New study shows outdoor football games don’t pose ‘superspreader’ risk for COVID-19

FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots fans are ready to get back inside Gillette Stadium to cheer on their team in person this fall.

“I like the hype, I like Sundays. Sundays are game days,” said Amanda Welch, a Patriots fan.

Many of them are happy to hear about a new study that shows outdoor football games are not “super spreader” events for COVID-19.

Researchers at Mass General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Georgia Tech and Boston Medical Center found that with limited capacity, mask-wearing and open-air stadiums, there was no real spike in COVID-19 cases following pro football games.

“Keep families together, and then once families are together, maybe sitting a party together and then, you know, stagger after. I think that would be comfortable seating and safer,” said Monica Turkmani, a Patriots fan, who was pleased to hear about the study.

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The study analyzed hundreds of NFL and NCAA games, comparing games with in-person fans to games without fans in similar-sized counties, and researchers found there was no significant increase in COVID-19 cases following those games with in-person attendance in those surrounding communities.

“I feel like outdoors is perfectly safe based off of all the studies. I mean I’m fully vaccinated, so I’m very comfortable going to a game, and if someone’s uncomfortable, wear a mask or don’t come, but let the other fans go,” Welch said.

Football fans are hoping this new study will allow for a more normal season this year, not only for fans but also for the players.

“It would be encouraging for the team as well because the fans have a lot to do with how they play, I think,” Turkmani said.

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