Chiefs, Ravens unveil limited-capacity seating plans for 2020 season

Arrowhead Stadium after the Chiefs’ win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. Credit: Sam Lutz/Kansas City Chiefs

While there’s still no guarantee that the NFL will play games at all this fall, or allow fans to attend if they do, two more teams — the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens — have announced plans for limited-capacity stadium seating if the games take place.

While the Chiefs’ statement did not announce a number, the Ravens’ announcement did say that if fans were allowed in M&T Bank Stadium this season during the coronavirus pandemic, the total permitted would be “fewer than 14,000 seats per game” in order to meet specifications laid out by “the social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by health experts, governmental officials and the NFL,” the team said.

While the Chiefs did not set a baseline number, the team said it would not be able to have Arrowhead Stadium filled to capacity.

“People around the country and around the world are getting accustomed to a constantly changing environment and the same goes for all of us in Chiefs Kingdom,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said in a prepared statement. “While our goal all offseason was to have a full stadium as we begin our Super Bowl title defense, it is out of consideration of the health and safety of our fans, employees, coaches and players that we move forward with a reduced-capacity plan that adheres to local guidelines and expert recommendations.”

Both teams outlined plans to accomodate fans who have already purchased tickets or season tickets for the upcoming season, with various credits and refund options depending on what the fans decide to do. For example, both teams are offering 2020 season ticket payments to be credited to the 2021 season, among other options.

Earlier this year, the Miami Dolphins publicly shared plans to open Hard Rock Stadium to NFL fans with a limited capacity of approximately 15,000.

Baltimore Ravens pick Extreme Networks for M&T Bank Stadium Wi-Fi

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

M&T Bank Stadium. All photos: Baltimore Ravens (click on any photo for a larger image)

The NFL regular season hasn’t started yet, but Extreme Networks picked up another NFL win this week, being selected to provide the Wi-Fi network gear for the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium.

According to press releases from the team and Extreme, Extreme will install approximately 800 Wi-Fi APs to provide wireless service to the seating and concourse areas of the stadium. The $6.5 million network will be designed and deployed by integrator PCM Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., and the team app will be developed by YinzCam. According to the Ravens M&T Bank Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,000 for football.

The Ravens are also unveiling a new 3-D video system called freeD that the team said shows replays from every possible angle, like the replays seen on newscasts that can circle around the field of view.

Team coming onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium

Team coming onto the field at M&T Bank Stadium

The first preseason game for the Ravens is against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 13 and according to a video accompanying the announcement the Wi-Fi and the freeD TV will be available then. (Any Ravens fans who can confirm next week, please feel free to do so here!)

We’ll try to get more details on the deployment but by our count this is the seventh NFL team to use Extreme Wi-Fi gear for stadium Wi-Fi, joining the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seattle Seahawks, the Tennessee Titans, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals. Like in other deployments, the Ravens plan to use Wi-Fi coaches to help fans connect to the network. Extreme Networks is a preferred supplier of Wi-Fi technology to the NFL, a deal that does not guarantee that teams have to use Extreme but one that does provide preferential pricing if they do. Extreme is also the official Wi-Fi analytics provider to the NFL, and its Purview analytics software will be used in Baltimore, according to Extreme and the team.