By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
Our Turf Football was designed with the football fan in mind. We aren’t driven by statistics, we don’t break down plays, we focus on what fans have to say and want to hear.
With that in mind, I decided to form a Fan Forum. A round table, of sorts, of 6 fans from all across the country. Over the offseason and beyond, I will pose questions to these fans, to get their opinion and thoughts about all matters NFL. I wanted to hear from the fans directly, and I found all I had to do was ask.
For our first forum questions, I wanted to discuss the hottest topic out there right now. Fans in stands.
The NFL has released the 2020 schedule and many teams have released the dates for preseason. These simple acts alone have given many fans hope that the season will go on as normal, however, all of us have a lingering suspicion that it won’t be normal in any way due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I wanted to find out how people felt about not being in the stadium Would they really be ok with it if teams played to empty stadiums? Is watching live sports at home enough? I then asked about allowing some fans in. IF teams figure out a way to bring some fans in, what they thought the best way to do that would be.
For today’s article we’ll focus on the first question, then return to the second question next week.
Meet Derrick, New England Patriots fan. He kept it simple for the first question.
“I can watch sports in any setting whether it’s at home or in person. As long as I get live sports, I’m happy.”
Ain’t that the truth, Derrick.
Meet MommyUnit, Seattle Seahawks Fan. MU had some questions about bringing sports back.
“I love sports, football in particular, and the thought of having none in 2020 definitely hurts. Watching games on tv in the comfort of home is something I wouldn’t have an issue with as that’s how most fan consumers get their connection.”
“Having said that, I can’t say I don’t have questions about how this looks from an organization/employee perspective. How will safety guidelines be applied for players, families, employees? Those significant unknowns give me pause.”
And I have to agree. I am interested in seeing what the safety plan is for players. And, if some states are still not allowing gatherings of more than 50 people, that leaves most major sports out in the cold, although many states have already addressed that. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.
Two of our Fan Forum members are displaced fans, so watching from their couches or local sports bar is completely normal for them.
Meet Son_Dee. LA Rams fan living in Atlanta. He answers the question and manages to throw in some of his fantastic sarcasm.
“I’m an oddity of a Rams fan as I have always watched them remotely. The year they moved to St Louis was the year I moved to Atlanta. I almost prefer watching games on TV. And I’ve watched enough soccer to have watched matches without fans.”
“I am curious how it would impact the games if there was no “home field advantage”. Suddenly the Rams can make their calls easier when playing in Seattle. I would also like the TV production to adapt and utilize the on-field sound more, cursing and all. Or maybe teams would be allowed to pump in crowd noise. The Falcons have plenty of experience with that….”
It wouldn’t be a fan forum without a little shade being thrown, now would it.
Meet LoveMeFalcons, Atlanta Falcons fan. While I’m sure she would have liked to answer that little barb from Son Dee, she saves most of her shade for the Saints. (I love that rivalry)
“As an out of state fan, I watch games on tv so that part doesn’t bother me. I can imagine if you’re a season ticket holder it would be a big let down.”
A huge let down for sure. And then there are the questions that follow for Season Ticket Holders. Refunds, partial refunds, credit for next season… ugh.
Meet Brian, Kansas City Chiefs fan. Brian lives in Kansas City but isn’t a regular out at Arrowhead Stadium. To him, it’s not a problem at all.
“I rarely go to games so no issues for me personally with no fans in the stadiums.”
I think many would agree with Brian since the majority of fans don’t head to a stadium to watch a game.
Meet Ashley, Buffalo Bills fan. While she would miss the game-day rituals in Buffalo, she’d be alright if they had to be skipped for the games to be played safely.
“With a lot of time to think about this- I’d rather the season be played even without fans if it has to be. As a Bills fan- it’s been a super exciting offseason and our team FINALLY has a chance to win the AFC East without [quarterback] Tom Brady in the division.”
“It’s definitely weird to think games might go on without tailgating, as it’s a whole way of life in Buffalo. For years when the team wasn’t great, tailgating was what we enjoyed the most. We get there at 7 am for 1 pm games. It’ll be really disappointing if we aren’t allowed to go as fans but at least there will be a season.”
I agree. While game-day has become about much more than just the product on the field, the GAME is still the focus and should go on.
Even with such a small sample size, it is pretty easy to see that fans understand the situation at hand, and are willing to adjust to whatever needs to happen in order to enjoy the game they love. They know it isn’t a normal season and are ready to adapt.
Be sure to give all 6 members of the Fan Forum a follow on Twitter. They are all great fans who love the game, and will be a great addition to your timeline. And keep an eye out for more OTFB Fan Forum Q&A’s!
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG