Chicago’s United Center to serve as Covid-19 logistics hub

It seems like many venues are already stepping up to assist with the public battle against the coronavirus, something we wondered about in an editorial on Monday. In Chicago, the United Center — home of the NHL’s Blackhawks and NBA’s Bulls — will act as a logistics hub for first responders and for food distribution.

According to a post on the United Center site, “Our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting front line food distribution, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.”

Minutes after we posted this, saw another item: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland will be hosting a blood drive on Friday.

Any other venues doing anything similar? Let us know if you know and we will add to the list.

Commentary: Venues should step up to the plate to assist with Covid-19

Hard Rock Stadium, home of Super Bowl LIV

Is there a way that sports venues could assist with the public challenges being caused by the coronavirus? I’m not a public policy expert but it seems like there are some inherent characteristics about big, open places that could actually assist in combating the spread of the disease and helping ease the pain it is causing and will likely cause.

Already we are seeing reports of venue parking lots being used as staging points for mobile testing for Covid-19 infection. Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, recently home of Super Bowl LIV, is just one place where local agencies are taking advantage of the wide-open parking lots to set up mobile testing areas. Another one is being set up at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the scheduled home of Super Bowl LV. As many venues have dedicated parking lots that basically aren’t being used at all right now, it seems like a good place to set up such activities.

UPDATE: Brazil isn’t waiting: Sao Paulo Stadium to Be Used as Hospital to Treat Coronavirus in Brazil

Shelter, medical care and food?

Let me restate the fact that I am not an authority on any of these subjects, but I am hoping that perhaps some venue types can weigh in and comment on the reality of using venues as possible places for people to shelter, receive medical care or maybe just a meal. I was struck by an editorial I read in the New York Times written by Jose Andres, who is a chef, a restaurant owner and founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen. I encourage all venue owners and operators to read his editorial, which basically says that one big way to fight the effects of the disease is to mobilize restaurant workers and use federal aid and large kitchens — like those in arenas and stadiums — to help feed the public.

Some of his bullet points, which represent lessons learned in trying to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria:

In Puerto Rico we used three clear approaches to feed our fellow Americans that can be a guide to heading off an economic and food crisis today:

— Support the private sector as quickly as possible when the economy crashes, as it did after Maria: activate kitchens with federal dollars to serve the people.

— Repurpose and deploy community facilities, while expanding their mission: use the kitchens in schools and arenas to feed more people, more quickly.

— Solve the informational and logistical challenge: Matching demand and supply — by getting food to the people who need it most — is even more challenging than cooking in a crisis. Distribution is the Achilles’ heel of any disaster response.

Since most stadiums have multiple kitchen resources, it seems like venues might be a great place to set up operations for free or low-cost meals that are most likely going to be needed as more people find themselves out of work while most private restaurants face extreme challenges trying to operate on only a take-out or delivery basis. Sports teams and venues have already stepped forward ahead of government in pledging monetary support for the stadium workers who won’t be able to be at events. I would suggest that venues, teams and owners should also take the lead in mobilizing the currently empty venues as facilities for public good, maybe starting with acting as meal centers.

To Mr. Andres’ final point above, it strikes me that setting up larger kitchens and food-preparation operations might be a good strategy as we try to keep supply and delivery systems uncontaminated by the virus. I’m also wondering out loud here but might it also not be possible to use venues as temporary shelters for workers, so that they don’t have to risk spreading or contracting the virus? In-house testing could be set up to keep the venues a sort of enclosed space free of the disease. It might not be the most comfortable place to be, but again it strikes me that venues are somewhat already designed for public distancing, with wide walkways meant to handle crowds that could now serve as enclosed spaces with plenty of room to roam. Most venues also have multiple shower and restroom areas that are relatively easy to clean, perhaps making them easier to keep disinfected.

Again, let me stress — I don’t know what I don’t know about most of this, but I am hoping that perhaps venue owners and operators are already thinking along these lines. I am happy to help foster a discussion, you can use the comments below to chime in, or send me an email with longer thoughts and I will keep this thread going. But I do think, like in the case of providing for arena workers, venue owners, teams and others need to act first instead of waiting for government officials to figure it out.

New Report: Dickies Arena sets a new standard for arena excellence

MOBILE SPORTS REPORT is pleased to announce the Spring 2020 issue of our STADIUM TECH REPORT series, the ONLY in-depth publication created specifically for the stadium technology professional and the stadium technology marketplace.

Our latest issue contains an in-person report on the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, which may have just set the new standard for excellence in an arena experience. We also recap another record Wi-Fi day at Super Bowl LIV, as well as a DIY Wi-Fi network at Rutgers University.

You can READ THE REPORT right now in our new flip-page format, with no registration required!

For those who prefer the PDF, you can also download a copy of the report for free as well!

We’d like to take a quick moment to thank our sponsors, which for this issue include Corning, Boingo, MatSing, Cox Business/Hospitality Network, Comcast Business, Samsung, and American Tower. Their generous sponsorship makes it possible for us to offer this content free of charge to our readers. We’d also like to welcome readers from the Inside Towers community, who may have found their way here via our ongoing partnership with the excellent publication Inside Towers. We’d also like to thank the SEAT community for your continued interest and support.

Corning’s Jess Koch and Art King talk CBRS for venues on the Mobile Sports Report Podcast!

We’re excited to continue our renewed series of podcast conversations with this meeting of the minds from Corning, where Jess Koch and Art King join Mobile Sports Report to talk about CBRS, and how the new spectrum might be used to support private networks and other new applications for stadiums and other large public venues.

In our conversation, we start with a brief recap of what CBRS (Citizens Broadcast Radio Service) actually is, and then quickly delve into how the new spectrum might be used in stadium and public-venue situations. As a vendor in the space on multiple levels (including solutions from SpiderCloud, which Corning acquired in 2017), Corning has some good ideas on where the CBRS market might be headed, so please listen in!

For more information from Corning about CBRS and venues, please visit this site. Thanks for listening!

Jess Koch

Jessica Koch is the Business Development Director of Sports & Entertainment at Corning Optical Communications. Jessica focuses on expanding the adoption of future-ready infrastructure in Sports, Entertainment and other large public venue environments. After spending 15 years in various telecommunications and technology consulting and sales positions, her passion for connecting people and their devices led her to Corning, where she accelerated next-generation connectivity efforts in the Western U.S. Her current role is a vertically focused, national role in Market Development working with stadiums, arenas, convention centers and large multi-use developments. She also sits on the Advisory Board for The Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC), a non-profit organization officially designated by Los Angeles Tourism to attract, secure and support high-profile sports and entertainment events in Los Angeles. Jessica holds a BA in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University.

Art King

As part of the IBN Technologies team, Mr. King leads the development of enterprise services definitions and business case propositions for customers and partners. Mr. King is Vice Chair of the Services Working Group in the Small Cell Forum. He came to Corning via the SpiderCloud Wireless acquisition and was formerly a lead in IT architecture and operations for Nike Inc. where he held various global roles over 10 years. Prior to Nike, he led the build out of two multinational engineering and consulting organizations for an IP services network vendor in the service provider industry.

NCAA cancels March Madness; MLB, NHL, MLS susupend schedules

In another somewhat inevitable decision, the NCAA on Thursday announced it was canceling the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments, “as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.” After the NBA suspended its season Wednesday night and most conferences canceled their year-end tournaments in progress, it was quickly apparent that the NCAA’s Wednesday decision to hold games without fans was not going to be a good enough measure given the seriousness of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Also on Thursday all of the other top professional sports with active schedules announced postponements to games, including Major League Baseball’s decision to postpone opening day by at least two weeks and to cancel spring training; the NHL’s decision to postpone its current season; and Major League Soccer’s decision to suspend its season for 30 days.

Statement tweets below.

NBA suspends season after Jazz’s Gobert tests positive for coronavirus

In yet another of seemingly endless unprecedented moments in sports Wednesday, the NBA postponed a game about to start and then announced it was suspending the entire season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. Here’s the entire explanation on the NBA website:

NEW YORK — The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.

The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made after players had already been introduced at a game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. From the Washington Post report:

Members of both the Thunder and Jazz went through warm-ups and starting lineup introductions at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City before the three game officials huddled shortly before tip-off. After a brief conversation, the officials sent both teams back to their locker rooms. During the delay, which lasted approximately 35 minutes, the Thunder proceeded with their halftime entertainment. Finally, the Thunder’s public address announcer informed fans that the game would be postponed.

According to the Washington Post story, The Athletic broke the news that the positive test was Gobert:

Later Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings game was also canceled: