The Browns announced Thursday they are offering season-ticket holders the opportunity to opt out of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and retain their seat location and priority for next year.
The Browns have yet to finalize how many fans they plan to allow to attend games at FirstEnergy Stadium in 2020, but the number is expected to be significantly reduced from the stadium's seating capacity of 67,895.
In a letter the Browns sent to season-ticket holders Thursday, the team stated, "While we remain confident that games will be played at FirstEnergy Stadium this year, the likelihood of being able to play in front of a full stadium is low at this time. It is also very possible that the preseason schedule will be shortened, and capacity allowances or game schedules may also change during the course of the season. We are planning for a number of scenarios and will share more information when it becomes available."
If fans are allowed to attend games on the lakefront this year, they are expected to be required to follow policies developed in conjunction with the CDC, national medical experts and NFL.
"These will include physical-distancing requirements, mandated facial coverings for everyone in the stadium, robust cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and changes to stadium layout, seat locations and fan circulation," the letter from the Browns read. "We will communicate more details around the stadium protocols and plan once finalized and approved. Please understand that these guidelines are fluid and may continue to evolve with the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months."
The Browns stated even if season-ticket holders don't opt out of 2020, the team cannot guarantee those fans will receive tickets.
"We are offering each season ticket member the opportunity to opt out of purchasing season tickets for the 2020 season and to still retain their seat location and priority for the 2021 season, along with certain season ticket member benefits this season (including merchandise discounts, mobile RedZone and access to membership services representatives)," the letter read. "Any amounts paid to date for the 2020 season will be automatically applied to the 2021 season unless you indicate that you would prefer to receive a refund.
"Additionally, for season ticket members who are also PSL holders, all PSL rights and obligations will remain for 2021. If you would like to opt out of purchasing your season tickets for the 2020 season, you can do so and we will be excited to see you in 2021. Please note that even if you do not opt out at this time, we are currently unable to guarantee that any fan will receive tickets to a specific number of games or for particular seat locations during the 2020 season."
The Browns encourage season-ticket holders with questions to call membership services at 440-891-5050.
The Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday if fans are permitted to attend games this year at M&T Bank Stadium, it's expected that fewer than 14,000 seats would be sold per game "based on the social distancing guidelines and fan safety protocols developed by health experts, governmental officials and the NFL." M&T Bank Stadium has a seating capacity of 71,008.