Falcons Owner Explains Why NFL Will Return on Time

Arthur Blank

Getty Owner and CEO Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons.

The coronavirus outbreak has put major sports across the map on hold including the NBA, NHL, MLB, and quite possibly the NFL. The future of sports is still unclear as to when things will return back to normal until then, we can only predict and hope for a better outcome than expected.

The NFL is the one major sport that hasn’t been fully impacted yet since the start of the season in September is still months away. Free agency and the draft have been altered to a virtual world and offseason has been changed to online meetings.

There Will be Football

While news of certain sports returning has been negative, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank gave an optimistic approach to the NFL season starting on time during his appearance on the NFL Network.

“I think that we will. That’s my personal view,” Blank said on NFL Total Access, via NFL.com. “I’m not a physician, I’m not a scientist and what have you, but I read and follow everything else. I know that it’s important, I think regardless of the sport — the sport’s important for lots of people for lots of reasons, not just the economics of it but to bring people together in a sense of community, sense of togetherness, et cetera, and a sense of purpose that they can join in together with.

So I think there will be football. Whether or not all the games will be played with fans in the stands, I’m not sure. I know the league would certainly prefer to do that, so will virtually every other sport throughout the world. Whether or not that will be possible and provide a safe environment for our fans and our players and coaches and staff, et cetera, is still a question mark.”

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Safety First

Blank emphasized on the fact that a lot of people need sports and how it gives them a chance to get away from real-world problems for a while. He also pointed out that fans not being able to attend games won’t be the biggest concern since the NFL is largely absorbed on television. His main concern is the safety of the fans and testing being down before large crowds are allowed again.

“There certainly has to be a lot more testing, in my view, than where we are today in terms of capability,” he says. “The concern the fans have about their own safety, we have to be able to relieve that, and to create a safe environment for them. I think there’s ways to do that. We’re not at that point now but I think that’s where we’re headed. Whether we’ll get there for the first game of the year, I don’t know, but I think the league would like to do that, certainly.”

Blank has donated over $5 million to coronavirus relief and pledged to continue to pay all employees including hourly who work for The Blank Family of Business.

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