Both Columbus Crew stadiums will have sensory inclusive needs for 2021 and beyond. The club announced a community partnership on Friday with KultureCity, a non-profit that effects change in communities for those with sensory needs. Both historic Crew Stadium and new Crew Stadium will have accommodations for attending guests with sensory needs. This will go into effect for Columbus’ first home match on April 15 against Real Esteli.
Staff members for both stadiums have received certification to recognize fans with sensory needs and will provide sensory bags for those who need them. These bags will consist of noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards as well as weighted lap pads. Both stadiums will also have dedicated rooms for those that might require a quieter and more secure environment. These rooms were designed by medical professionals as the Black & Gold offer more accessibility needs for the community.
“Our new community partnership with KultureCity grants us the opportunity to provide our supporters with an inclusive environment that allows them to enjoy the matchday experience to the fullest, while being sensitive to their needs,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the release. “Our goal is to ensure that all Crew supporters feel comfortable at our home matches and can focus not only on the field of play but can take in all of the sights and sounds beyond the white lines in and around the stadium. As we continue to evolve as a Club built for the community, it is important to provide a setting that is inclusive and welcoming for all of our members.”
Individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other similar conditions often experience sensory sensitivities. Noise and overstimulation can cause sensory challenges and new Crew Stadium’s design will create a chamber of loud chants, cheers and more to create a tougher environment for road clubs visiting Columbus. This new partnership with KultureCity will provide the necessary accommodations to assist these guests and create a welcoming match experience.
KultureCity extends its reach to Columbus while also have more than 600 sensory-inclusive venues across four different countries. Events like the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and MLB All-Star Weekend have teamed up with KultureCity to create a sensory-inclusive atmosphere. KultureCity is also award-winning with recognitions from NASCAR, the Cleveland Cavaliers and FastCompany, who named KultureCity one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2019 and 2020.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a soccer match, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment. Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that Columbus Crew SC is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” Uma Srivastava, Chief Operating Officer of KultureCity said in the release.
Historic Crew Stadium will be ready in less than two weeks for the Crew’s home opener against Real Esteli in the CONCACAF Champions League. The two clubs will first meet on Thursday in Managua, Nicaragua as the Crew will go directly from its preseason camp in Orlando, Florida to Nicaragua. The Black & Gold recently just closed its preseason closed-door games with two losses in Orlando to Minnesota United and Toronto FC.