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Fans prepare for socially-distanced Cowboys home opener

A ticket broker expects there to be 16,000 to 20,000 fans inside AT&T Stadium vs. Atlanta on Sunday.

ARLINGTON, Texas — On a nice, almost-fall Friday in North Texas, fans are almost ready for the return of NFL football with people inside.

Cowboys season ticket holder Patrick McCord of Mansfield on Friday stopped by the team pro shop at AT&T Stadium. He says he's excited for home games the next three weekends.

"I’ve been nervous just hoping everything goes through,” McCord said.

The Cowboys have rolled out what they’re calling the “AT&T Safe Stadium Policy” which includes a lot of what you see in many places like deep cleaning, mask wearing and enforced social distancing.

It also adds some new features to the gameday experience, like cashless transactions, to-go concessions and mobile ticketing.

Tickets for home games are being sold in pods, and according to SeatGeek on Friday, could be still be purchased in groups of two to five people.

Pods means you sit with your family or friends you know well – in groups – spaced out with an empty row between each group.

On Wednesday, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said AT&T Stadium would be at 25 percent capacity at kickoff Sunday against the Falcons, a figure the Cowboys would not confirm on Friday.

Robert Lodes at Dallas-based Metro Tickets, a secondary-market ticket broker, says he's seen the layout and ticket manifest and estimates that capacity will be near that figure.

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"I think they will safely have 16,000 to 20,000 fans in the stands," Lodes said.

In a stadium with 80,000 seats, that provides a lot of space to stay socially distanced. Capacity can be expanded to 100,000 with standing room only tickets, but those ticketing options are not currently available.

If weather permits, the Cowboys plan to open the end zone doors and retractable roof to improve airflow.

It will also allow a television audience and the NFL a glimpse at potentially how to hold a socially distanced sporting event with more fans than have currently been seen in the limited stadiums permitting fans inside.

McCord won't be there on Sunday, but plans to attend next week when Cleveland comes to town.

"Everyone wants to see how Jerry (Jones) does things, I think it’s going to be a big deal," McCord said.