Although Covid-19 concerns continue to affect the nation, the National Football League is confident that their health and safety protocols will be enough to end their season and receive spectators, League Commissioner Rodger Goodell said Wednesday.
The NFL chief joined CNBC's Squawk Alley on Wednesday to discuss the league's stance on admitting spectators this season and said the NFL was not being pressured by President Donald Trump to hold games in full grandstands .
"We feel our own pressure," said Goodell. "We want our fans to experience the games. That was always our intention: to open up to our fans."
The NFL will celebrate its 101st season on September 10, when the defending champions Kansas City Chiefs play the Houston Texans. The Chiefs are one of the few teams that allow fans to play at home. Other teams are the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Goodell said the NFL was discussing its plans with local officials, adding more teams fans could allow before the season ends.
"People want to make themselves comfortable, not just our fans but local officials as well, and we support that," he said.
Goodell also held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. On the call, he was asked by CNBC whether teams that allow fans have a competitive advantage over opponents who will start the year without participation.
"We don't think this is a competitive advantage," Goodell said on the conference call, adding that the issue was discussed with the NFL's Competition Committee.
"We will create a safe environment in our stadiums and invite (fans) whenever we can in a responsible and safe manner," said Goodell. He added that 70% of NFL season ticket holders have renewed or extended credits for future games.
The NFL is also finalizing authentic audience noise in stadiums with no spectators, and broadcast partners would implement the noise in their television broadcasts for unattended games.
When asked about concerns that the NFL's stance in support of social injustices could affect ratings, Goodell downplayed the notion, saying the league's ratings were "the envy of all entertainment and sports real estate."
"The ratings will keep going up and down for a variety of reasons," Goodell said, adding that the NFL is "looking behind the ratings".
"We don't see it as a straight line up and down," he said. "We see this as an opportunity to grow our audience with different populations to make sure we reach more people on more platforms."
Goodell also touched on future talks about the NFL's media rights, which are currently valued at more than $ 5 billion.
According to the Sports Business Journal, Goodell was joined by Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer of the NFL, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, to network rights packages in June. The NFL's media rights agreements expire after the 2022 season.
With the league adding a game to their regular season and approving reformatting of their postseason to 14 of 12 teams in March, the NFL is expecting a bigger payday.
Goodell said the NFL's Sunday Ticket package currently held by AT & T's DirecTV (an eight-year deal valued at $ 12 billion) is also receiving "interest from others".
With consumer habits changing, Goodell said the league will seek new partners who can help the NFL expand beyond television and into the digital world.
"We want to reach new platforms that our fans are on," said Goodell. "We need to reach new partners in this context. I see this negotiation as working with our current partners to continue this relationship and to gain new partners who will help us reach these additional (fans)." . "