The Houston Texans announced Friday that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, no fans will be in attendance at NRG Stadium for the team's season opener on Sept. 20.
The matchup is one of the most anticipated of the 2020 season, with the Baltimore Ravens and reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson set to travel to Houston.
Texans owner Jamey Rootes addressed the announcement with a statement, calling it a "difficult decision."
Rootes, however, did not committ to not having fans in attendance for the entire season. Read the statement:
Whether fans can attend other home games later in the season will depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the greater Houston area, which is currently at the highest threat level (RED). The Texans will continue to monitor a variety of metrics and other factors in consultation with local medical and public health officials with the safety and wellbeing of our fans, players, coaches, staff, other personnel and the Houston community as our highest priority.
Houston averaged 71,793 fans at NRG Stadium last season, 9th most in the NFL.
After opening the season at Kansas City before hosting Baltimore, the Texans will travel to Pittsburgh in Week 3 before hosting Minnesota and Jacksonville in Weeks 4 and 5.