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Bears offer refunds on 2020 season tickets because of coronavirus concerns

It’s the first clear sign that the team is preparing for reduced crowds — or no crowds — this season.

Soldier Field’s capacity is 61,500 under normal conditions.
AP Photos

After their firm deadline for season-ticket renewals in March, the Bears are now offering full refunds for the upcoming season.

Season-ticket holders can get their money back and retain the rights to their seats at Soldier Field for the 2021 season.

It’s a near certainty the Bears won’t be able to hold capacity crowds this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not even clear if fans will be allowed at all. The NFL hasn’t issued any policies on the matter despite preseason games beginning Aug. 13.

“The presence of and the exact number of fans that will be allowed into Soldier Field has not yet been determined,” the team said in a letter sent to season-ticket holders Monday. “Our hope is to build a model that provides the opportunity to see the Bears play this fall to as many season-ticket holders as possible.”

The letter acknowledged “the experience this season will be different.” That’s also true for coaches and players, who are still waiting on safety protocols from the league.

The NFL has so far proceeded with business as usual and has the advantage of observing restart attempts by the NBA, NHL and MLB before players report for training camp July 28. It’s widely assumed the NFL will cancel two preseason games — the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 6 is already scrapped — but is otherwise preparing to play the season as scheduled.

If nothing changes, the Bears will open the preseason Aug. 15 against the Browns and play their first home game Sept. 20 against the Giants.

Team president and CEO Ted Phillips said two weeks ago the Bears were “extremely hopeful, confident” that they would have fans at games this season but also were making contingency plans.