For there to be fans in attendance at NFL games in 2020, tremendous sacrifices will have to be made by all parties involved. Could one of those sacrifices be the temporary suspension of alcohol sales at NFL stadiums? One NFL insider suggested such an idea Monday.
In his Football Morning in American column, Peter King of NBC Sports outlined how different attending an NFL game could be in 2020 because of COVID-19. One of the suggestions that King made to help keep the Coronavirus from spreading is to not serve alcohol at NFL stadiums this upcoming season. His reasoning? Every time you get up at the stadium to go get another drink or use the bathroom, you make it harder to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and potentially more likely that you come in contact with someone who managed to get in the stadium despite having COVID-19.
Certainly, the NFL would lose money in not serving beer at their stadiums. Anheuser-Busch reached a $1.4 billion agreement with the NFL to make Bud Light the league's official beer in November of 2015, a pact that runs through the 2022 season. If the NFL elected not to serve Bud Light and the host of other beers typically available at stadiums, not only would they be turning down the revenue made from those drinks, but they likely would have to return money to the brands that paid to have their respective drinks served at eight home games every season.
Still, there appear to be bad options and worse options in 2020. Losing some revenue from the sales of alcohol but still allowing at least some fans in the stadium may prove to be the best-case scenario for a 2020 season. At the very least, it's an interesting suggestion.
Perhaps the Miami Dolphins' proposal of ordering food from your seat and eventually picking it up - rather than spending half a quarter pressed in line with other fans - could work to have alcohol served at games still. But a host of sacrifices will still need to be made.
Under the proposal that the Dolphins released Monday, Hard Rock Stadium, which usually can seat up to 65,000 fans would only allow 15,000 fans to attend a game. It's unclear how teams would decide which fans would be lucky enough to be able to go to games, should they want to. King suggested that the NFL could tell fans over a certain age - he says 70 - not to attend games. There seemingly isn't a way to enforce that suggestion, though - if someone that's 72 has season tickets and is hell-bent on coming, you probably can't tell them they aren't allowed if other fans are.
King's piece also touches on the looming debate about whether the NFL should allow certain stadiums to permit fans if other teams can't or won't have fans at games in 2020. Beyond that, it's fair to wonder if teams that play in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Florida and Georgia should even play in their typical home stadiums in 2020 given the especially high rates of COVID-19 in those states. Long story short, there's still a lot to figure out.