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Gary E. Frank headshot

What Do Health and Safety Ratings Mean for Sports and Entertainment? Crypto.com Arena Helps Us Find Out

Since it opened nearly a quarter century ago, AEG’s Crypto.com Arena (formerly known as the Staples Center) has been one of world’s leading multi-purpose indoor venues for sports and entertainment. Building on that history, this week the venue was recognized with the prestigious WELL Health-Safety Rating from the International WELL Building Institute.
By Gary E. Frank
Crypto.com Arena WELL Health Safety PHOTO small

The WELL Health-Safety Rating seal on display at Crypto.com Arena. 

Since it opened nearly a quarter century ago, AEG’s Crypto.com Arena has been one of world’s leading multi-purpose indoor venues for sports and entertainment. Formerly known as STAPLES Center, the 950,000-square-foot facility is now well established as a leader in providing a safe environment for employees, guests, tenant teams and performers. 

Building on that history, this week the venue was recognized with the prestigious WELL Health-Safety Rating from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

“This is a big statement that our arena is as prepared as it can be to make sure it provides a safe environment,” Ignacio Guerra, senior vice president, operations and engineering at Crypto.com Arena, told Triple Pundit. 

To earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating, Crypto.com Arena met rigorous requirements related to its operational policies, maintenance protocols and emergency plans. The rating includes more than 20 features designed to help organizations keep spaces clean and sanitized, provide essential health benefits and services, communicate health and safety efforts, ensure they have adequate emergency preparations and programs, and assess the facility’s air and water quality.  

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed for all types of spaces in new and existing buildings. The same criteria apply across all types of buildings or facilities, from offices to arenas, said Paul Scialla, founder of IWBI. 

“The rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified roadmap that helps organizations advance health-focused strategies for building operations and prepare businesses for long-term resilience,” Scialla said. “The health and safety-focused strategies in the rating support facility operators and workplace leaders to address air and water quality, cleaning procedures, emergency preparedness, health resources and stakeholder engagement. To earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating, a project needs to achieve 15 of the 23 features.”

The rating is designed to give project teams the flexibility to prioritize areas that matter to their businesses the most, Scialla said. The strategies adopted in one project might be somewhat different from those of another.

“As an organization dedicated to delivering the most memorable sports and live entertainment experiences, Crypto.com Arena has been at the forefront of adopting stringent cleaning and safety protocols and was the first NBA, NHL and WNBA Arena to receive the GBAC Star Facility Accreditation in June of 2020,” said Lee Zeidman, president of Crypto.com Arena, in a statement. “This recognition is further evidence of our commitment to ensuring that Crypto.com Arena strives to not only be one of the safest arenas possible, but also promotes an environment that supports the health and well-being of our employees, tenant teams, artists, promoters, guests, and partners.”

“The ratings process provided opportunities for Crypto.com Arena to highlight several different categories where it has been particularly innovative,” Guerra added, “For example, water extracted by the arena’s dehumidification system is reclaimed, stored in our cooling tower and used to supplement the arena's water usage.” 

“Drier conditions are better for making ice, and when we pull the humidity out of the air, we don’t need to keep the building temperature quite as cold, and that way we don’t use as much electricity during the NHL hockey season,” Guerra explained. 

The Green Sports Alliance, the environmentally focused trade organization that convenes stakeholders from around the sporting world to promote sustainable practices, hailed Crypto.com Arena’s achievement. 

“This is a significant achievement that underscores AEG’s unwavering commitment to fostering healthy, sustainable communities where we work, live, and play,” said Roger McClendon, executive director of the Green Sports Alliance, in a statement. "AEG’s dedication to achieving this milestone exemplifies its leadership in sustainability within the sports and entertainment industry, setting a commendable global standard.”

Human health and safety are the most important factors in any business, product, service or event, McClendon told 3p.  “The focus on corporate social and environmental responsibility in the sports sector continues to be a relevant topic, and the work is supported by the business leadership that includes programs like [the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification] and WELL,” he said. 

A key element in raising public awareness is the WELL seal displayed throughout venues like Crypto.com Arena, which includes a QR code fans can scan to learn more about the science and criteria behind the rating. 

“The WELL seal is the best way to communicate the achievement,” Scialla said. "Many stadiums and venues around the world have achieved the WELL Health-Safety Rating, and the owners and operators have been proudly displaying the WELL seal at entrances.”

Stakeholder engagement and communication is part of the rating requirements. “Organizations need to proactively promote their health and well-being commitments, provide a physical or digital guide about their health and safety strategies, and regularly update the building occupants,” Scialla said. “These efforts are essential for keeping stakeholders engaged in not only what’s been achieved, but also in long-term business resilience plans.”

McClendon said that AEG’s decision to move forward with achieving the WELL rating for Crypto.com Arena should inspire other venues to follow suit. 

“I believe that many of the new venue and arena designs will adopt standard operating procedures that incorporate the WELL, GBAC, and LEED standards to provide the best experience for their guests and employees following the sustainability leadership of Crypto.com Arena,” McClendon said.

“Operators of other venues have already contacted Crypto.com Arena to learn more about how it succeeded in getting the WELL certification,” Guerra added. “We are not done yet by, by a long shot. We're still learning, but we have taken every one of these opportunities get these certifications to get better at what we do and learn more,” Guerra said. “We’re going to continue to do more, and the biggest benefit of that, I think, is we now have a documented track record of accomplishment.”

This article series is sponsored by AEG and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.

Images courtesy of AEG

Gary E. Frank headshot

Gary E. Frank is a writer with more than 30 years of experience encompassing journalism, marketing, media relations, speech writing, university communications and corporate communications. 

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