NFL to sell advertising on lower rows of seats this season

Sport

The NFL will allow teams to sell camera-visible signage to local sponsors for the first time, Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal reports.

The plan, a way for teams to defray pandemic-related revenue losses, was shared with team presidents Tuesday, according to Fischer.

The first six to eight rows in every stadium, including on-field suites, are off limits to fans this season in order to protect players, coaches and team staff from COVID-19 exposure. It also provides sponsorship opportunities.

Tarps, potentially with sponsor logos, will cover those lower-level seats, per Fischer. English Premier League teams repurposed empty seating sections for ads during return to play last week.

Owners will hear the plan at a Thursday meeting.

Restrictions will protect league sponsors, but certain exceptions may be in play for competitive categories, Fischer reports.

Currently, only sideline sponsors such as Microsoft, Bose, Gatorade and Oakley have highly visible TV exposure. The NFL prohibits all others from displaying signage below 40 feet of the playing surface.

It is not yet clear how many fans will be allowed to attend NFL games, but it could vary by stadium.