Broncos, Lions announce no fans for home openers

The Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions are beginning their seasons with empty houses.

Each team announced Friday it will play its home opener without fans, with Detroit announcing it will play its second home game without fans as well.

"Working in collaboration with the state and with safety as the top priority, we have made the decision that our home opener against Tennessee at Empower Field at Mile High will be played without fans," the team said in a statement. "We are grateful for the loyalty and enthusiasm that Broncos fans have shown this year -- despite such challenging circumstances -- but this is the responsible thing to do right now for our community.

"Our organization remains hopeful that we can host a limited number of fans on a gradually increasing basis beginning early this season. Taking a careful, measured approach with attendance will allow us to evaluate and adjust all COVID-19 safety enhancements before moving forward."

Denver has an early chance for its first home game with fans in Week 3 -- if progress is made in the coming weeks -- when the Broncos host the buzzy Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Detroit will have to wait until November for its first chance at fans. The Lions' third home game is on Nov. 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.

"We have spent considerable time and resources implementing new gameday protocols at Ford Field and are ready to host fans at Lions games once approved by state guidelines," Lions team president Rod Wood said in a statement. "The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff, has been a focal point for all facets of 2020 season planning as demonstrated by being one of the first teams to gain approval from the NFL and NFLPA for meeting training camp COVID-19 requirements. We have the utmost confidence that we can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for fans at our stadium.

"Lions fans have traditionally created an intimidating environment for visiting teams at Ford Field and, even in a reduced capacity, will be missed when we kick off the season against our division rival, the Chicago Bears. We are hopeful for an opportunity to host fans at the remaining six 2020 home games."

As with everything amid this pandemic, these situations remain fluid. For now, though, add these two teams to the list of clubs who unfortunately can't yet host fans in the first week or more of the 2020 season.

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