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Accessible Sports Venues

Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. This article will outline features that accessible sports venues, such as arenas and stadiums, should have. Accessible sports venues allow fans of all abilities to enjoy different kinds of sports together.

Accessible Sports Venues

Venues show their welcome for fans using assistive devices when they have accessible structural features. For instance, some accessible structural features that venues might have are:

  • Accessible Parking
  • Ramped or level entrances
  • Automatic doors and wide doorways
  • Lifts or elevators whenever there are stairs
  • Accessible public washrooms
  • Accessible change rooms for athletes or performers
  • Wide aisles and paths of travel
  • Visual fire alarms
  • Line areas and service counters that accommodate fans using mobility devices

Other features can also help venues become more accessible. For instance, good lighting will help fans who are Deaf communicate visually. Lighting is also important for fans who are visually impaired. Moreover, additional seating may benefit some fans with invisible physical disabilities who cannot stand in long lines.

Tickets and Other Purchases

Moreover, accessible sports venues should allow fans to purchase tickets in multiple ways, such as:

  • By phone or teletypewriter (TTY)
  • In person
  • Online

If a fan finds one way of buying tickets inaccessible, they should be able to buy in another way. In addition, staff should be available to assist fans purchasing from concessions or gift-shops.

Accessible Seating

Venues should also have accessible seating at multiple levels. An “accessible seat” can mean different things to different people. For instance, it can mean a seat:

  • Someone can reach without climbing stairs
  • Near the front so that someone can see or hear clearly
  • On one side of the arena or stadium, for someone with sight in one eye or hearing in one ear

Advertising

Fans with disabilities, as well as their loved ones, will want to watch games together. Therefore, accessible arenas and stadiums should make the public aware of all the accessibility features and services they offer. For instance, venues can make fans aware:

  • On signs
  • In person
  • Through their websites
  • Remotely, through messages on their automated phone-answering systems

Moreover, websites can explain how to access features, equipment, or services. For example:

  • Where accessible parking, entrances, and washrooms are
  • Which seats are wheelchair accessible
  • Whether fans need to book accessible seats or parking in advance, and how to do so

Contact Information

In addition, accessible sports venues should provide multiple contact methods for fans to get in touch with them, including:

  • Phone and teletypewriter (TTY) numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Accessible websites, including performance listings, ticket purchase, and contact forms

Our next article will cover accessible information in sports venues.