among the many first to problem these orders in March.

What this implies: If NFL video games are performed in California this season, it is going to be with out followers in attendance. Gov. Gavin Newsom has made that clear on a number of events.

  • The California State College system introduced that campuses will stay closed via the autumn semester. This impacts faculty soccer, however may be a blueprint for the NFL.
  • If followers aren’t allowed to attend the brand new Los Angeles-area house of the Rams and Chargers, it could influence the NFL’s backside line.
  • Because the defending NFC champions, the San Francisco 49ers stay one of many hottest tickets within the league. The influence for the Northern California-based crew and the broader NFL can be big.

California groups may play at impartial websites exterior the state. That is no small proposition. It’s attainable the NFL may change its versatile schedule with a purpose to permit the 49ers, Chargers and Rams to play exterior of the state.

Right here’s the way it may work.

San Francisco 49ers: Regardless of their points in Northern California, we may envision a state of affairs the place the Raiders let San Francisco play of their new Las Vegas stadium with some kind of income share.

  • The 49ers are the most-popular crew within the desert metropolis. They have already got a built-in fan base in Las Vegas. 
  • As we noticed with video games in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. over the previous two seasons, 49ers followers journey nicely. Add within the thirst for soccer in Vegas, and they’d seemingly be a scorching ticket.
  • Whereas California has been gradual in opening its economic system, Nevada is at the moment in part one. That features eating places, some bars, nail salons, shops and barbershops. There are reportedly lower than 470 energetic circumstances of COVID-19 in Clark County, the place Las Vegas is positioned.

Los Angeles Rams: Proximity would counsel the Rams enjoying in Phoenix may make sense. It’s much less of a logistical concern than Vegas.

  • The Rams may play at Solar Satan Stadium. It could not influence the Arizona Cardinals in sharing a facility, and the NFL wouldn’t have to vary its schedule.
  • The drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix is lower than six hours. That’s nearer than Southern California to the Bay Space and about double the time it takes to get from Los Angeles to Vegas.
  • As with Vegas, the Phoenix space has a various inhabitants. There’s already a built-in Southern California fan base.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has opened the state’s economic system and can permit for skilled sports activities with out followers beginning this weekend.

Los Angeles Chargers: Very like Las Vegas, Utah has not been hard-hit by the pandemic.

  • Utah has recorded 73 COVID-19 associated deaths because the pandemic began. That’s among the many lowest in america.
  • Rice–Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake Metropolis holds almost 50,000 followers. It’s the present house for the College of Utah. That’s sufficiently big for the Chargers to accumulate much-needed income.
  • Because it pertains to faculty soccer, there’s no telling whether or not the 2020 season will likely be performed this fall. On the very least, the Pac-12 is extra questionable than different main conferences. Soccer followers in Utah ought to welcome the Chargers.

The hiccups: Clearly, the schedule can be a figuring out issue for the NFL. It must change the logistics.

  • San Francisco enjoying video games on the Raiders’ house venue in Las Vegas could possibly be a logistical nightmare.
  • Because it stands now, the 49ers and Raiders are set to play at house on the identical day simply twice this season.
  • A type of days contains Las Vegas enjoying at night time with the 49ers having a day sport. The NFL may transfer up the day sport and nonetheless have the Raiders host the prime-time matchup. (Maybe).

Backside line

If given the selection between enjoying house video games in empty stadiums or going out of state, it stands to purpose that the three California-based groups would select the latter. The NFL’s backside line additionally leads us to imagine the league would again this plan.

There are logistical considerations. The thought of not opening up the brand-new Los Angeles venue till the 2021 season can be a bitter tablet to swallow for the Chargers and Rams. However the various of enjoying in an empty venue simply doesn’t make sense.

A number of this will likely be depending on the COVID-19 pandemic and the way it goes over the subsequent few months. State insurance policies can even play a job. 

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