The NFL released its 2020 regular-season schedule last week, but one of the biggest remaining questions is what the in-stadium experience will look like when games are planned to take place come September.
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper expressed optimism Wednesday that while NFL games likely would not feature stadiums at full capacity, that does not mean games won't have some fans in the stands.
"You won't be playing having full stadiums, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fans in the stadium either," Tepper said during an appearance on CNBC. "If you're comfortable being in a closed airplane for a cross-country trip, 18 inches apart, maybe with two seats in between you and being 5 feet away from each other, you might be comfortable in an open-air stadium."
Tepper added: "There should be some amount of fans in the stadiums, depending on what locale and where you are and what the local rules are. There could possibly be."
Tepper, whose Panthers play in an open-air stadium, said that the prevalence of COVID-19 tests by the fall could allow this to be safely accomplished, and he noted the coming return of soccer to Europe.
The German Bundesliga soccer league is scheduled to resume play Saturday, and the NFL plans to monitor what happens when play returns.
The league sent a memo to clubs this week announcing the virtual offseason program has been extended through May 29. Teams also have been instructed to have policies in place by Friday for a potential future reopening of club facilities.