COVID-19

Football teams rethink stadium design to adjust for COVID

Greg Echlin Oct 6, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Todd Olszewski/Getty Images
COVID-19

Football teams rethink stadium design to adjust for COVID

Greg Echlin Oct 6, 2020
Todd Olszewski/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As football continues this fall, pro teams and major college programs are turning to architects in an attempt to devise stadium layouts to accommodate socially distanced fans and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at games.

Nate Appleman is an architect for HOK, a Kansas City firm that designs stadiums and other venues. He said he has been busy in the last few months, dealing with questions like: “How are restroom facilities going to operate from a physically distant standpoint? How are concession stands going to operate? What is our maximum ability to populate the seating bowl in a physically distant scenario?”

HOK designed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, where the Falcons play. The Falcons decided not to have fans at home games in September. Now, HOK is mainly working with big college football programs. 

In the NFL, it’s up to each team to determine its own fan policy.

The Kansas City football team opened the season Sept. 10 at Arrowhead Stadium. There were about 16,000 masked fans in a 75,000-seat venue.

The team worked with Populous, another Kansas City architectural firm, to make changes. The team’s president Mark Donovan knew that other NFL teams, still figuring out their plans, would be watching.

“We take the responsibility very seriously,” Donovan said.

The Kansas City Health Department and the team later announced that a fan tested positive for COVID-19 the day after the game. According to the team, the fan was in compliance with the stadium rules while entering the stadium with a face mask. Wearing masks through the whole game is mandatory. The city health department directed 10 people who were at the game to quarantine for exposure.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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