Sports are are on their way back to Nissan Stadium, but fans won’t be returning with them. The Tennessee Titans and Nashville SC announced Tuesday that they will play their September home games without fans in attendance.
The initial announcement was made by Nashville Mayor John Cooper during his daily COVID-19 press conference. This particular press conference was attended by Titans President and CEO Burke Nihill and Nashville SC owner John Ingram and CEO Ian Ayre, whose team will also not host fans at home games in September.
While this news isn’t ideal, it’s worth noting that the mayor did not make a declaration that there will be no fans throughout the entire season. For now, this news seems to be limited to the month of September, a month in which the Titans only play a single home game against the Jaguars on September 20th. The following home game is scheduled for October 4th against the Steelers. The situation surrounding Covid-19 is fluid and ever-changing, so hopefully Nissan Stadium can host fans in at least a limited capacity at that point.
“There’s certainly no denying that we wish we would be opening our home schedule on Sept. 20 in front of fans,” Nihill said. “NFL football is a game meant to be played in front of a loud, cheering crowd and no one desires that outcome more than us. However, these are not normal times and as civic leaders in this great city, we understand and support Mayor Cooper and Metro Nashville Public Health Department’s decision today to delay welcoming fans into Nissan Stadium.”
Nashville SC played their first MLS match in front of 59,069 fans back in February, but saw their season suspended due to the Covid-19 virus. They played their first match in five months last week, after missing out on the MLS is Back Tournament due to a cluster of positive tests within the team.
“It’s hard to believe that almost six months ago, on Feb. 29, we welcomed 60,000 fans at our inaugural match in Major League Soccer, and even harder to realize the change our lives have endured since then,” said Ayre in his statement.
“As we prepare to return to playing games back at Nissan Stadium starting on Aug. 30, we will miss the support from those 60,000 fans. Whilst we all know the value of fans to their team, we believe that it’s important that we all take responsibility in fighting this virus by taking a responsible approach for the safety of everyone.”
“That means wearing our masks and adhering to all CDC protocols, so together we can control it, minimize it and we all hope that as a result of this continued responsibility we will be able to welcome you back at Nashville SC matches in a safe environment soon,” Ayre concluded.
Both the Titans and Nashville SC said they are continuing to work with local authorities in hopes that fans will be able to attend games soon.
The Tennessee Titans play their first home game on September 20 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Nashville SC plays Inter Miami on August 30, Orlando City on September 2, and Atlanta United on September 12. All three matches will be played without fans.