COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced, on World Autism Awareness Day, a community partnership with KultureCity to make New Crew Stadium and all of the programs and events to be hosted at the stadium sensory inclusive. KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized worldwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and fans with a sensory issue that visit New Crew Stadium.
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In addition to New Crew Stadium providing accommodations, Historic Crew Stadium will also provide some accommodations for guests and fans with sensory needs beginning with Crew SC’s home match against Real Esteli FC in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Concacaf Champions League on April 15.
Staff members at Historic Crew Stadium and New Crew Stadium are now certified on how to recognize guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests at Historic Crew Stadium and New Crew Stadium who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. These fans will also be able to utilize a dedicated sensory room designed by medical professionals for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment.
Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Within the application is the Social Story, which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event at New Crew Stadium.
“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,” said Crew SC President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “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.”
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the environment in a venue like New Crew Stadium. With its new certification, the Crew’s new home will be prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when attending any matches or events.
Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 600 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries, including special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts, including the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017 and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, KultureCity was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.
“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,” said Uma Srivastava, Chief Operating Officer of KultureCity.
The Crew SC First Team is currently in Orlando, Florida, for the third leg of its preseason camp. Following the training camp in Orlando, the Crew opens the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League on the road on April 8, against Nicaraguan side Real Esteli FC in the First Leg of the Round of 16, before hosting Real Esteli at home for the Second Leg on April 15. The Black & Gold are set to kick-off the 2021 MLS regular season at Historic Crew Stadium on Sunday, April 18, against the Philadelphia Union.
Supporters interested in learning more about purchasing 2021 Season Ticket Memberships should visit CrewStadium.com, where they can see the view from each seat location along with the benefits of each section. Fans can also schedule their own private virtual tour of the New Crew Stadium with a Crew SC ticket representative.