Super Bowl LV will look a little different than the big game has in years past, but there will be fans in the stands two weeks from Sunday.
The NFL announced that there will be 22,000 fans at the Super Bowl this year, which is a little more than one-third capacity of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Of those, 7,500 tickets will be given out to vaccinated healthcare workers from hospitals and healthcare systems in the Tampa and central Florida, along with additional vaccinated vaccinated healthcare workers selected by the 32 NFL clubs.
The remaining 14,500 tickets will be issued to fans at-large. The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs face off this weekend in the AFC title game, and the Green Bay Packers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship.
The winners will meet on Sunday, Feb 7, in what will be a unique Super Bowl environment. If the Bucs win Sunday, they’ll be the first team to play in its home stadium for the Super Bowl.
The NFL plans to recognize healthcare heroes on Super Bowl Sunday with a variety of tributes and special moments dedicated to their service — both in the stadium and during the television broadcast on CBS.
“These dedicated health care workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”
The decision to host limited attendance has always been the NFL’s stated plan since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The league said it has held discussions with public health officials, including the CDC; the Florida Department of Health; long with Tampa-area hospitals and healthcare systems.
The NFL said its carefully planned protocols are in conjunction with these officials’ suggestions and feedback to put on a safe, responsible event. They include the standard mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing and other measures to prevent spread of the virus.
But there will be other measures taken, including podded seating; touchless in-stadium experiences at concessions, restrooms, and security checkpoints; along with controlled entry and egress.
The 2020 season wasn’t without its challenges. But the league is entering the penultimate weekend of action having already hosted more than 1.2 million fans at 116 games in both the regular season and playoffs.
“Florida is proud to host Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to crown the champion of an unprecedented NFL season,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “On behalf of Floridians and football fans across the nation, I’d like to thank the many men and women who worked hard to make this game a reality, especially our frontline healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to keep people safe.
“I look forward to the positive impact this game will have on the Tampa Bay area, and my family and I can’t wait for the big game!”
More from Yahoo Sports: