NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With the Titans 2020 season opener on the horizon, fans are excited, but from a distance.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared no fans would be allowed at Nissan Stadium through the month of September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the clock is clicking on October.
“To get to the punch, there’s no breaking news here today,” said Titans president Burke Nihill in a Zoom call with local reporters. “We remain hopeful and ready to host fans if we are to get that opportunity.”
Although Nihill was asked the question, he deferred to the real decision-maker, Mayor Cooper.
“That’s really a question for the mayors office and we respect the Mayor’s decision and trust the Mayor’s decision. As he said last week this is a national response, not a Nashville response in terms of being slow about reopening venues like our stadium.”
The Titans organization may be anxiously awaiting a decision from the Mayor’s office, but they aren’t waiting to make a plan.
“I don’t want to put words in his mouth or in the mouth of his health department, but I think they would agree with us that we think that the Titans Game Day experience that we have put forth in our safe stadium plan is first class and it would allow us to safely host fans if we were given the opportunity. I genuinely believe that going to a Titan’s game this fall may be one of the safest things that could happen in a vacuum of what would happen in our four walls.”
But as evident throughout this entire pandemic, COVID-19 laughs at plans.
“There are just many things the Mayor would need to be considering and the health department would need to be considering when green lighting thousands of people traveling in many cases from other regions to come to one of our games.”
That said, optimism is high that the stadium would open just in time for the Titans to host three home games in the month of October.
“I do think there’s reason for hope for October, but preliminary to be thinking about whether or not we’ll ultimately get that green light. There are some operational needs for October 4th that if we don’t know probably within the next 7 to 10 days, it would just make it difficult to ultimately give people tickets and get people into the stadium. So hopefully there’s word one way or the other over the next 4-5 or 6 days.”
The organization needs an answer stat to begin implementing the plan for hosting a percentage of fans.
“We have some percentages in mind, but the key is, it doesn’t start with the percentage. It starts with what is safe and what is safe in our mind in an outdoor stadium with everyone wearing masks is this table, this restaurant table pod-based seating of 1 to 6 fans that are socially distanced from every other pod of fans. And then, we just work backwards into what that works out to in terms of the stadium manifest and it works out to about 21-22 percent if we were to activate the entire stadium with that capacity.”
If the Mayor sets tighter restrictions, they’re ready for that, too.
“We’re trying to get creative and we have other configurations that would even be less than that, but would be worth the while of our opening and getting some fans in the door to enjoy a Titans game.
Other notable points from the Zoom press conference including Nihill and Sr. VP/Chief Marketing & Revenue Officer Gil Beverly:
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )