Sports Businesses Benefit from Recent COVID Innovations, Adaptations

The following new technology, services, and virtual offerings are just a few of the things I’ve discovered in the past week. Many other concepts are rapidly adapting to serve sports event businesses.

The ootBox offers tiny temporary office space for events.

When the pandemic hit the U.S., many businesses shifted to create products and services that have become part of the scenery at sports events.

Many of these new technologies, services, and concepts involve player and fan safety, crowd management, cleaning, and space for event management.

The Indiana Sports Corp will use a new product called ootBox during March Madness to provide transportation check-in stations at sanctioned hotels and a place for shelter and rest between shuttle shifts for workers.

The ootBox is available for lease and are climate-controlled, fully furnished pods designed by RJE Business. The ootBox provides a portable space made from shipping containers for those who need a work area for employees during events.

After March Madness, the Indiana Sports Corp will relocate the boxes to a downtown location for another use.

Over at Alabama State University  (ASU) in Montgomery, drones and artificial intelligence (A.I.) are being used to provide screenings to protect student and staff safety.

The Draganfly Vital Intelligence Smart Thermal + Vital Screening and Social Distancing Awareness System measure data, including contactless temperature, heart rate, and respiratory readings.

ASU also uses drone technology with a pathogen and virus sanitizer made by Varigard to disinfect surfaces in its athletic stadiums and arenas.

ASU was one of the first universities to implement a COVID-19 safety protocol such as this.

In other A.I. news, Hudl Focus Outdoor developed a hands-free smart camera that automatically captures and uploads game and practice footage to send video to livestreaming platforms.

The technology became more important during the pandemic when fans were not permitted to attend games.

The technology builds on Hudl Focus Indoor, allowing teams to capture high-definition video angles using A.I-powered player tracking technology.

To date, more than 15,000 basketball and volleyball teams have used the technology to capture 190,000 games and automatically stream more than 70,000 of those games to fans.

The manufacturer said sports such as football and soccer will now be able to do the same regardless of weather conditions.

Hudl CEO David Graff said the technology could easily integrate into the brand’s video analysis platform currently used by more than 33,000 football and soccer teams in the U.S.

With Focus Outdoor, users can livestream for free, and coaches can evaluate players to provide post-game reviews without the need for a cameraman.

Further, turf sports will also find new technology to keep fields cleaner than before.

Microban International and SmartTurf teamed up to launch a range of athletic turf products for health, sports, and athletic arenas featuring built-in antimicrobial protection.

Smart Turf Athletic Turf is made with high-performance polyethylene for resiliency. Microban technology is manufactured into the turf blades for permanent protection from mold and mildew, according to the manufacturer.

Smart Turf’s Multi-Sport Turf and Xtreme Play Turf combined with Microban’s antimicrobial protection and odor reduction is designed for indoor and outdoor spaces.

The technology is not designed to protect users from disease-causing microorganisms or viruses, according to the manufacturer’s statement.

On Thursday, March 25, the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX) will host ‘Prepping for the Return of Fans!’, a virtual summit.

The summit is free of charge to anyone who can benefit as part of IIFX’s mission to “build and support a global alliance of thought leaders and stakeholders centered around safety, security, and services that contribute to the ideal fan experience.”

Lee Zeidman, president of the Los Angeles Staples Center Arena, will kick off the event with a keynote talk about strategies to “get fans back.” As president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater, and L.A. LIVE, Zeidman oversees event operations and production. He also supervises the support of tenants, sponsors, clients, and partners, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, and the Los Angeles Sparks.

The one-day event will offer industry leaders innovative ideas to return to work, play, and spectating at live sports and entertainment events.

The summit will address the sports and entertainment industry’s common challenges with crucial coverage areas on health, safety, security, operations, and management.

Speakers include Danny DeLorenzi, vice president of security and safety services at MetLife Stadium; Jennifer Sullivan, the senior director of corporate safety and security at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment; Matt Kenny, vice president of stadium services and events with the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club; and Nick Spampanato, vice president of venue and operations with AEG Presents in addition to others in safety and security operations, medicine, and venue management.

To register, visit

Companies that were thriving in their primary sectors are now transitioning to help the sports industry adapt to changes brought about because of the pandemic.

Please let me know about innovations and technology that have helped you, and I’ll share that information with your industry partners.

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