The issue with Super Bowl crowd attendance

Too many fans at the Super Bowl?


Akhila Johny/Talon

Alex Gaspar reflects on the impact of the Super Bowl hosting an in-person audience.

With the current status of the pandemic, nothing within the country is entirely safe. Within everything there is a known risk — even in the smallest of tasks such as eating lunch or even filling up your car with gas. 

Within the past few weeks, debate has sprung up on whether or not the NFL hit the sweet spot for the amount of fan attendance spectating games. 

I believe that the NFL allowed too many people into the stands to watch the games; more specifically, to watch this year’s Super Bowl.

Recently, the NFL has been allowing about 15,000 people to watch each game in person, increasing this amount depending on the gravity of the game or location of the stadium. These constant fan inclusions have been met with extreme criticism at times, with visible non-mask wearers and large groups of non-related spectators being displayed on live television.

The Super Bowl kicked off on Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and the NFL provided details stating that 22,000 fans were in attendance during the game when normally the stadium seats 50,000. It is important to note that 7,500 of these fans were vaccinated health care workers who partook in fully-paid trips by the NFL. 

Despite COVID-19 cases trending downwards within the nation as a whole, by no means is the United States off the hook when it comes to the pandemic. There’s still more than 58,000 new cases on average per day within the country, which is nothing to be proud of. 

With the United States being ranked as the worst country with regards to the spread of COVID-19, why is it that normalcy is already being implemented? 

Grouping thousands of people together in one common place — which is unrestricted up until you actually get to your seats — is something that to this day is still rarely happening in nations that rank far better than the United States with regard to COVID-19 cases. 

New information suggests that the Tampa Bay region will have a spike in cases as a result of the Superbowl attendance and local festivities that took place afterwards. 

It is unfair and completely unjust for the NFL to bypass the fact that it’s not safe at all to put people all in the same stadium at once. 

22,000 people is no slim number, and with COVID-19 cases still being relatively high, there’s absolutely no reason to fill up crowded stadiums to watch the Super Bowl other than being a cash-grab effort by the NFL.

This untraditional special treatment the NFL is receiving is setting a low standard for COVID-19 care and a poor example for sports fans around the world.