Mayor John Cooper announces Titans fans will be allowed to attend home games at Nissan Stadium in October.

Nashville Tennessean

Nissan Stadium won’t be empty for much longer.

The Titans will allow fans back into their home venue with COVID-19 safety protocols in place beginning with their Oct. 4 game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, according to a Thursday announcement from Mayor John Cooper and team officials.

Cooper said Nissan Stadium could host up to 10% of the stadium’s 69,143 capacity beginning with the Steelers game, which equates to about 6,900 fans. The Titans’ home opener against the Jaguars on Sunday (noon, CBS) still will be played without fans in attendance, a decision that was announced by Cooper in August.

Fan attendance will increase incrementally throughout October. Capacity can increase to 12.5% for an Oct. 11 game against the Bills and to 15% for an Oct. 18 game against the Texans. Attendance could reach a fixed capacity of 21% for November and December, which is “the maximum capacity our facility can accommodate under current (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” Titans team president Burke Nihill said Thursday. “Of course, as we go through this process, we understand that we may need to be flexible on these capacities as we learn more information.”

Mayor John Cooper speaks at a press briefing Thursday at the Titans mural on Korean Veterans Boulevard to update the public on Metro’s response to COVID-19. (Photo: Alan Poizner / For The Tennessean)

“This is a plan that has been in development with key health experts since early spring,” Nihill continued. “We’ve had months to prepare for this day, and feel extremely confident in the safe stadium plan.” 

Detailed information about the Titans’ safe stadium plan can can be found at Some of the key components include: 

  • Socially distant seating pods accommodating parties of one to a maximum of six people
  • Mobile ticketing and parking, to eliminate physical contact while scanning passes
  • Mandatory face coverings at all times, except when actively eating or drinking
  • More than 300 hand sanitizing stations throughout the stadium
  • Individually wrapped food items at concession stands
  • Elimination of all smoking and vaping areas in the facility
  • Health screenings and personal protective equipment for all Nissan Stadium employees
  • A comprehensive cleaning plan during events for bathrooms and near concession areas

The Titans are asking fans to arrive early and head straight to the gates upon arrival. Tailgating and any pregame activities outside of the stadium will be prohibited.

“The stadium will have dedicated security crews throughout Nissan Stadium to enforce all Safe Stadium policies,” the Titans said in a news release.

Team president Burke Nihill speaks at a press briefing Thursday at the Titans mural on Korean Veterans Boulevard. (Photo: Alan Poizner / For The Tennessean)

Titans chief marketing and revenue officer Gil Beverly said tickets to upcoming home games (aside from Sunday’s opener) would be made available only to season-ticket holders initially. If there are tickets left over, Beverly said, the general public then would have an opportunity to purchase tickets.

“We’ve had a fair number of people who had opted out (of purchasing season tickets for 2020) prior opt back in today,” Beverly said. “So that’s very encouraging, and we’re excited to see that.”

Beverly said the organization’s initial plan is to fill the lower and club levels (with social-distancing measures in place). As capacity for games gradually increases, the stadium’s upper levels will begin to be utilized.

As far as what fans can expect inside Nissan Stadium on game day?

“We’re looking to deliver as much of the full boat as we can,” Beverly said. “Once you get to the stadium, we want to make sure that it’s a great experience. That means the pomp, the circumstance, the music, the features and all of that sort of thing. There will be some adjustments just based on the NFL and Metro’s COVID protocols. … But the idea is to entertain people as much as possible.”

Earlier this week, the team announced its “Home Alone Sweepstakes,” which will give one winning fan and a guest the chance to attend Titans-Jaguars on Sunday. Additionally, two season-ticket accounts will be given two passes each, and one pair of passes will be dedicated to a front-line worker in the community, bringing the total number of fans in attendance for Sunday’s game to eight.

The Titans are off to a 1-0 start after surviving a 16-14 game against the Broncos on Monday in Denver.

“It’ll be great,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of getting fans back into Nissan Stadium. “I think it was very eerie, unusual, difficult to go out there and not have fans in Denver. It’ll be exciting once we have the opportunity to play in front of our fans again and help us do what we do.”

Reach Erik Bacharach at [email protected] and on Twitter @ErikBacharach.