RENTON — The Seahawks are about to find out what it’s like to play a game in front of an empty stadium.
The Atlanta Falcons, who had been holding out hope of having at least 20,000 fans at games this season, announced Monday morning they will have no fans at events through the end of September at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
That includes Seahawks’ regular-season opener on Sept. 13.
Many teams are still waiting to announce their plans for fans at games this season, including the Seahawks.
As the season nears — the opening NFL weekend is less than three weeks away — teams are expected to begin announcing plans for fans, either for specific games or the entire season.
The Seahawks are taking steps to prepare for what it will be like to play without fans in the stands. They are scheduled to play two scrimmages at an empty CenturyLink Field on Saturday and Aug. 26.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll mentioned as far back as April that the team would make preparations for playing in front of empty stadiums. Monday, he said knowing with certainty that there will be no fans for the game won’t change their preparation.
“It doesn’t impact anything really other than we’ll be familiar with that when we go into the stadium a couple times here, there won’t be any fans there so that’ll be our first chance,” Carroll said. “We’ll really try to use our imagination to get the sense of that. So it’s totally relative. To not have the 12s in the stadium, OK I don’t know that it’s relative because we have a great crowd that goes nuts. Other places I don’t know how much they count on their fans. But we’ll be accustomed to it, to some extent. Once we’re there and we’ve done it a couple times it won’t be a big deal.”
The Seahawks’ home opener is Sept. 20 against New England at CenturyLink Field. Their second road game is at Miami on Oct. 4. The Dolphins have not yet made an announcement.