Baltimore Ravens home games should look slightly more normal next season, as full crowds are expected to return to M&T Bank Stadium.
"“This is weird.”"
Despite the best efforts of the teams and television networks to obscure this, football just wasn’t the same without stadiums packed with roaring fans. Thankfully, according to USA Today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expects stadiums at 100% capacity for the 2021 NFL season. And yes, this should include Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.
In a letter to personal seat license holders (which can be read on the team website), team president Richard Cass expressed the Ravens’ desire to hold regular-season home games with 100% capacity for the 2021 season.
The Ravens players will certainly welcome this news. The 2020 team no doubt missed having their fans when they played at M&T Bank Stadium. Three of their five regular-season losses last season came at home. Supporters such as Ravens super-fan Josh Charles did their best to support the team in spirit by purchasing cardboard cutouts of their likenesses, but the experience just wasn’t the same.
This announcement comes off the heels of last week’s NFL Draft, which was held outside FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland with fans in attendance. In addition, 25,000 attended Super Bowl LV in Tampa, 7,500 of whom were vaccinated healthcare workers invited by the NFL.
There will be plenty of changes for those who plan on going to the games at M & M&T Bank Stadium next season. To prevent the spread of disease, contactless ticketing and payment will become a requirement rather than an option.
The letter from Cass also “encourages” fans to “get vaccinated and continue following the best practices recommended by public health authorities.” However, it does not state whether the team will outright require attendees to be vaccinated before entry.
"“Please know that we appreciate the patience and support you have shown throughout the last year,” wrote Cass. “We will remain flexible, but are optimistically looking forward to having everyone back with us this season to create that M&T Bank Stadium energy we all miss.”"