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NFL stadiums may be free of fans this fall, but that doesn’t mean the league won’t be using those seats to generate revenue.

The NFL owners on Thursday approved a measure that allows teams to cover the seats closest to the field with corporate logos of sponsors, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

If there are NFL games this fall, they’re expected to be played in empty or partially filled stadiums.

According to Forbes, empty stadiums would cost the 32 NFL teams about $5 1/2 billion, or an average of about $172 million per team. A team like the Eagles, whose home games are always sold out, would lose much more than that.

Those figures include lost revenue from concessions and parking as well as ticket sales.

It’s a staggering amount of money.

As revenues decline so would the salary cap, which could make it difficult for some cap-strapped teams to keep their best players or sign free agents in 2021.

One creative way for teams to make up at least some of that revenue would be to sell the empty seats to local sponsors.

Even if there are some fans in attendance, they wouldn’t be allowed in the stands closest to the field for safety sake. 

The NFL owners met on a virtual call on Thursday to discuss a number of issues facing the league during his unprecedented offseason, and the proposal to allow advertising in the lower bowl was approved.

According to Sports Business Journal, the first six or eight rows of seats – including suites – would be covered.

There was no immediate word how much those ads would cost and how much money the teams could generate by selling ads.

But it would presumably be a lot.

If football does return, the ratings would presumably be astronomical as fans starved for sports glue themselves to the TV on Sunday afternoons.

So you would think a tarp showing your company’s logo visible for three hours by 15 or 20 million people would be quite an effective way to advertise. 

Everything else in NFL stadiums is already plastered with logos, from the scoreboard to the entrances to the sidelines. Why not the seats, too?

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