COVID-19 venue news: Camden Yards, Inter Miami and more

Camden Yards

Camden Yards Sports Complex, which houses the homes of NFL American football franchise the Baltimore Ravens and Major League Baseball (MLB) team Baltimore Orioles, has been engaged to help feed vulnerable people in the city during COVID-19.

Baltimore Mayor, Bernard Young, has announced a large-scale feeding operation in partnership with the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA), Salvation Army, Ravens and Orioles designed to provide 10,000 meals to vulnerable seniors living independently, and across the 145 senior living facilities and residential housing. The new operation will begin on Monday, with the site run by the Salvation Army.

The operation is a collaborative effort between the Salvation Army, Baltimore City’s Department of Aging (The LEAN Campaign) and Department of Transportation with Maryland Access Point. It has been funded in part by a $100,000 (£81,100/€92,900) donation from the Ravens and will continue as community needs remain.

The Salvation Army’s feeding operation will be staged at Camden Yards, with site support by the MSA and promotional support by both the Ravens and Orioles to recruit volunteers by leveraging their platforms and reaching their fans. The Salvation Army expects the need for 1,000 dedicated community members to volunteer over the lifetime of the operation. Baltimore Orioles manager, Brandon Hyde, is donating masks to equip the volunteers.

Michael Frenz, executive director of Maryland Stadium Authority, said: “The Maryland Stadium Authority is pleased to host the operation at the Camden Yards Sports Complex. We are especially delighted by the generosity of both the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles to support the Salvation Army by donating funds, masks and recruiting volunteers.”

Meanwhile, at the request of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, the non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK) will expand its food relief operation in Baltimore from tomorrow (Saturday) at Camden Yards Sports Complex.

Supported by the MSA, WCK’s food relief operation will help relieve food insecurity faced by Baltimore’s vulnerable communities. Each Saturday, WCK, working with Revolution Foods, will safely distribute 10,000–20,000 individually packaged, fresh meals in Baltimore for residents to pick up and take home for the weekend.

“This certainly isn’t how we planned to be using Camden Yards right now, but at the very least, we can use the space to help families in need during this crisis,” said Hogan. “I want to thank chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen for partnering with us, and chairman Tom Kelso and the Maryland Stadium Authority, for spearheading this community-wide effort. We are all in this together, and we are going to get through this together.”

Earlier this month, Nationals Park, home of MLB franchise the Washington Nationals, was repurposed as a hub to cook and distribute thousands of free meals to those in need through a partnership with WCK.

Inter Miami CF Stadium

Major League Soccer (MLS) team Inter Miami has announced it will open its stadium to serve as a weekly food distribution centre.

Inter Miami CF Stadium has yet to host its first MLS game with the COVID-19 league suspension having been implemented just before its scheduled first event against LA Galaxy on March 14.

Inter Miami has engaged with DeliverLean and the Urban League of Broward County for the new venture, which is designed to support families in need. It will commence on April 29 and continue for the foreseeable future.

DeliverLean Cares, a charitable division devoted to engaging the South Florida community, will collect non-perishable food items from South Florida homes to distribute to families in need. “We are excited to be a partner in this response at a time when food insecurity is on an unprecedented scale,” said Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, president and CEO of the Urban League.

“DeliverLean Cares is an innovative food distribution model that not only helps families put food on the table, it also gives community members an opportunity to make a difference without ever leaving their homes.”

Sleep Train Arena

Sports and entertainment agency Legends has added its services to a field hospital set up at Sleep Train Arena, former home of NBA basketball team the Sacramento Kings.

In partnership with the Kings, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and other state agencies, Legends, the team’s hospitality partner, is managing the food production of healthy meals for more than 500 staff and patients. All food will be created at Golden 1 Center, the Kings’ current home, and delivered to a specified ‘clean zone’ at the facility.

The Kings, who own the Sleep Train Arena property, have made the site available to the California Department of Public Health to serve as a surge hospital to support COVID-19 patient overflow for the Sacramento region.

The Kings moved from the Sleep Train Arena to Golden 1 Center in 2016 and its former home has remained mostly unused since then.

Orange Vélodrome

 The Orange Vélodrome, home of French Ligue 1 football club Olympique de Marseille, has been repurposed as food distribution point for students and the most disadvantaged citizens of the city.

Starting yesterday (Thursday), 400 food packages will be made available on a weekly basis.

The venture is a joint initiative between French charity Restos du Cœur, Marseille’s OM Fondation and Fédération étudiante d’Aix-Marseille.

Thermal screening tech

Working alongside AMCO, a company that specialises in artificial intelligence (AI) camera technology, a collective of UK agencies led by Threepipe Reply is helping to deliver COVID-19 thermal screening at sports and events globally.

Using a system similar to security screening, special cameras linked to AI software can detect high temperatures in individual event goers, helping to identify those with potential COVID-19 symptoms. The collective said that by offering a bespoke screening solution, rights holders are able to include this in scenario planning for when the lockdown ends and introduce measures to safeguard attendees at live events.

Alongside sports activation agency rEvolution and staff engagement agency, MoonShot, the project is being led by creative agency Earnie, and its parent company Threepipe. All agencies are providing their time and resources pro bono with AMCO offering the COVID-19 event screening equipment at cost.

Alistair Gammell, associate partner of Threepipe Reply, said: “Together with rEvolution and MoonShot, we are helping a number of sports and events plan for life after lockdown, so we wanted to offer practical ways to help them return to normal, as safely as possible. We approached AMCO to help create a sport-specific solution, and working with partners, we believe that event screening can help provide the peace of mind for rights holders and attendees.”

Chris Quigley, director of AMCO, added: “We’ve been developing this technology for the last three months and have successfully used it in major footfall areas, including a project with Shanghai Airport. When Alistair and his partners approached us, we jumped at the chance to help sports and events find a way to get them back to business when the lockdown eases.”

Image: Maryland Stadium Authority