(AP) The New Orleans Saints have announced their opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superdome will be held without fans because of unfavorable COVID-19 trends in Louisiana.
The decision Wednesday evening means fans won't have a chance to attend six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady's first game with his new club since leaving his only other team, the New England Patriots, for Tampa Bay.
Saints President Dennis Lauscha says owner Gayle Benson's ''overriding directive and priority is the health and safety of our fans, our employees, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome staff and all of the coaches and players.''
Lauscha says the club has been working with medical, health and safety professionals, state and local authorities, and the NFL to determine how and if the Superdome could safely host fans this season.
The Saints and government officials concluded that at this time, regional and statewide trends regarding positive coronavirus cases do not meet health and safety standards the club established to host fans in the dome.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said decisions about Saints home games ''will be guided by data, and until we get to where we need to be, we will have to support the Saints from the sidelines at home.''
Lauscha said the Saints ''remain cautiously optimistic'' that fans may be able to attend the Sept. 27 game vs. Green Bay.
Copyright © 2020 TTWN Media Networks Inc.