‘Pens’ bend over backwards for fans’ safety


Pittsburgh PPG Paints Arena introduce cleaning drones and robots Image: Pittsburgh Penguins & NHL

To provide spectators a safe and secure ambience inside the stadium once they are back to the venue fold – keeping in mind the very grim COVID-19 scenario in the United States – the National Hockey League (NHL) team Pittsburgh Penguins have made extensive operational and capital improvements at their digs – PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh (US).

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference.

PPG Paints Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (US) that serves as home to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Though the nod is yet to be given to welcome fans back to the arena due to State and local COVID-19 protocols in place, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are not the ones to sit back and relax. Instead, during the off-season, the team initiated steps in tandem with their arena management partner – ASM Global – to make the venue as much COVID-compliant as possible.

nhl.com reported that the safety steps initiated in the venue are – applying drone disinfecting technology in the stadium bowl, autonomous UV floor scrubbers, in all the restrooms touchless faucets and flush valves have been installed, hand sanitizer stations totaling to 200-plus and enhanced cleaning protocols introduced to keep the building squeaky clean. The arena strictly conforms to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) guidelines laid down by the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) as part of their ‘Return to Play’ protocols.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada.

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) is the labor union for the group of professional hockey players who are under Standard Player Contracts to the 31-member clubs in the NHL located in the United States and Canada.

Observed David Morehouse, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Penguins, “This has been a comprehensive effort by the Penguins and ASM Global staff, working with local health officials and other expert advisors, to ensure the safe return of Penguins hockey to PPG Paints Arena.”

Morehouse added, “These initiatives and policies will carry over into a post-COVID environment. We also have prepared for the return of fans with enhancements for a safe and efficient game-night experience, including mobile ticketing, mobile ordering and touchless self-checkout scanners for food and beverage.”

nhl.com added that the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations were followed in toto by the Penguins and the ASM while designing their arena protocols. Quite a few of the same protocols are being stuck to at more than 325 ASM Global facilities globally as part of ASM’s ‘VenueShield’ reopening program.

To provide epicurean delight to fans as part of the in-dining experience, the Penguins in collaboration with their food-and-beverage partner, Aramark, carried out significant revamp work across the stadium.

In the lower arena bowl of the facility, a futuristic BetRivers Sportsbook-Style lounge is being created by Rivers Casino (casino in Pittsburgh) and BetRivers.com (a loyalty program). The lounge will come armed with two rows of luxury seating which will facilitate fans to savor Penguins games live and enjoy the same in style while betting via the BetRivers Pennsylvania app on their personal cellphones. Several rows at the top of section 120 are being removed to carve out the new space. The work is expected to be over this Spring.

Keeping the safety quotient high in mind, Penguins app has been upgraded which will provide fans a totally touchless experience. The app will boast features like mobile ticketing (a smooth experience in purchasing tickets, with seat choices provided based on past purchases), a bespoke mobile wallet (users will be able to load wallets with their choice of credit cards), and also leaving fans spoilt for choice with express pick-up for food, beverage and merchandise through their mobiles inside the PPG Paints Arena.

As the season progresses, more and more information will be provided. Whenever fans are allowed to return to the facility, the Penguins will work in coordination with the local and State health officials to formulate and spell out policies on crowd capacity, physical distancing, arena ingress and egress, etc.

The Penguins are bending over backwards to ensure that when supporters are allowed back to their residence, they will be greeted by a spick and span and chic arena with the authorities leaving nothing to chance.

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