What the Super Bowl Can Teach Us About Fan and Athlete Safety

What the Super Bowl Can Teach Us About Fan and Athlete Safety

By Tricia O'Connor

The Super Bowl is just over a month away. For more than 54 years, Super Bowl Sunday has been the most-anticipated National Football League game of the season. 

Super Bowl LV will look and feel a lot different in 2021, though. The NFL has already outlined a litany of “Know Before You Go” expectations and rules for fans attending the Super Bowl:

  • Physical distancing
  • Face coverings
  • Foot traffic movement
  • Reduced seating
  • Increased hygiene stations

The league is also implementing temperature checks, face masks and gloves, and enhanced cleaning for staff.

These guidelines are a game-changer for venues to protect their spectators and staff. Here are additional efforts you can add to your safety playbook.

A Strong Defense

The pandemic has changed sports and entertainment venues in ways we never imagined. Across professional leagues that normally play in front of tens of thousands at arenas and stadiums, digital “fans” and cardboard cutouts have sat in the stands, while others have confined themselves to restricted‐audience bubbles or low‐capacity spectator settings.

Similarly, smaller‐scale venues that host minor league teams and multipurpose recreational facilities for amateur and youth sports have leaned toward sport‐specific modifications for player safety with optional protocols for spectators. Although there have been some successes, it is a challenge for many facilities to stay safe and stay open. Among the chief concern is how to safely welcome back athletes and their supporters and protect employees and vendors.

While the Super Bowl plans on kicking off February 7th, the resurgence of COVID‐19 continues to force sports venues to make adaptations on the fly. While venues that host professional sports have the support and financial backing of powerhouse leagues, local and regional multipurpose facilities have less bandwidth to coordinate similar safety measures. To compound the problem, running venues at a reduced capacity creates a significant economic impact, including lost revenue and jobs, for the municipalities or event-management companies who oversee these venues.

The path to keeping public health at the forefront of sporting events may be found in technology. Though state guidelines include health and safety protocols, cleaning standards, social distancing measures, and more, few protocols discuss the role technology can play in the ability to execute and expand on these guidelines. By using smart solutions to help implement crucial protocols in their reopening strategies, venues can address health and safety concerns to prevent the spread of COVID‐19.

Essential Equipment

A centralized integrated platform that has a range of scanning, tracking, and communication tools can help ensure the safety of everyone within a venue and should include the following components:

Entrance Scanning: One of the first signs of COVID‐19 is fever. Contactless temperature kiosks positioned at venue entrances can help mitigate risks. For example, if the scanned temperature is above 100.4 degrees, a warning light will indicate that access has been denied, but if a temperature is normal, access will be granted. Thermal scanners not only detect body temperature, but ensure everyone entering the venue is complying with mask requirements. This can further reduce the risks and time associated with having employees manually perform temperature and PPE checks.

Distance Monitoring and Contact Tracing: Devices worn by employees can allow facility managers to monitor social distancing and engage in contact tracing instantaneously if there is a potential outbreak. Fixed devices can also be placed throughout the facility at entrances or corridors utilized by both workers and fans. This data can provide valuable insight into areas that need to be modified to follow health and safety standards at any moment.

Analytics Dashboard: At any sports venue, there are enormous amounts of foot traffic in and out of the facility. These fluctuations in capacity can be difficult to track, view and monitor without a centralized command center. A dashboard that integrates with thermal scanning and contact-tracing wearables and can communicate results to leadership in real-time can help facility managers track pandemic‐related activity. The dashboard can analyze real‐time location data and issue quick notifications, medical guidance and instructions. Additionally, a centralized command center helps venue management adhere to regulatory health and safety compliance and ensure state and local traffic density guidance is being followed.

The Right Play

Staying open and staying safe are top priorities for sports venues across the country as leagues continue to operate during this pandemic. As the new year approaches, communities will also be looking to recover from any economic impact they suffered during the height of operating restrictions. Embracing a solution that uses smart technology can significantly reduce the spread of communicable viruses at facilities and make venues safe for people to return to when events return.

Stay Safe. Stay Open.

Protecting fans, athletes, and staff can begin before an infected person enters a facility. Although the NFL is asking Super Bowl ticketholders to take a “Fan Health Promise”, a comprehensive health and safety strategy is the best offense to run against a pandemic.

EBI Workplace Health & Safety is a secure U.S. cloud-based, customizable platform providing modular options for retailers and all organizations to protect their people and their livelihoods. The platform serves as a central data repository and analytics engine for data collected through employee mobile health apps, thermal scanners, and contact tracing systems. These analytics give employers the insights they need to make critical business decisions to keep workplaces open and operational. 

A coordinated technological health and safety umbrella like EBI Workplace Health & Safety can help all of us work confidently and safely, without interruptions. 

Schedule a demo or reach out to one of our EBI Experts

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*A version of this article originally appeared in SportsTravel Magazine.

Uncategorized Workplace Health & Safety

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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