INDIANAPOLIS — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell formally announced today that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has officially canceled all 2020 preseason games.
The Indianapolis Colts will now officially open up Lucas Oil Stadium Sept. 20 in their Week 2 regular season matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
In a letter written to fans on Monday, Goodell said that the NFL, in partnership with the NFL Players Association, has had a "shared goal of playing a healthy and complete 2020 season." While canceling preseason games was a result of those efforts, with all 32 teams reporting for training camp this week, the processes are in place for the regular season to begin on time.
"Every step of the way, our focus has been on the safety of players, coaches, personnel, fans and our communities," Goodell wrote. "Our planning has followed the lead of medical experts and public health officials, including the CDC, the White House Task Force, governors and state health officials. As we have developed our 2020 playbook for the return of football, safety continues to be our first priority; that commitment will remain paramount as players return to the field."
As such, Goodell said, the NFL in 2020 "will not look like other years."
"Players and coaches will be tested for the virus regularly, including every day for a while. Preseason games have been canceled," he wrote. "Everyone in the team environment must follow rigorous health and safety protocols to keep themselves and each other safe. When there is a positive test, strict regulations will be enforced to isolate and care for that individual and to contain the virus before it spreads. Even the sideline will look different. And, state and local health guidelines will help determine whether fans will attend the games. These adjustments are necessary to reduce the risk for everyone involved."
Season Ticket implications
The Colts on Friday provided an update to Season Ticket Members about limited seating options for the 2020 season at Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as 2021 season ticket plans.
The team will be instituting a reduced capacity for home games in 2020 — the Colts anticipate being able to seat no more than approximately 25 percent of Lucas Oil Stadium's capacity this year — and announced that all season ticket members will have their 2020 tickets automatically deferred to the 2021 season, with all payments credited to the 2021 season.
As for today's league announcement about the cancellation of all preseason games, no additional action is required at this time, as the preseason games were included in either the automatic credit to the 2021 season — which can be used to purchase a half-season plan for 2020 — or can be included in any requested refunds.
Additional information on how season ticket members can purchase a half-season plan through their password-protected online Account Manager will be provided in the coming weeks.