Lions aiming for increased fan capacity at 2021 home games

Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 31, 2021

(WXYZ) -- The Detroit Lions, like other teams around the NFL, are aiming to host more fans during the 2021 season.

"I’m still working very closely with the state and the mayor’s office trying to bring as many fans back this fall to our games," team president Rod Wood said Wednesday on a video conference call with reporters.

The Lions were unable to open ticket sales to the general public in 2020 under Michigan's COVID-19 guidelines, only hosting a limited number of friends and family.

"I certainly hope it’s going to be way more than 750 friends and family (in 2021), that’s for sure," said Wood.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said this week he hopes for full attendance this season.

Wood cited the ongoing clinic at Ford Field as the Lions helping to do their part to get the public vaccinated.

"I think we’re doing between 5,000-6,000 vaccines per day there," said Wood. "We’ll be doing everything we can to support PSAs to help other people get inspired to get the vaccine to understand how safe it is and how important it is to get back. I think if we can continue on this trend, there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to have large gatherings of fans this fall, whether it’s a full stadium or not."

Other topics addressed by Wood during Wednesday's call:

-- Differences in the offseason program for 2021: "Given the COVID-19 restrictions that we’re still operating under, everybody’s offseason program is going to start on April 19th. We’re still waiting for some of the direction on what the offseason program will look like in terms of COVID-19 protocols, testing and virtual meetings, etc. That’s still being negotiated between the League and the union, so more to follow on that."

-- The Lions won't be raising ticket prices for 2021: "No changes from last year, which had no changes from the prior year.”

-- Plans regarding player vaccination: "Hopefully that will start in earnest when they’re back in the building on the 19th of April, but certainly the goal is to encourage them to get vaccinated. It’s not going to be required, though. It’s a personal choice, but we’ll do everything we can to encourage them.”

-- Bidding to host a future NFL Draft in Detroit: "We’re hoping to be a serious contender for the 2024 Draft, and we’re still in the mix for that, and hopefully we can bring that to Detroit and by then everything is fully reopened and we can have hundreds of thousands of people downtown enjoying the Draft in Detroit. Look forward to continuing to try and win that kind of thing for the city and for the team as well.”

-- The status of the team's relationship with Calvin Johnson: "We’re working actively with Calvin and his team on celebrations at the Hall of Fame and continuing to have conversations with him. I know he’s mentioned publicly that he’s connected with Sheila (Ford Hamp), and that’s a positive step. So, we’ll continue to celebrate with him, and I think the relationship is headed in the right direction.”