Detroit Lions to host 500 fans at Ford Field vs. Indianapolis Colts

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions will host a limited number of fans at Ford Field this Sunday for the first time this season.

The Lions announced Thursday that 500 friends and family members will attend Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The team played its first two home games of the season without crowds, per an executive order by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer banning gatherings larger than 250 people.

Whitmer changed her order to allow crowds of up to 500 people earlier this month, and though that order was eventually struck down by the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued similar guidelines that remain in effect.

“Hosting friends and family this Sunday against the Colts is a great step towards our goal of welcoming fans back to Ford Field this season,” Lions president Rod Wood said in a statement released by the team. “With health and safety being the top priority, this is an opportunity to further evaluate new stadium protocols on a larger scale. We continue to collaborate with local, state and national health officials on increasing capacity for our remaining home games.”

There is no public sale of tickets for Sunday’s game, and if capacity restrictions are changed in the coming weeks, tickets for future games likely will be offered only to season ticket holders.

The Lions (3-3) have five home games remaining after Sunday, including their annual Thanksgiving game against the Houston Texans.

Of their first six games, the Lions have played in front of fans just three times.

The Arizona Cardinals hosted about 750 friends and family members for a Week 3 game against the Lions. There was no official paid attendance for that game.

“It was almost unnoticeable,” defensive end Romeo Okwara said of the crowd. “But, yeah, it was nice to see people out there in the stands as opposed to a completely empty stadium.”

The Jacksonville Jaguars had about 14,000 fans in the stands in Week 5, and last week the Lions beat the Atlanta Falcons in front of a paid attendance of 7,796.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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