Sensory-inclusive events at Capital One Arena


Capital One Arena with sensory room Image: Capital One Arena

The Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has partnered with KultureCity to make the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., US, and all of the programs and events that the arena hosts sensory-inclusive. Recently, the partners cut the ribbon on The Costabile Family Sensory Room inside the arena to further offer an inclusive and positive experience for all guests and fans that may need additional sensory accommodations during the 220+ games and events each year.

‘Monumental Sports & Entertainment’ quoted Marina Soffer, Senior Manager, Arena Administration, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, as stating, “Monumental Sports is proud to add this impactful feature for guests to the Capital One Arena experience and contribute another important moment to the arena’s rich history. We’re in deep appreciation of the commitment of KultureCity and sensory needs champion David Costabile in helping us to create the best possible experience for every guest at all times with this new space.”

Washington, D.C., (US)-based Monumental Sports & Entertainment is America’s leading sports and entertainment family. Its people, players, teams, and events bring excitement and joy to millions. They invest and innovate to consistently raise the game so that they can deliver extraordinary experiences that will inspire and unite the community, its fans and its people.

Birmingham, Alabama (US)-based KultureCity is a leading nonprofit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 1,000 sensory-inclusive venues in six countries: This includes special events such as the National Football League (NFL) Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl and Major League Baseball (MLB) All Star Weekend.

‘Monumental Sports & Entertainment’ stated that David Costabile, actor, D.C. native and sensory room benefactor and family were joined by the Capital One Arena and KultureCity representatives to display the sensory room features and cut the ribbon in the new space. Members of the Multi-Platinum, Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons who sit on the KultureCity Board also participated in the event ahead of their headlining concert in honor of Capital One Arena’s 25th anniversary.

The 20,356-capacity Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C., US. Located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, the arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro.

Said David Costabile, “I am so proud to be involved with the great work that KultureCity does across our country in so many different venues to not just raise awareness but create avenues for inclusion. Having a sensory room in our family name is a tremendous honor. This room and others like it, give families an oasis of calm in what can be a very chaotic environment for anyone dealing with sensory issues. As a parent who has searched for just this kind of haven to reset, it is a godsend. Without even the possibility of a room like this many families would be excluded from participating in all of the great sporting and entertainment events Capital One Arena offers. Thanks to them and thanks to KultureCity for all of the work they do to offer an inclusive, calming spot for all.”

‘Monumental Sports & Entertainment’ further stated that KultureCity-developed sensory rooms provide a dedicated space designed by medical professionals for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. This is imperative to ensure fans have the highest quality guest experience. The sensory room at the Capital One Arena is outfitted with custom door and window treatments by SelectBlinds, bean bags from Yogibo, the visual light panels by Nanoleaf, activity panels, Sparkle Interactive Light (by NunoErin – a therapeutically fun furniture embedded with soft glowing lights that respond to motion), bubble walls, and a custom tactile artwork created by an autistic artist. The space is located at the Administrative Entrance on Level 1 across from Section 115/116 and is available for all games and events.

As a Sensory Inclusive™ certified venue, the Capital One Arena staff are trained each year by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those guests and fans with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Since 2019, sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker) and weighted lap pads have been available to all guests at the Capital One Arena who may feel overwhelmed by the immersive audio and visual experience.

Said Uma Srivastava, Executive Director, KultureCity, “Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Monumental Sports & Entertainment is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that every guest at the Capital One Arena, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing. We’re honored to collaborate to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests!”

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of the immersive environment at large sports and entertainment venues.

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