The San Antonio Spurs have become the first NBA basketball team to deploy robot tech manufactured by Xenex, which specialises in UV technology-based disinfection strategies and solutions, while the Atlanta Hawks have announced State Farm Arena as the first US sports and entertainment venue to successfully become Sharecare Health Security Verified.

The Spurs have purchased LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots to disinfect rooms and areas within AT&T Center. Manufactured by San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services, LightStrike robots use pulsed xenon to create intense bursts of broad spectrum UV light that quickly destroys viruses and bacteria on surfaces.

The intense UV light produced by a LightStrike robot does four types of cellular damage to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, rendering it unable to mutate or reproduce.

LightStrike robots work in two-minute cycles and require no warm-up or cool-down time, which enables the Spurs to disinfect dozens of rooms per day, per robot. The robots are already in heavy rotation throughout the AT&T Center – disinfecting meeting rooms, locker rooms, rehabilitation areas, suites, restrooms, offices, concession areas and elevators.

The announcement comes after the Spurs, which are currently staging games without fans, this month agreed a new partnership with GermLogic as part of their initiative to implement sanitary and safety precautions around COVID-19 and beyond. The partnership has already led to the installation of nearly 200 air purification systems at AT&T Center.

Commenting on the Xenex deal, Casey Heverling, vice-president and general manager of AT&T Center, said: “Our goal is to have the AT&T Center be the cleanest, safest arena in the NBA and the LightStrike robot is an invaluable tool in helping us achieve this distinction.

“We spent a lot of time reviewing hundreds of different technologies, and, when we came across the LightStrike robot and the UV technology it deploys, we knew we had to have that here because of its effectiveness in killing the coronavirus and creating the safest, cleanest environment possible.”

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers were the first professional sports team to deploy LightStrike robots as part of their re-opening strategy.

Irene Hahn, senior vice-president of global sales and marketing for Xenex, said: “Being chosen to be part of the San Antonio Spurs’ disinfection strategy is a significant honour for Xenex for many reasons, but especially because it’s our hometown team and we love our Spurs.”

Meanwhile, the Hawks’ efforts to ensure their home can safely stage events during COVID-19 has been enhanced with Sharecare. The digital health company’s verification process and platform was developed with the support of CAA ICON, the strategic management consulting firm for sports and entertainment facility owners/operators, and Oak View Group (OVG), the global advisory, development, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries.

Sharecare claims its process goes far beyond basic facility standards and establishing a consistent global baseline for health security. Sharecare’s solution requires that live sports and entertainment venues verify their health protocols on an ongoing basis across more than 140 expert-validated standards and over 600 checkpoints, including health and hygiene protocols, air and water management, physical distancing, the attendee experience, and health safety communication with patrons and employees.

Additionally, participating venues have the option to track daily employee health screening results and provide relevant tools for fans and visitors including clinically validated health screeners and information and updates on that facility’s guidelines. This health security verification also comes with a ‘seal of approval’ – the Sharecare Health Security Verified badge – for stadiums, arenas, and live event venues to display on their official websites and on-property.

“Based on the combined expertise of our partners at Sharecare in the health industry along with the knowledge of both CAA ICON and OVG in the complexities of superior live event venue operations, this verification gives us added confidence that we are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of all that enter State Farm Arena for work or play,” said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena.

Jeff Arnold, founder and CEO of Sharecare, added: “For the last several years, we have worked closely with the Atlanta Hawks on our shared vision to improve the well-being of all Atlantans, and – for a myriad of reasons – the pandemic has required us to approach this differently than before.

“In addition to supporting Hawks fans through the Sharecare app, we are proud to work with State Farm Arena to give people confidence that their in-arena experiences are safe and secure. We commend the Hawks and State Farm Arena on their health security verification as well as for taking a leadership position among sport and live event venues to create a culture of accountability as we work toward recovery.”

The Hawks are playing games at State Farm Arena with limited guests and are targeting January 26 for the return of ticketed fans. The Hawks are then hoping to open at 10% capacity, approximately 1,700 tickets, before gradually increasing throughout the season pending adequate conditions.

Image: Xenex