Take Me Out to the Ball Game: ADA Accessibility in Sports Arenas

ada-accessible-sports-arenasWhether you’re in the thick of basketball or hockey season, enjoying baseball’s spring training, or mourning the end of football season, if you’re a sports fan you know that nothing compares with watching your team play live. But does your sports stadium comply with the ADA accessibility standards?

The ADA has extensive guidelines for compliance for sports arenas which will allow you to enjoy the game without inconvenience. Your first concern is probably where to sit–and how much to pay. The ADA requires that wheelchair accessible seating be available in every category of seating, and at a variety of ticket prices. Whether you’re splurging on a box or cheering with the masses in the nosebleed section, you should have plenty of options. Each wheelchair seat will have a companion seat beside it. Additionally, one percent of fixed seats must have a moveable armrest or no armrest, for people with mobility disabilities who do not wish to use a wheelchair seat. Your enjoyment of the game should not be hindered: wheelchair seating must provide a line of sight even if other patrons are standing, and assistive listening systems must be on offer for patrons with hearing impairments.

ADA requirements also ensure that patrons with disabilities are able to navigate the entire facility. Accessible routes must connect wheelchair seating with entrances, restrooms, concessions, and locker rooms and backstage areas. If passenger drop-offs are provided, each one must be accessible and offer an accessible route into the stadium. While not every entrance must be accessible, those that are not must provide clearly marked signs directing patrons to the nearest accessible entrance.

Patrons with disabilities must have full access to souvenir and concessions stands. Cash registers and any condiments and self-serve food items must be placed at an accessible height. Whether you’re after a team jersey, an autograph from your favorite player, or a hot dog with all the fixings, if you have trouble meeting your needs, chances are your stadium is not complying with ADA standards. If you do feel that your arena is not compliant, please contact us for assistance.

Image courtesy of Flickr, daimoneklund