Chicago White Sox, Geelong Cats join sensory-inclusive drive

Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and GMHBA Stadium in Geelong have become the latest venues to step up efforts to cater for fans with sensory sensitivities, with the latter becoming the first sensory-inclusive stadium in Australia.

Guaranteed Rate Field tenant the Chicago White Sox has partnered with non-profit organisation KultureCity to make the ballpark sensory-inclusive certified.

As a result, White Sox staff have received training from leading medical professionals on how to recognise and accommodate guests with sensory sensitivities, which can be heightened due to the atmosphere of live sporting events.

A dedicated sensory room has also been set up in Suite 460 at Guaranteed Rate Field. The room will feature a quiet space with elements to help alleviate sensory overload such as textured walls, specialised lighting, weighted lap blankets and chairs.

White Sox Guest Relations booths will also provide fans with KultureCity sensory bags that will feature noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards.

The White Sox have also fitted a mothers’ nursing room at Guaranteed Rate Field for the 2019 Major League Baseball season, which got underway at last week. The room will provide a clean and relaxing space for breastfeeding women and will feature comfortable chairs, electrical outlets for pumps and a television to keep track of the game.

The White Sox’s partnership with KultureCity comes after Chicago’s United Center teamed up with the organisation last week.

Meanwhile, the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, which owns GMHBA Stadium (pictured), has partnered with KultureCity to make the venue sensory inclusive. The Trust has also partnered with stadium tenant, AFL Aussie rules team the Geelong Cats, on the initiative.

Staff, customer service and security members at the stadium have received training as part of the initiative, which will see a designated sensory room set up. Sensory backpacks featuring fidget toys, noise-cancelling headphones and other resources will also be available for guests.

A dedicated quiet room has also been set up at GMHBA Stadium, which has a capacity of 36,000.

Image: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust