Superdome’s “worst-case scenario” is 13,000 fans for Saints games

Sport

No one knows what games are going to look like this fall. Are they going to be played without fans? Some fans? Full stadiums?

Every team likely is busy planning for everything, or anything.

The Superdome Commission, a state entity formerly known as the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, held its monthly meeting Thursday. Stadium officials revealed they are modeling multiple contingency plans in case the NFL calls for social distancing, Sean Fazende of WVUE-TV reports.

The Superdome Commission has considered scenarios of using between 17 percent and 50 percent of the stadium’s 74,000-seat capacity. The worst-case scenario is 13,000 fans, Doug Thornton, executive vice president of Superdome operator AMG Global, said.

“The Saints have been particularly good at using their business models to help us create a seating manifest that allows us to adhere to the six-foot distancing rule but also increase the capacity,” Thornton said. “If we just took the six-foot rule and applied it on its face without any sort of creativity you would bring your capacity to 17.5 percent, that would be about 13,000 fans in stands.

“That’s not acceptable. We tried to get it to a higher level if we could. So we’re exploring creating ways whether we seat people in pods of four, six, or eight.”

The Saints play their first home preseason game on Aug. 29 and their first home game on Sept. 13. Time remains on the NFL’s side . . . for now.

The Saints, like all teams, will follow instructions from the NFL and guidelines from public health officials. Superdome spokesman Mike Hoss told Amie Just of The Times-Picayune they are hoping for some direction by the end of June.