Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena to reopen
Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai will reopen this Friday (20 November), welcoming fans for the first time since February in a Covid-secure format.
The 17,000-capacity arena, which opened last summer, has partnered with promoter OJ Lifestyle to bring an urban music event, Dark Knights Edition 1.0, to the venue. Hosted by UK comedian Paul Chowdhry, the show will see MoStack, Not3s and Yungen perform to a socially distanced crowd.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide live entertainment to the community of Dubai again, and we are excited to welcome the OJ Lifestyle team to Coca-Cola Arena on November 20th,” says Guy Ngata, CEO of Coca-Cola Arena.
“There has been a tremendous amount of work implemented across many sectors in Dubai to get to this point, and we are pleased to now open our doors again, with the safety of our guests of the utmost importance.”
Coca-Cola Arena’s new hygiene protocols and procedures have been developed in collaboration with Dubai Municipality, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and international safety guidelines, as well as the arena’s operator, ASM Global.
“It’s critical that we assure people they are attending a safe environment”
To reopen, the venue will draw on VenueShield, ASM Global’s environmental hygiene programme, which has been implemented at ASM venues globally.
Coca-Cola Arena’s VenueShield protocol includes enhanced cleaning procedures; temperature checks on arrival and thermal cameras at all entrances; social distancing in place across queuing, seating and concourse areas; disinfectant fogging machines; and hand sanitiser dispensers installed around the arena.
“It’s critical that we assure people they are attending a safe environment, allowing fans and artists to enjoy an amazing live experience, which we are confident will be the case,” continues Ngata. “Our VenueShield protocol is there to instil confidence in our guests as we all become accustomed to a new way of experiencing live events for the time being.”
“It is important that fans are vigilant of their own surroundings and responsible in relation to their own well-being and that of others, in line with the consistent messaging communicated by the government of Dubai over the past months,” he adds.
Fans are advised to visit the arena’s website and read the Covid-19 information before attending the show. Tickets are on sale now, starting at 249 dirhams (€57).
OVG chief joins Well entertainment venues advisory
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.”
VenueShield: ASM Global prepares for venue reopenings
ASM Global, the world’s biggest venue operator, has taken the first steps towards reopening its properties with a new series of hygiene protocols, dubbed ‘VenueShield’, to be put in place for when restrictions are eased after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic passes.
Described as a “comprehensive, best-in-class programme” which will provide “trusted protection” for visitors, VenueShield will be rolled out at more than 325 of ASM Global’s venues, which include leading entertainment arenas such as Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK; König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany; the Globe in Stockholm; the SSE Arena in Wembley, London; Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai; and American Airlines Arena in Miami.
“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe and comfortable in a welcoming environment,” comments Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “ASM’s unique and unmatched worldwide footprint of leading convention centres, arenas, stadia and theatres provides the input, data and resources to adapt to our guests’ needs and expectations while further enhancing the quality of their experience in our venues.”
VenueShield protocols will be tailored towards each venue, according to ASM, with a VenueShield taskforce responsible for implementing the new measures (in accordance with international healthcare guidelines from the US’s CDC, the UK’s NHS, Australia’s PHAA and the WHO, among others).
“At the very heart of this effort is our focus on making our employees, tenants and guests safe”
Among the measures being explored are the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), food safety measures, air quality control, surface cleaning, physical/social distancing, temperature checks, thermal cameras, hand sanitisers, reduced touch points, contactless transactions and daily monitoring systems.
Additionally, consultants have been hired to assist with “more technical aspects of the protocol”, adds the company, such as air purification, filtering and the maximisation of fresh-air exchange.
“We realise that each of our venues across the globe are economic engines for their respective communities, representing local tax revenues, travel revenues and jobs,” continues Newman. “We look forward to reopening these local and regional economic foundations, stimulating local economies and again delivering the entertainment experience that has defined us for decades.”
ASM Global, headquartered in Los Angeles, Manchester, Brisbane, Dubai and Sao Paulo, was formed last October by the merger of AEG Facilities and SMG.
The company’s rivals in the international large-venue space, including Live Nation and Oak View Group, are also believed to working on similar guidelines in anticipation of the lifting of lockdowns around the world.