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OVG chief joins Well entertainment venues advisory

Oak View Group is the latest international venue business to move towards reopening its buildings safely, with Tim Leiweke backing Well's new Health-Safety Rating

By IQ on 18 May 2020

Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group (OVG)

Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke

Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, has been named a co-chair of the Well Advisory on Sports and Entertainment Venues, the advisory group behind a new rating system that aims to help venues reopen safely in a post-Covid-19 world.

The Well Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, an initiative of the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), is an “evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on operational policies, cleaning protocols and design strategies to address a post-Covid-19 environment”, according to its creators. The rating – which draws on guidance from the World Health Organization, US government agencies including Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, and IWBI’s own Covid-19 taskforce, among others – will also apply to theatres, offices, hotels, restaurants, schools and retail businesses.

“Given the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the sports and entertainment industries are going to be changed forever,” says Leiweke, whose Oak View Group is developing venues in Milan, Manchester and Seattle, among other cities, and is partnered with many more through its International Arena Alliance.

“We’re pleased to help lead the reopening of venues with the International Well Building Institute, the world’s leading standard bearer and certifying body for healthy buildings, and to provide guidance on how best to ensure people can return safely to sports and entertainment facilities this year.”

“We’re pleased to help lead the reopening of venues with the International Well Building Institute”

Leiweke is one of seven co-chairs of the entertainment and sports group, alongside the likes of Doug Behar, director of stadium operations for the New York Yankees, Tim Romani, CEO of venue consultancy CAA Icon, and former US surgeon-general Richard Carmona.

“We look forward to working with IWBI and the other partnering companies to ensure the industry has the necessary tools, training and world-class industry standards to offer both a secure and welcoming environment for all players, artists, touring personnel, venue employees and fans,” adds Leiweke.

OVG’s backing for the Well Health-Safety Rating follows rival venue group ASM Global’s unveiling of its own in-house reopening protocols, called VenueShield, in May. Live Nation is also believed to be close to revealing a how it will make its venues safe after coronavirus; sources tell IQ its VenueShield equivalent will be “best in class”.

Participation in the Well Health-Safety Rating programme, which launches in June, will require the submission of policies, protocols and strategies for review by a third party, as well as annual compliance verification, according to IWBI. Current Well-registered ‘healthy buildings’ will be able to earn the Well Health-Safety Rating as part of their existing certification.

“I believe this collective group will accomplish what the sports and entertainment sectors and other market sectors are seeking”

“Restoring the sports and entertainment sectors is among the most complicated challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has engendered, socially and biologically. And doing so is also among the most desired goals with the public,” says Allen Hershkowitz, chairman of Sport and Sustainability International and environmental science advisor to the New York Yankees. “IWBI’s effort to help provide confidence to all stakeholders – from fans, audiences, players and performers to staff and the medical community at large – that a sports or entertainment venue is taking proper, verifiable precautions is of the utmost importance.”

Mike Biggs, VP of sports and entertainment partnerships for cleaning company Jani-King, adds: “When it comes to disinfecting and cleanliness of sports and entertainment venues and assisting in securing peace of mind with the public, the two things we have heard most often are the desire for industry consensus and the backing of science.

“With the support and expertise of IWBI and the group of leaders assembled to date and joining us in the coming weeks, I believe this collective group will accomplish what the sports and entertainment sectors and other market sectors are seeking.”


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