The Minnesota Vikings NFL American football franchise has become the latest sports team to introduce a sensory room at its home stadium.
The Vikings teamed up with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, official science partner 3M and non-profit organisation KultureCity to install the space at US Bank Stadium in time for the 2019 season.
The KultureCity-designed sensory room will cater to fans with autism, down syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and other conditions that require a safe and calm atmosphere. The room will be staffed by two licensed behavioural specialists during every Vikings home game.
Kevin Warren, the Vikings’ chief operating officer, said: “Our continued focus is on elevating the fan experience for all Minnesota Vikings fans. Games should be as accessible as possible, particularly for fans with special needs, and we are proud to work with organisations like KultureCity to take this significant step forward.”
The room will be located on the upper concourse area at US Bank Stadium in the space that was formerly the HCMC 3M First-Aid Station. The room will feature a sensory-active wall display, sensory toys, low lighting, bean-bag chairs and sensory bags.
3M has also provided ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones for fans who use the space, which includes a single-use connected bathroom.
KultureCity provided training to Vikings staff, along with stadium manager SMG and security provider Whelan Event Staffing Services (WESS), to ensure the venue secured sensory-inclusive status.
US Bank Stadium has distributed free autism kits since opening in 2016. The Vikings also offer a downloadable game-day social narrative, which fans can use to ensure their experience is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.
Fellow NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles recently partnered with KultureCity to introduce a similar sensory room at Lincoln Financial Field. KultureCity has partnered with a host of other major-league teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians.
Image: Minnesota Vikings