What to expect at Ford Field as fans return to Detroit Lions games

When the Lions return to action at Ford Field, the fans will be back in the stadium to cheer them on. The differences, however, will be stark.

First off there's a new quarterback, head coach, general manager, and a very young group on both sides of the ball. But it's also in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ford Field has been a key location through the past year - hosting vaccinations in the spring, the central locations to hold ballots during the election, and more. 

Things are going to be quite different for fans - while also a bit familiar. here's what to expect.

Are COVID-19 vaccinations or masks required at Ford Field?

In July, the Lions announced that Ford Field will be open for fans to attend with no requirement of vaccinations or masks. That will still be true. 

The Lions are not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or masks to be worn. However, fans are encouraged to wear masks indoors. This in accordance with the City of Detroit's Health Department and the CDC recommendation. 

"We have long awaited the moment where we can officially declare we will have 65,000 fans at Ford Field this fall," said Detroit Lions Team President and CEO Rod Wood in July. "We’ve worked diligently with the NFL, as well looked to federal, state, and local guidelines to monitor what’s best for our team, staff, and fans. We’re thrilled to be at this point and to welcome One Pride back into the stadium. I can’t say it enough, it hasn’t been the same without them."

The Lions are offering free masks for anyone who wants them at guest services booths throughout the stadium.

Ford Field is cashless

Ford Field went cashless for the new season. That means you can pay with a credit card or mobile device, like Apple Pay.

The stadium now has several self-service kiosks and even more touchless concession options throughout the stadium.

The goal is to be as touchless as possible from entry to restrooms to concessions.

According to the team, don't worry, your phone will work in the stadium. Ford Field is one of the most WiFi-connected stadiums in all of sports, according to the Lions.

How to buy parking for Ford Field 

The Lions are making getting the game as easy as possible - at least, once you get near Ford Field, they can't say anything about the traffic on I-75, the Lodge, or any other highway. 

You can buy a parking spot now and reserve your spot today before you head to the game on the Lions' site. As of Wednesday morning, the closest parking spot would cost you $105. It gets cheaper from there with prices as low as $15. 

If you wanted to ride the QLine for the opener you're out of luck. The QLine has been shut down since March 2020 because of the pandemic but it is expected to back up and running by the end of September. It will open the day after the Baltimore game in Detroit and won't be available for fans until Oct. 17 against Cincinnati.

What time do gates open for Lions games?

Ford Field is open for you to come in 2 hours early for the Lions games. So if they play at 1, the gates are open at 11 a.m.

Guests are encouraged to get to the games early and, if you do, you can take part in Power Hour. Honestly, that's the best time to buy concessions. Check out our food rundown for details on the deals. Hint: they're really good deals.


What is allowed inside Ford Field?

Back in 2015, the Lions and the NFL implemented a bag policy that allows certain items into the games. Specifically, it's the bags that are the biggest concern. They have to be clear, vinyl, or PVC and no larger than 12"x6"x12". Think of a one-gallon freezer bag. That's the size you can bring in.

You can also bring a small clutch bag, camera, or binocular cases no larger than 4.5" by 6.5".

Medically necessary items like insulin, medication, portable oxygen, small soft pack coolers, and breast pumps are allowed. As are infant items in clear bag - like bottles and formula. Do not bring a diaper bag. You'll be turned away.

  • Small radios with a earpiece/headphones
  • Small umbrellas that fit under the seat
  • Handheld posters and signs without poles - it can't block someone's view
  • Battery operated clothing or signs - must pass inspection
  • Football helmets. Altered helmets, hats or clothing with spikes or weapons can't be brought in
  • Tablets

The list of what you can't bring in is significantly longer.

  • Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
  • Animals (except certified service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
  • Balloons (air or helium)
  • Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
  • Banners or large flags
  • Cameras with lenses longer than five inches or any detachable lens
  • Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
  • Drones and/or remote controlled aircraft
  • Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders, tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
  • Fireworks
  • Flashlights
  • Food, beverages or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
  • Handouts, items or goods intended for unauthorized sale, promotion, exchange or giveaway
  • Illegal substances
  • Knives, pocket knives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
  • Laser pointers
  • Markers (permanent) and/or paint
  • Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
  • Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, poles, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
  • Offensive or profane messages or images on signs and clothing that are distasteful or indecent
  • Seat cushions or chairs
  • Selfie sticks
  • Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
  • Umbrellas (large size)
  • Weapons
  • Wrapped gifts