Stadiums to the fore as COVID-19 storm on


Stadiums as hospitals part V Image: NSCI/seatgeek/AECOM

COVID-19 has come as the biggest bane in 2020 and it continues to create chaos worldwide with coronavirus cases having crossed the 3 million mark world over and the virus has claimed more than 2 lakh lives globally.

The fatal respiratory disease continues to spread its tentacles around the world leaving in its wake a trail of deaths and overwhelming hospitals. The sports fraternity globally is making every effort to help Governments scrambling to build hospitals to cope with the growing number of infected patients and tackle the deadly virus that has brought much of the world to a standstill.

Continuing with our series – ‘Stadiums as Hospitals’, we present Part V. Part I was carried out in the ‘Coliseum’ edition dated March 25, 2020, under the title – ‘Stadia turn into hospitals to handle COVID-19 outbreak’ and the Part II series was published on April 3, 2020, under the title – ‘Sports venues world over pitch in to combat coronavirus’. ‘Stadiums put best foot forward as COVID-19 body bags pile up’ was Part III of the series which got published in the April 10, 2020 edition of ‘Coliseum’, and Part IV was published in our April 20, 2020, edition under the headline – ‘Stadiums continue to play Good Samaritans’.


United States

The United States is still in a pretty bad shape as far as the coronavirus pandemic is concerned. The country remains the world’s COVID-19 hotspot with coronavirus playing the role of ‘The Grim Reaper’. Local stadiums and arenas are being used as field hospitals to deal with the overflow from existing hospitals.


USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Queens, New York, has been set up as a temporary hospital. The tennis complex now has 470 beds. New York State is bearing the maximum brunt of coronavirus scourge in US.

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is a stadium complex within Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in Queens, New York City, United States. It has been the home of the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, played every year in August and September, since 1978 and is operated by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Twenty of the beds at the tennis facility in the borough of Queens are intensive care units.

The National Tennis Center is also being utilized to make meals for children, healthcare workers, patients and other people in need, with more than 25,000 packages now being turned out daily.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio informed that the National Tennis Center plans to increase the capacity of its makeshift hospital from 350 beds to 470 beds to help in the battle against coronavirus.

“The city needs to create and distribute in excess of 100,000 meals a day for COVID-19 patients, workers and underprivileged school children who rely on breakfast and lunch in the school system for their nourishment for the day,” Danny Zausner, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Chief Operating Officer, informed.


TIAA Bank Field

A free, drive-through federally sponsored screening for coronavirus got off to a start last month at Lot J of TIAA Bank Field in Florida, US, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

TIAA Bank Field is an American football stadium located in Jacksonville, Florida, that primarily serves as the home facility of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL).

Medical personnel wearing protective face shields, surgical masks and surgical gowns are ready to administer the testing swabs amid tents similar to those set up by tailgaters at Jaguars games. Testing is free.

Testing at Lot J — because it was a federally operated site — is only for people age 65 and older with respiratory symptoms and a temperature of 99.6 degrees or higher, remarked Brian Hughes, Chief Administrative Officer for the city of Jacksonville.


Camden Yards

Camden Yards Sports Complex in Baltimore, Maryland (US), which lodges the National Football League (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 massive feeding operation in collaboration 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.

Chef-turned-humanitarian José Andrés is once again on the front lines feeding those hardest hit by the pandemic through his non-profit World Central Kitchen.

Beginning April 25, the World Central Kitchen has started distributing 10,000 to 20,000 individually packaged, fresh meals at Lot H of the Camden Yards Sports Complex.

Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan observed, “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. We are all in this together, and we are going to get through this together.”

Michael Frenz, Executive Director of Maryland Stadium Authority, stated, “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.”

Hogan further commented, “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 World Central Kitchen.

Jeffrey Provenzano, Vice-President, Facilities, Maryland Stadium Authority, US, is a member of Coliseum’s Global Strategic Committee.

Coronavirus count

The coronavirus figures to date in the United States stands at 993,852, and the death toll stands at – 56,009.



India is under an extended lockdown presently till May 3, 2020. On March 24, 2020, the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, limiting movement of the entire 1.3 billion population of India as a preventive measure against the coronavirus menace.

The health authorities and the police are pulling out all stops to ensure that the pandemic comes under control though India is still not a worst case scenario.




International Hockey Stadium

The International Hockey Stadium in Mohali, Punjab (a State in India), has been converted into a temporary jail to lodge those violating the lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The International Hockey Stadium is a field hockey stadium in Mohali, Punjab. This stadium serves as the home ground for the hockey club, Punjab Warriors, of Hockey India League.

The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Mohali, Girish Dayalan, said the stadium would be a temporary jail till the lockdown is in place. He said the main reason behind the move was to ensure that coronavirus did not spread due to the irresponsible behavior of the violators.

Operational since March 24, 2020, the curfew violators are kept in the open jail for the whole day, imparted lessons on sanitisation and social distancing and they are allowed to go by evening. Social distancing has been ensured in the temporary jail complex.

The police are cracking the whip against lockdown violators in India and are being strictly dealt with.




National Sports Club

Mumbai in Maharashtra (a State in India) is worst affected due to the coronavirus curse and is the COVID-19 hotspot in India.

To tackle with the outbreak, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to convert the National Sports Club of India’s (NSCI) dome into a quarantine facility.

The National Sports Club of India (NSCI) is a twin-city based sports club with branches in Mumbai and Delhi, in India.

Mazhar Nadiadwala, Managing Director, Dome Entertainment, stated, “Considering the trying times during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of India’s largest event venues, Dome, NSCI Worli, with support from National Sports Club of India, has extended help to the citizens. Having joined hands with the Maharashtra Government, we at DOME, have converted the venue into a special observation zone for individuals, who are believed to have come in contact with COVID-19 patients.”

“In a bid to fight the virus, we have already set up over 300 beds with standardized facilities in line with the BMC guidelines and NSCI has also offered rooms for the same. We are consistently working along with health authorities to render our support and help manage the existing cases of the outbreak. We aim to go the extra mile and support the people of our city, State and country,” Nadiadwala asserted.

Coronavirus count

The coronavirus figures in India to date stands at 28,380 and the fatality figures – 886.


Bend over backwards

Stadiums world over are giving it’s all to help Governments as well as hospitals tackle COVID-19 which is causing huge loss of human lives and unfolding a tragedy of Herculean proportion.

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