Miami-Dade Mayor Says Miami Dolphins Could Have Fans at Live Games at Start of Season

Miami Dolphins Fans

The continuing coronavirus pandemic is a crisis that may result in the Miami Dolphins playing home games at Hard Rock Stadium in front of very few fans during the 2020 season.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez offered that sobering scenario on Friday when he spoke to Andy Slater, who hosts a South Florida sports talk program.

“It’s a possibility, yeah, absolutely,” Gimenez said about having fans at live games as early as June. “We think that there may be, when you have social distancing, you may not be able to have 65,000 people in Hard Rock [Stadium], but could have a limited number of people in Hard Rock, a limited number of entrances, make sure they’re separated by a certain amount. Could you have then wearing mask and all that? That could be safe.”

The Dolphins aren’t the only South Florida sports team affected by the situation, with basketball’s Miami Heat seeking to end their season and baseball’s Miami Marlins looking to start their 2020 campaign.

In the case of the Dolphins, though, their season isn’t scheduled to get underway until August with preseason contests and the start of the regular season getting underway in September.

“We’d certainly love to make sure that we don’t miss out on the rest of baseball season and football season, and maybe, hopefully, end up the basketball season,” Gimenez said. “Basketball’s a little different. The arena is enclosed, and all that. But outdoor venues may be a little simpler and easier to do. So I wouldn’t say no to it. I think that is something I would like to work toward, see if we can get that done.”

There exists the possibility that the NFL season will start later or the number of games reduced. The actual proposed schedule of regular-season contests is expected to be released in the near future.

Gimenez indicated that he’s had discussions about potential plans with Dolphins management.

“I’ve had conversations with the Dolphins, about plans and how could they get back and start to work, and all that,” Gimenez said. “If you have a set number of people, if they’re not out and about in the community, and you could put them somewhere and segregate ’em, I think you could make a case, that, ‘Hey, those folks have been isolated, and quarantined basically for 14 days, there’s no symptoms, nobody has anything.’ I think you can make a case that they can go ahead and play against each other.”

While the atmosphere and game-day revenues for such Dolphins games would be severely diminished, the team would still be able to receive money from the NFL’s lucrative television deals.

At present, the state of Florida is looking at ways to open the economy back up. Small crowds at Dolphins games this season could be the norm, but the hope is that the spread of the virus severely diminishes to a point that such drastic measures won’t be needed.