Revised December 31, 2020
If you’re a Colts fan, you’ve probably been eagerly awaiting the team’s home opener on Sunday, Sept. 20, vs. the Minnesota Vikings — and we don’t blame you!
Indianapolis has always celebrated its sports, and 2020 is no different — although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused some changes to both the schedule of play and the way that game day is going to be conducted. We’ve got all the details, however, that will make it easy to know what you should expect.
Game Day Will Look a Little Different
Just like all other in-person events, there are a lot of modifications that are to be expected. The franchise owners are naturally committed to keeping both the team’s players and the fans as safe as possible.
Perhaps the biggest change is the crowd size that will be permitted to attend any live game. Even though Lucas Oil Stadium has the capacity to seat 70,000, stadium and franchise officials have agreed that only a mere fraction of that number — limited to 10,000 — can safely attend given the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the Marion County Public Health Department and the NFL itself.
Tickets are being sold in “pods” to maintain a physical distance between unrelated groups. Season ticket holders were given the first chance to purchase four-game packs or single game tickets to home games this season. They were also offered the option to defer their tickets until 2021 without any penalties to their status or seniority.
There Will Be No Pre-Game Party
In years past, the American Family Insurance Touchdown Town was the premier pre-game party held outside the arena before every game. Fans would gather about three hours before every game to watch pre-game coverage, collect autographs, take in the live entertainment and experience the camaraderie of their peers. For now, all tailgating parties have been put on hold.
Expect Some Changes Inside the Stadium
On game days past, you probably looked forward to the beer and hotdogs and other concession stand offerings. This year, you’ll have to make do with a food and beverage encounter that’s designed to minimize contact with other people. For the most part, expect pre-packaged food and drinks.
Other big changes visitors can expect to the usual game-day experience include:
- Face masks are required for everyone in attendance when they’re not in their seats and eating, so make sure that you have one (or more) with you for every member of your party.
- Each fan will complete a COVID screening, including a questionnaire and a temperature check, before entering the stadium.
- The game presentation will be more subdued and involve fewer people. The idea is to eliminate all non-essential personnel. While the exact meaning of this hasn’t been clarified, you may expect a smaller opening and a minimal half-time presentation (if any).
- Tarps will be placed over the eight rows of seats nearest the field to protect the players and fans alike from possible contagion.
- All Colts games will be cashless during the 2020 season.
The franchise recently released further details about the health and safety measures they intend to take on game day. The procedures apply to fans and stadium employees alike, so be sure to check them out ahead of time to make sure your game-day experience is as safe as possible.
Here Is the Current 2020 Schedule of Play
There have been a few changes since the Colts announced their schedule earlier this year. The preseason games were canceled, so players won’t be taking to the field for the first time until they hit Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 13. The full game and TV viewing schedule is below:
Week 1 Sept. 13 @Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m. CBS | L 27-20
Week 2 Sept. 20 Minnesota Vikings 1 p.m. FOX | W 28-11
Week 3 Sept. 27 New York Jets 4:05 p.m. CBS | W 36-7
Week 4 Oct. 4 @Chicago Bears 1 p.m. CBS | W 19-11
Week 5 Oct. 11 @Cleveland Browns 4:25 p.m. CBS | L 32-23
Week 6 Oct. 18 Cincinnati Bengals 1 p.m. FOX | W 31-27
Week 7 — BYE WEEK — —
Week 8 Nov. 1 @Detroit Lions 1 p.m. CBS | W 41-21
Week 9 Nov. 8 Baltimore Ravens 1 p.m. CBS | L 24-10
Week 10 Nov. 12 @Tennessee Titans 8:20 p.m. FOX/NFLN | W 34-17
Week 11 Nov. 22 Green Bay Packers 1 p.m. FOX | W 34-31 OT
Week 12 Nov. 29 Tennessee Titans 1 p.m. CBS | L 45-26
Week 13 Dec. 6 @Houston Texans 1 p.m. CBS | W 26-20
Week 14 Dec. 13 @Las Vegas Raiders 4:05 p.m. CBS | W 44-27
Week 15 Dec. 20 Houston Texans 1 p.m. CBS | W 27-20
Week 16 Dec. 27 @Pittsburgh Steelers 1 p.m. CBS | L 28-24
Week 17 Jan. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars 1 p.m. CBS
Tickets are currently on sale for each of the games. Since attendance is limited, you may want to get yours early. And, naturally, it’s wise to keep checking the schedule for any changes that may take place due to ongoing concerns about the health and safety of both the players and their fans.
Alternately, you can always set up a game-day feast for your family and take in the action from the comfort of your own home. Either way, you’ll be joining all your fellow football enthusiasts in spirit, because the camaraderie endures despite all the obstacles.