Owners approved a rule 31-1 requiring teams to tarp off the first eight rows in the stadium heading into the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to Vincent Bonsignore of Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis explained why he was the lone vote against the new rule.
“I can’t imagine telling one fan they cannot attend the opening game of our inaugural season in Las Vegas at the most magnificent stadium that they helped to build. Let alone tell 3,500 fans that their seats are gone for the entire season,” Davis said about the league’s decision to cover the first eight rows with ads. “Those seats in the front rows are some of our most ardent fans, including members of the famed Black Hole. You think I want to sell advertising on their seats?”
Davis also revealed he and the Raiders plan to keep pitching new, alternative ideas to the NFL and NFLPA in the hopes they reconsider their original decision.
“Creativity will be necessary,” Davis said about the new rule. “One of our executives came up with a solution, one in which Las Vegas will be familiar, but the league shot it down dismissively. But we’re not ready to give up yet. We will do everything we can to see that all our fans are able to attend every game this season.”
The Raiders will be one of only three teams entering new stadiums in the 2020 season, so having to cut off part of their fans that want to attend will be difficult.
With the most loyal fans occupying the first eight rows, it might feel as though the Raiders are disrespecting them and are being unappreciative of their support.
Davis’ hope lies in the fact the season is still two months away, giving the league ample time to come up with a new option, especially for the loyal Raiders fans.
However, with the pandemic still looming and positive cases increasing in the United States, the season might be played without any fans in attendance.
Packing a stadium with over 65,000 people would be extremely dangerous and detrimental to not only the health of the fans but also the workers and players.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has still yet to release a plan detailing how they will address this potential issue but it is likely at the forefront of meetings.
While the NFL continues to figure things out, Davis and the Raiders will keep developing more fan-friendly ideas in the hopes they can find common ground.