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Accessibility of stadiums and arenas for deaf sports fans

deaf sports fans

 

If you’re anything like me, you love attending sporting events, concerts, conferences, or anything held at a big stadium or arena.

I recently visited the famous Camp Nou, home of the Barcelona Football Club in Barcelona, Spain. When researching it prior to my visit, I came across their accessibility information for deaf and hard of hearing guests. I’ve seen many venues list accessibility options, but haven’t seen many list options for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This had me wondering how other major stadiums around the world publicize their accessibility options for deaf sports fans.

The answer was disappointing. Not nearly enough arenas and stadiums around the world advertise their accessibility efforts.

That being said, there are some places that have posted thorough details about their accessibility services. Here’s a breakdown of five popular arenas/stadiums in the world and the accessibility offered for deaf and hard of hearing guests:

The O2 Arena

London, United Kingdom

Known for: Concerts, tennis, and more
Capacity: 20,000 people
Accessibility: The O2 Arena offers British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting services for all events as long as you reach out to their accessible booking team at least 28 days prior to the event.

Madison Square Garden

New York, USA

Known for: Basketball, hockey, concerts, etc.
Capacity: 20,789 people
Accessibility: Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) are complimentary and available for deaf and hard of hearing guests for events in the arena and the Hulu Theater at MSG. Please visit the Guest Experience Office or the Guest Experience Podium upon arrival to coordinate the use of an ALD at the arena. For the Hulu Theater, visit the event manager’s office. For more information about acquiring an ALD, click here.

Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center

New York, USA

Known for: US Open Tennis
Capacity: 23,771 people
Accessibility: Has display screens with open captioning. According to the US Open’s official site, “Captioning is provided in Arthur Ashe Stadium and the Grandstand Stadium, and at various other locations throughout the Center. Captioning in Arthur Ashe Stadium is provided on video boards located in the Northeast and Southwest corners of the Stadium. Captioning in the Grandstand Stadium is available on www.mobilecap.net. If guests do not have their own mobile device/tablet in order to access this website, mobile devices may be obtained at the Guest Services booth in the Grandstand Stadium, subject to availability.”

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New Orleans, USA

Known for: New Orleans Saints, concerts, festivals, exhibitions, etc.
Capacity: 74,295 people
Accessibility: Complimentary hearing assistance devices are available at the Guest Relations Center at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. An ID is require to check out a device and will be returned to you when the device is returned. Sign language interpreter services are available and should be requested at least 30 business days prior to the event. For more information regarding accommodations, check out the Superdome’s website.

Camp Nou

Barcelona, Spain

Known for: Barcelona Football Club
Capacity: 99,354 people
Accessibility: While the following information does not necessarily apply directly to the physical events at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona provides direct access to the contents of the club’s site. The videos are subtitled and have been translated into sign language. They’re available on the FC Barcelona Signs channel and the FC Barcelona YouTube channel. Read here for more specific details about how to access the club’s content in sign language and closed captions.

Accessibility has been a big topic of discussion throughout many stadiums and arenas, especially in the USA where many lawsuits have been filed. Some venues have responded and are making an effort to implement services. There are still many places around the world that need to work on creating readily available options for deaf and hard of hearing patrons.

Read more: A deafie takes on the World Cup 2018

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that you have rights. It’s absolutely your right to reach out to any venue you visit and inquire about how they can ensure that you have a safe and accessible experience at their event.

Do you know the accessibility of other stadiums or arenas? Let us know in the comments.

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Author Details
Ashley is a 28-year-old who loves to travel and try new things. She has bi-lateral, severe hearing loss, and wears a Phonak Naída V-SP hearing aid in one ear and has an Esteem implant in the other.She plays soccer for the USA Women’s National Deaf Team. She’s currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
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Ashley is a 28-year-old who loves to travel and try new things. She has bi-lateral, severe hearing loss, and wears a Phonak Naída V-SP hearing aid in one ear and has an Esteem implant in the other.She plays soccer for the USA Women’s National Deaf Team. She’s currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
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