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High School Sports: Some Good News on the Horizon

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 4, 2020

While this is typically the time of year the National Federation of State High School Associations releases its annual sports participation survey, listing all sports at the high school level and showing numbers of students and schools enrolled, this year has been, well, not typical.

As a result, for the first time in 50 years, NFHS did not release its survey. What it did do, however, was share the following insights about fall sports (the only ones unaffected by COVID):

Girls’ volleyball continued its tremendous growth last fall, increasing by 9,751 participants for a total of 462,559. In the past 10 years, the sport has added 60,000 participants and has passed basketball as the No. 2 sport for girls behind track and field.

Volleyball is played on three surfaces (indoor, grass and sand) and the NFHS tracks indoor and beach. The growth figures are for indoor volleyball (which plays in the fall), which is good news for ASBA’s Courts & Recreation Division, as well as for its Supplier Division.

11-player football, which has been declining in participation for the past three years, according to NFHS, posted its smallest drop to date – just under 2,500 students. (To put that into perspective, the three previous annual drops had been 23,311, 20,540 and 30,829). A four-figure drop, therefore, is a significant improvement.

“These numbers suggest to us that parents are appreciative of the risk minimization efforts that have been put in place,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “Every state has enacted rules that limit the amount of contact before the season and during practice, and every state has established concussion protocols and laws. The continued enthusiasm for football has been evident this fall – even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. State associations have worked with government, education and health leaders to do everything possible to offer the sport at some time during the 2020-21 season.”

The NFHS notes that a total of 34 states is conducting football this fall. Some other states have shifted their football season, along with several other sports, including soccer, to spring. In addition, some states have made format or location changes to try to create a more healthful environment; for example, Vermont has shifted to playing 7-on-7 football and outdoor volleyball.

Outdoor volleyball could lend itself to the grass game – something that would be good news for the Fields Division – however, with more demands on fields because of spring football, as well as a host of other traditional spring sports – and any sports moved to spring – schools may find themselves hard-pressed to keep up with the demands for practice and competition space.

It is also likely that students themselves will take the initiative and try new sports that do not involve as much physical contact. Outdoor sports, such as fishing and archery may become more popular. Tennis, having been viewed as a healthy social distancing option, could also spike in popularity, even if schools do not offer play. Esports, which has continued to grow wildly, and which now is an avenue for college scholarships, is also likely to continue its growth trajectory.

“Though a complete participation report for 2019-20 will not be available due to the loss of spring sports,” concludes Dr. Niehoff, “totals on more fall and winter sports from 2019-20 will be formulated in the coming weeks. Judging from the early returns, it appears the past year’s participation numbers would have started the NFHS on a new streak of record participation if spring sports had not been cancelled.”

Tags:  American Sports Builders  archery  ASBA  bass fishing  COVID  COVID-19  esports  football  football fields  gymnasiums  gyms  indoor volleyball  National Federation of State High School Associati  NFHS  NFHS Sports Participation Survey  sports fields  volleyball 

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Golf Growing in Spite of (or Maybe Because of) the Pandemic - Which Could Lead to Facility Upgrades

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 27, 2020

One of the side effects of quarantine life has been the influx of people going outdoors for exercise, including taking up (or returning to) golf. It could lead to more golf course improvement projects, lending an extra level of importance on the growth of the game.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of rounds played increased 13.9% nationally in June, a continuation of the recent surge in golf participation amid quarantine. This rise translates to approximately 7 million or 8 million more rounds than June of 2019.

The NGF saw a 6.2% bump in rounds played in May. (More than half of U.S. golf courses were closed in late March and throughout April, so this is welcome news).

And there’s even more good news for golf-related business. U.S. sales of golf equipment jumped a mind-blowing 51% in June alone. This follows the 22% growth recorded in May.

Sales of a full set of golf clubs rose by 68 percent in June, and golf balls were up 45 percent a trend that is tied to new, entry-level players, said Matt Powell, the NPD Group’s sports industry advisor. Glove sales increased by 51 percent for the month, and tees grew by 49 percent.

Even more good news: The National Golf Foundation is projecting a 20% increase in participation of juniors (as well as new or returning golfers).

Summer is the traditional time for golf nationwide; approximately half of annual rounds are played from May through August, so a continued surge throughout the summer months will help the industry fully recoup its earlier losses.

And U.S. sales of golf equipment jumped 51 percent. Even more encouraging, according to Sporting Goods Business, sales outside of resort locations remain very strong as well.

Sales of a full set of golf clubs rose by 68 percent in June, and golf balls were up 45 percent a trend that Powell suggested is tied to new, entry-level players. Glove sales increased by 51 percent for the month, and tees grew by 49 percent.

Training aids – specifically golf nets and screens, as well as swinging and putting mats – is an area of the market that continues to perform well. These products saw their fastest sales growth in March and April, up more than 140 percent. Sales grew 78 percent in June.

Distance Insights Report

Meanwhile, the USGA and the R&A have put work on their Distance Insights Report on hold for the duration of the pandemic. The report, which in 2019, showed a distinct increase in hitting distances across a period of 100 years, had created great cause for concern in both organizations, including the following:

  • The inherent strategic challenge presented by many golf courses can be compromised, especially when those courses have not or cannot become long enough to keep up with increases in the hitting distances of the golfers who play from their longest tees. This can lead to a risk of many courses becoming less challenging, or obsolete.
  • Increased hitting distance can begin to undermine the core principle that the challenge of golf is about needing to demonstrate a broad range of skills to be successful.
  • If courses continue to lengthen, it is at odds with growing societal concerns about the use of water, chemicals and other resources
  • Longer distances and courses, longer tees and longer times to play are taking golf in the wrong direction and are not necessary for a challenging, enjoyable and sustainable game.
  • A concern has been identified that many recreational golfers are playing from longer tees than is necessary relative to their hitting distances, and, in particular that the forward tees on many golf courses are very long for many of the golfers who play from them.

Stronger players and better equipment had factored into the distances; however, it was also believed too much emphasis was being placed on the distance aspect of the game, which could be discouraging to amateurs and juniors.

“This is not about the last few years or the next few years but rather about the long-term future of the game,” said Mike Davis, chief executive officer of the USGA. “This report clearly shows a consistent increase in hitting distance and golf course lengths over the last 100-plus years. These increases have had a profound impact on costs to build, modify and operate golf courses and they have impacted golfers at all levels. We believe this problem will continue unless this cycle is brought to an end. With collaboration from the entire golf community, we have an opportunity to stem this tide and help ensure golf remains sustainable and enjoyable for generations to come.”

The USGA and the R&A – which had expected to have further conclusions and recommendations out this summer – are now targeting March 2021 for the release of equipment research topics. In the interim, the two groups will continue to monitor the effects of distance on the game.

Tags:  construction of golf courses  COVID-19  golf  golf clubs  golf course  golf during quarantine  golf industry  golf tournaments  golfing  golfing vacations  improvement of golf courses  maintenance of golf courses  National Golf Foundation  NGF  pandemic  R&A  USGA 

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Cross Country Could Come Back to the Olympics

Posted By Administration, Sunday, August 9, 2020

Take a break from political arguments and COVID overload and just enjoy this: World Athletics has developed a Strategic Plan that includes getting cross country running back into the Olympics. In fact, the exact wording is that World Athletes wants to "extend the reach of the Olympic Games by working with IOC and other stakeholders to include cross country within the athletics program."

The discipline was last seen in the Olympics in 1924, meaning that by the time it makes it back to the rings (if it does), nearly 100 years will have passed.

World Athletics says that it’s using the COVID time to focus on the many athletes who have turned to running rather than team sports.

"We know that in the short term, this will initially be restricted by the social distancing guidelines the world is under; on the other hand, the vital importance of daily exercise in maintaining fitness and health during this time has resulted in many people taking up walking and running and playing simple games involving running, jumping and throwing with their families.”

The U.S. already has a deep bench of potential Olympians – and medalists – since the sport is already heavily contested. At the high school level, it has consistently ranked in the top 10 most popular boys’ and girls’ sports, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. At the college level, cross country is second only to basketball in number of school teams nationwide. In 2017, Business Insider noted, “Cross country, thanks to being a sport that doesn't require a stadium or arena, has small teams, uses minimal equipment, and can be played by both men and women, is a close second with 2,065 NCAA teams.”

The fact that athletes can train on their own, even if colleges and high schools are not offering in-person classes, could work in the sport’s favor, as well as the country’s.

Something that might not play in cross country’s favor, however, is the season. Cross country is traditionally a cold-weather sport in the U.S. but when being contested in the Olympics between 1912 and 1924, it was offered in the summer along with other running events. And unfortunately, during the 1924 Olympics in Paris, most of the athletes running quit the race because of extreme heat. The discipline was then dropped.

World Athletics would like to bring back cross country but originally said it would like to see it held during the Winter Olympics. But the Olympic Charter notes that the only sports that can take place in the Winter Olympics are those held on ice or snow.

If cross country is able to make a return, it could be seen as soon as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Tags:  athletics  cross country  cross country running  long distance running  Los Angeles Olympics 2028  outdoor running  Paris Olympics  Paris Olympics 2024  Paris Olympis 1924  Summer Olympics  track & field 

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Want to Know When Sports Will Resume? An Industry Survey Has Some Predictions

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Better days are coming. That’s the biggest takeaway from a survey of health and fitness professionals on the impact of, and progress since, COVID-19. And while recovery isn’t seen as being immediate, it is expected...eventually. And that means more foot traffic on sports facilities.

The data comes from the COVID-19 Industry Impact Report for June 2020 compiled by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

Among the findings: 37% think youth sports will return in 2021 or later, and the two top categories to return to pre-COVID health first will be individual sports (72%) and outdoor sports (66%). Worth noting: sales of fishing tackle and bicycles are exponentially higher than this time last year.

Overall, the survey said that industry members believe that a rebound from the effects of COVID-19 is going to happen – but that it will take time and that it will depend upon certain factors. A full 72% of companies noted they believed they would return to some semblance of pre-COVID-19 – but that they projected this would happen in 2021 or later, which was a 12-percentage-point increase over the last time they were surveyed (in May).

Looking ahead, it’s essential to know what organizations have to say about what they think WOULD help move the needle in participation in youth sports and drive them back to normal (or a semblance of normal). According to the survey, the following reports were given. Note: The largest two percentages always fell into determining something as an “absolutely essential” or “very important” priority, while other responses (of average importance, somewhat of little importance, and no importance at all) received very little endorsement and are not mentioned here.

  • Decrease in Local COVID-19 Cases: The largest percentage (42%) said it was absolutely essential and 40% said it was very important.
  • Availability of a Vaccine: 41% absolutely essential, 32% very important
  • Response to a Possible Second Wave of an Outbreak: 35% absolutely essential, 40% very important
  • CDC or Governmental Approval: 35% absolutely essential, 38% very important
  • Widespread COVID Testing: 33% absolutely essential, 35% very important
  • Opening of Elementary and Secondary Schools 31% absolutely essential, 39% very important

Other safeguards, such as Temperature and Symptoms Checks, and Widespread Antibody Testing, were seen as significantly less important.

Of interest: the survey noted that in May, only 28% said the development of a vaccine was absolutely essential to youth sports returning; by June, that percentage had skyrocketed to 41. The translation for that, according to SGB Media, was, “Return to play expectations were more optimistic in May but dropped in June as many states saw surges of the virus after reopening too quickly.”

Another aspect of the study included gyms, fitness centers and boutique fitness facilities. For the purposes of the sports event industry, it is essential to remember that these venues are typically the ones that host indoor events such as racquetball and squash tournaments, smaller functional fitness events and similar competitions.

A total of 91% those surveyed believed that in order for such facilities to reopen, smart precautions need to be taken, meaning masks needed to be required. Another 88% thought that antibacterial wipes should be required, and 90% thought the spacing out of equipment was a factor. 71% thought that having a vaccine available was very important in allowing such venues reopen and host again.

Unfortunately, gyms are one of the hardest-hit sectors, according to SGB Media, and the impact upon them continues to be felt. According to a survey from TD Ameritrade, 59 percent of Americans don’t plan to renew their gym memberships after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. As reported by CNBC, the survey showed 56 percent of those surveyed indicated the pandemic helped them find “more affordable” ways to get exercise and live a healthier lifestyle.

The SFIA noted there have been distinct differences in the answers given by respondents between the last survey (May) and this one (June). In May, 76% of respondents said they thought that gyms, health clubs and boutique fitness centers would return in the summer, while 80% believed that organized youth sports would return by September or October. As the virus continues to impact sports, expectations are more realistic.

To see the report data for June, click here. Data from other reports can be found on the SFIA site.

Tags:  CDC  college sports  COVID  COVID-19  high school sports  SFIA  Sports & Fitness Industry Association  sports resuming after COVID  team sports  vaccine  youth sports 

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FIFA Still Trying to Nail Down U.S. World Cup Sites, Has Moved to Virtual Process

Posted By Mary Helen Sprecher, Thursday, July 2, 2020

Well, this is a new one. The FIFA World Cup 2026™ Candidate Host City Workshop will be held virtually on July 7 for all 17 U.S. bid cities as FIFA and U.S. Soccer take the next steps in the venue selection process.

FIFA and U.S. Soccer will hold virtual one-on-one sessions with each candidate host city after that, in order to gain more specific information on each facility and on the city as a whole. The FIFA World Cup 2026™, which will be hosted across Canada, Mexico and the United States, will be the first 48-team FIFA World Cup in history.

Under normal circumstances, the selection process would be taking place in person and in fact, it had begun earlier in 2020. Canada and Mexico already held workshops for candidate cities (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto and Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey, respectively). The July 7 event was set for March; however, when COVID-19 intervened, all in-person visits were cancelled.

U.S. CANDIDATE HOST CITIES:

·        Atlanta

·        Baltimore

·        Boston

·        Cincinnati

·        Dallas

·        Denver

·        Houston 

·        Kansas City

·        Los Angeles

·        Miami

·        Nashville

·        New York/New Jersey

·        Orlando

·        Philadelphia

·        San Francisco Bay Area

·        Seattle

Last week, FIFA formally announced Australia and New Zealand as the hosts of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Tags:  Atlanta  Baltimore  Boston  Cincinnati  COVID-19  Dallas  Denver  FIFA  FIFA World Cup  host cities  Houston  international  Kansas City  Los Angeles  Miami  Nashviile  New Jersey  New York  Orland  Philadelphia  professional soccer  San Francisco  Seattle  site selection  soccer  venue selection 

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Russian Slap Fighting: The Niche Sport You Never Knew About … and It’s Coming to the U.S.

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 15, 2020

Yes, some sports have been able to survive through COVID-19. Esports is one of these. College bass fishing tournaments where competitors e-mail a photo of their catch being measured on a bump board (with the largest fish, inch-wise, winning) is another. Then there’s the plethora of virtual events where individuals could take part by running or cycling either at home or outdoors (preferably alone).

But something else that has gone on despite the pandemic, despite all other precautions being taken, is Russian Slap Fighting, the sport where grown men take turns slapping one another across the face until one of them fouls out or passes out. Yes, it's a contact sport. Yes, it's a spectator sport. And yes, it's drawing the crowds (and no, they're not doing the social distance thing).

It’s as strange and testosterone-fueled as it sounds. (Need to see it? Here’s a video link link). And by the way, there are plenty of other videos on YouTube, some narrated in English by a spectacularly profane announcer who uses the handle of Penguinz0. He’s an admirer, not a slapper, but he can still explain what’s going on.

The contestants in a slap fighting contest wear no special equipment – no gloves and no helmets (obviously). To maintain balance after being slapped, competitors hold on to a stand (some sturdier than others) that has been placed between them – although many require assistance to stay on their feet after being struck.

And there are rules, at least in the Russian form of the sport. Only the upper part of the palm can be used to strike only the cheek, without touching the jaw, temple or ear of the opponent – if you hit those, it’s a foul. Evading the slap (including merely flinching to one side) is also a foul. So is using any part of your hand other than the upper part of the palm. If a competitor commits two fouls, he loses the match.

Each man gets five slaps at his opponent. Assuming there are no fouls, a judge decides who fared better, and the winner proceeds to the next round. Occasionally, both contestants split the prize if neither has committed a foul and both have done well.

And yes, medics are on standby – and they are often needed to clean up wounds, revive unconscious patients and make the decision that someone has sustained an injury too severe to allow them to continue (no matter what the contestant might think).

“Anyone who is willing to take part can do so, but the person must understand that it is not fun, it is fun on the one hand, but it carries a high risk to life, risk of getting injured,” explained competition owner, Denis Kiyutsin, in an interview with a news program. “We explain it to everybody, we get everybody together, to explain the rules, what can and cannot be done, like a short briefing, there is at least one judge who is watching that the rules are followed, because people sometimes are cheating, deliberately breaking some rules, but this can lead to serious traumas with their opponent. Every person, by all means, should be aware that it is dangerous that there is risk to life, so every person signs an acknowledgment that he is aware of this,”

Oh, and by the way, this also takes place in the U.S.; one popular YouTube video shows a competition held in Branson, Missouri, where two individuals, known as Hillbilly Hippie (from Mountain Home, Arkansas) and Crazy Hawaiian (who hails from the islands of his namesake), went head to head for nearly 15 minutes before Hillbilly became too concussed to continue. If you want to see a video, it's here.

Slapping contests can be standalone events; in Russia, they began as an add-on to the weekend-long Siberian Power Show—which included bodybuilding, powerlifting, dance offs and a dumpling eating contest. 

“There have always been interesting fistfights in Russia. It happened spontaneously and was interesting. We were sitting and thinking how to diversify our (our event), we are looking at how to make sport more interesting, we have sports zones, and entertainment zones and slap competitions started with a spontaneous idea, why not try?” said Kiyutsin.

The undisputed superstar of Russian slapping is Vasily Pelmen who goes by the remarkable nickname of Dumpling. The mountain of a guy knocking his opponents out with one slap that you at the beginning of this blog? Yeah, that’s Dumpling.

Whether the sport catches on in the U.S. as anything more than a novelty remains to be seen. And it’s unlikely that it’ll ever need special facilities or equipment (other than perhaps punching bags or similar items). The sport’s sponsors tend to be dietary supplements and the commercials (you’ll see one in the first clip) show musclebound weightlifters.

But as mentioned previously, it’s one sport that, in Russia, at least, seems to have a blatant disregard for the pandemic.

“Sports are closed everywhere else,” says Penguinz0, “but in Russia, they’re still slapping each other around. The virus is probably afraid of slap fighting.”

Tags:  American Sports Builders Association  arenas  boxing  combat sports  combative sports  fieldhouses  fighting sports  hand to hand combat  hand-to-hand combat sports  indoor sports  indoor sports facilities  Russian Slap Fighting  wrestling 

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Creating Post-COVID-19 Sports Experiences...Safely

Posted By Mary Helen Sprecher, Thursday, June 4, 2020

We know that some sports are coming back from COVID-19 (even MLB has noted its plans to start in July) but what we don’t know is exactly how different localities will cope with social distancing guidelines and with rules pertaining to mass gatherings.

What we’ve seen so far, though has been a new industry springing up to keep people safe as they emerge from quarantine. And in short, it’s a Shark Tank-style wonder, with some incredibly creative examples of adaptive reuse.

The Fan in the Plastic BubbleUnderTheWeather, the maker of plastic pods, is having what you might call “a moment.” The zip-up plastic tents that parents have, in the past, used to watch their kids’ games in wet, windy and/or cold conditions, are finding new popularity as a means of creating personal space in a post-COVID-19 world.

And, when you think about it, it’s pretty brilliant. Right now, as parts of the U.S. try to restart sports, conditions are far from hospitable. In addition to having some record-breaking cold temperatures for May, many areas are still living under social distancing guidelines.

The plastic pods can hold from one to six people (you choose the size), creating a true “plastic bubble” for those who want to avoid others. (This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that parents were using them for one of the area’s first youth baseball events in quite some time). Of course, the pods are made of 100 percent plastic so it’s likely they will be useful during cool or rainy times – but not as the weather heats up.

So what else is happening to keep people safe as they emerge from quarantine? Several concepts – with more hitting the market all the time, including…

Drones Being Used to Sanitize Stadiums: It’s a new take on the old crop duster idea. According to an article in Venues Now, U.S. companies including Rantizo Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa, OMI Environmental Solutions of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and EagleHawk of Buffalo, New York, are offering amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums and other facilities the opportunity to have airborne sprayer drones disinfect and sanitize their facilities.  

All three use sprayed disinfectants and are marketing drones’ ability to sanitize seating areas and other spaces quickly and safely. In fact, work is already in place with a number of venues. Rantizo recently conducted tests at Principal Park, the Des Moines home of the Triple A Pacific Coast League’s Iowa Cubs, and EagleHawk has done the same at Sahlen Field, where the Buffalo Bisons of the Triple-A International League play. 

All three companies say the drones save on labor costs since it removes the need for individuals to go into stadiums and hose down seats with disinfectants. And for jobs that require a quick turnaround, more drones can be employed, getting the venue done in a shorter time.

New Computer Modeling to Show Where Spectators Can be Placed: Maybe you’re in an area where spectators are allowed but only if they sit certain distances away from one another. The Stadium Business noted that 3D Digital Venue has launched a new service to create virtual reconstructions and perform different types of simulations, showing where spectators can sit, given a stadium’s specific configuration.

Putting Fans in the Stands, Even if They Can’t Be There: Of course, if local ordinances are still forbidding mass gatherings completely, there's a way to put fans in the stands, sort of. In Germany, one soccer fan has developed an app that, for a fee, allow fans to upload an image of themselves that will be printed out and placed in the stands to root for their teams. It costs the equivalent of $20, with a portion of the fee going to COVID-19 relief.

While we don't yet know how long quarantine and social distancing restrictions will be in effect, it's interesting to imagine what ASBA's trade show might look like if these products are still on the market and still in demand.

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Sports Emerges from COVID-19 with New Ways to Keep Spectators Safe: Are You Aware of Them?

Posted By Mary Helen Sprecher, Monday, May 18, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

We know that some sports are coming back from COVID-19 (even MLB has noted its plans to start in July) but what we don’t know is exactly how different localities will cope with social distancing guidelines and with rules pertaining to mass gatherings.

What we’ve seen so far, though has been a new industry springing up to keep people safe as they emerge from quarantine. And in short, it’s a Shark Tank-style wonder, with some incredibly creative examples of adaptive reuse.

The Fan in the Plastic Bubble: UnderTheWeather, the maker of plastic pods, is having what you might call “a moment.” The zip-up plastic tents that parents have, in the past, used to watch their kids’ games in wet, windy and/or cold conditions, are finding new popularity as a means of creating personal space in a post-COVID-19 world.

And, when you think about it, it’s pretty brilliant. Right now, as parts of the U.S. try to restart sports, conditions are far from hospitable. In addition to having some record-breaking cold temperatures for May, many areas are still living under social distancing guidelines.

The plastic pods can hold from one to six people (you choose the size), creating a true “plastic bubble” for those who want to avoid others. (This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that parents were using them for one of the area’s first youth baseball events in quite some time). Of course, the pods are made of 100 percent plastic so it’s likely they will be useful during cool or rainy times – but not as the weather heats up.

So what else is happening to keep people safe as they emerge from quarantine? Several concepts – with more hitting the market all the time, including…

Drones Being Used to Sanitize Stadiums: It’s a new take on the old crop duster idea. According to an article in Venues Now, U.S. companies including Rantizo Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa,OMI Environmental Solutions of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, and EagleHawk of Buffalo, New York, are offering amphitheaters, arenas, stadiums and other facilities the opportunity to have airborne sprayer drones disinfect and sanitize their facilities.  

All three use sprayed disinfectants and are marketing drones’ ability to sanitize seating areas and other spaces quickly and safely. In fact, work is already in place with a number of venues. Rantizo recently conducted tests at Principal Park, the Des Moines home of the Triple A Pacific Coast League’s Iowa Cubs, and EagleHawk has done the same at Sahlen Field, where the Buffalo Bisons of the Triple-A International League play. 

All three companies say the drones save on labor costs since it removes the need for individuals to go into stadiums and hose down seats with disinfectants. And for jobs that require a quick turnaround, more drones can be employed, getting the venue done in a shorter time.

New Computer Modeling to Show Where Spectators Can be Placed: Maybe you’re in an area where spectators are allowed but only if they sit certain distances away from one another. The Stadium Business noted that 3D Digital Venue has launched a new service to create virtual reconstructions and perform different types of simulations, showing where spectators can sit, given a stadium’s specific configuration.

Putting Fans in the Stands, Even if They Can’t Be There: Of course, if local ordinances are still forbidding mass gatherings completely, there's a way to put fans in the stands, sort of. In Germany, one soccer fan has developed an app that, for a fee, allow fans to upload an image of themselves that will be printed out and placed in the stands to root for their teams. It costs the equivalent of $20, with a portion of the fee going to COVID-19 relief.

While we don't yet know how long quarantine and social distancing restrictions will be in effect, it's interesting to imagine what ASBA's trade show might look like if these products are still on the market and still in demand.

Tags:  3-D modeling  arenas  cardboard spectators  computer modeling  coronavirus  COVID-19  disinfection  social distancing  spectator safety  sports in the age of COVID-19  stadiums 

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Expect an Extended Wait for an Announcement of the FIFA World Cup Sites in the U.S.

Posted By Mary Helen Sprecher, Monday, May 4, 2020
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2020

The ASBA members who helped bring the U.S. the 17 stadiums currently under consideration for FIFA World Cup action in 2026 are going to have to wait (along with everyone else) to find out whether their facilities will be in the spotlight. Thanks (or no thanks) to COVID-19, the decision-making process is being delayed, delivering one more blow to cities who had been hoping for some good news.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, who also serves as vice-chair of North America’s 2026 men’s World Cup organizing committee, said that the pandemic’s outbreak has played havoc with the original timeline for picking the tournament’s host venues. A mid-March meeting in Dallas of representatives from the 17 competing U.S. cities was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled. Similar meetings in Mexico and Canada were also cancelled.

FIFA officials were scheduled to perform site inspections on potential venues for practices and competitions in March and April. Those also have been cancelled. It is possible that the dates for a projected second round of tours, in October and November, might be used instead for the original site inspections – but only if the virus is sufficiently under control.

Either way, the announcement will not arrive in early 2021, as it was supposed to.

It now appears a decision would likely be made in the summer or fall of 2021, which is five years out from the World Cup.

All of that, however, is a remote concern at the moment, when cities are scrambling simply to recoup losses from cancelled sports events and conventions that were to take place this spring and summer.

A total of 23 cities across the United States and Mexico are bidding to host games in the 2026 World Cup. Here are the cities in alphabetical order and their stadiums:

  • Atlanta: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (capacity 71,000)
  • Baltimore: M&T Bank Stadium (71,008)
  • Boston/Foxborough: Gillette Stadium (65,892)
  • Cincinnati: Paul Brown Stadium (65,515)
  • Dallas/Arlington: AT&T Stadium (105,000)
  • Denver: Broncos Stadium at Mile High (76,125)
  • Houston: NRG Stadium (71,500)
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Arrowhead Stadium (76,416)
  • Los Angeles/Inglewood/Pasadena: New NFL stadium (80,000, with potential to expand); Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (around 78,500 after renovation); or the Rose Bowl (87,527)
  • Miami: Hard Rock Stadium (65,767)
  • Nashville: Nissan Stadium (69,143)
  • New York/East Rutherford, New Jersey: MetLife Stadium (82,500)
  • Orlando: Camping World Stadium (65,000)
  • Philadelphia: Lincoln Financial Field (69,328)
  • San Francisco/San Jose/Santa Clara: Levi’s Stadium (75,000)
  • Seattle: CenturyLink Field (69,000)
  • Washington, D.C. (venue is actually in Landover, Maryland): FedEx Field (82,000)

Canada

  • Edmonton, Alberta: Commonwealth Stadium (56,335)
  • Montreal: Olympic Stadium (61,004)
  • Toronto: BMO Field (36,000; expansion to 40,000 has been planned)

Mexico

  • Guadalajara: Estadio Chivas (45,364)
  • Mexico City: Estadio Azteca (capacity 87,000)
  • Monterrey: Estadio BBVA Bancomer (52,237)

The 2026 World Cup is probably the least of FIFA’s worries right now, as the organization is scrambling to reorganize the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

 

Tags:  2026 World Cup  ball fields  ballfields  COVID-19  FIFA World Cup  football fields  international soccer  natural grass fields  soccer  soccer fields  sports fields  sports pitches  sportsfields  stadiums  synthetic turf fields 

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ASBA’s Awards Program is Open Now! Show Us Your Best Work!

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

ASBA has opened its awards program for 2020. Members have until deadline, June 1, 2020, to enter their best projects in these categories:

  • Indoor Tennis Facility, Outdoor Tennis Facility, Residential Tennis Facility
  • Indoor Pickleball Facility, Outdoor Pickleball Facility, Residential Pickleball Facility
  • Indoor Track Facility, Outdoor Track Facility, Track & Field Facility, Single Field Facility, Multi Field Facility
  • Courts & Recreational Multi-Purpose Field House Facility, Courts & Recreational Multi-Purpose Gymnasium Facility, Courts & Recreational Multi-Purpose Fitness & Wellness

Obviously, with plenty of categories, members of ASBA have plenty of opportunities to enter. And all the information you need to know in order to showcase your project(s) to the best of your ability can be found here. Don’t miss our special assistance tools available to you, including:

·        Videos with hints and tips for filling out the application form correctly

·        Notes about correct use of photos

·        Information about project construction dates for eligibility in the awards program

·        Awards program rules

·        Checklist for materials, payment and other important information

We’re looking forward to seeing your best work and to honoring it at the 2020 Technical Meeting in San Antonio so take the time now to enter that project. 

Have questions? Contact ASBA's Kaylee Derby at kderby@stringfellowgroup.net

P.S. If your business is still in the slow season or you’re waiting for it to get busy, put this time to use. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Remember that ASBA partners with excellent industry publications like Racquet Sports Industry and Coach & Athletic Director to bring further attention to the winning projects. Make sure yours has the best chance of getting some well-deserved recognition.

Tags:  ASBA  ASBA Awards  ASBA Awards Program  awards for sports facilities  Distinguished Facilities Awards  outstanding fields  outstanding pickleball facilities  outstanding sports facility construction  outstanding sports facility design  outstanding tennis courts  outstanding tracks 

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