Date: May 15, 2020

Contact: Vicki Duncan Gardner

Email: vgardner@westfield.in.gov

Cell: 317.416.6612

      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Westfield, IN – Today, Mayor Andy Cook, Grand Park Director William Knox and leaders from the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute launched a nationwide study to look at the impact and perceptions of the COVID-19 crisis on youth sports. Specifically, the study will gauge user perceptions of satisfaction and safety at youth sports facilities. The data will be important for venues, event organizers and sports organizations to evaluate facility and procedural modifications over the next 12-18 months.

“We know that one of the biggest challenges to reactivating youth sports in the wake of this pandemic is getting families comfortable with the ‘next’ normal,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “This research will allow us to hear what families, athletes, coaches, event organizers are thinking and expecting as they return to youth sports. I believe it will validate the lengths we are going to create a safe environment at Grand Park and give other facilities similar data to make decisions.”

“The results of the study will help event organizers and sports facilities prioritize adaptations and understand the sentiment of guests given the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Dr. David Pierce Director of the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute.

“This research will be imperative as we look to safely return to play at Grand Park and other sports facilities in Indiana and beyond,” said William Knox, Director of the Grand Park Sports Campus. “Venue owners and sports organizations need to know what their guests and families need in order to meet and exceed safety expectations. This survey will allow us to go directly to the end user to understand how they expect event staff, athletes and spectators to interact with each other.

The survey, will be launched Tuesday, May 19 and is being sent to parents, youth sports leaders and governing bodies nationwide. We are looking to classify 10-12 adaptations that the sports and event industry is debating making when facilities re-open to understand their attitude toward the proposed modifications. Initial survey results should be available by June 1st. Understanding how modifications impact user perceptions of satisfaction and safety are important for venues and events to consider in developing procedural modifications.

The Grand Park Sports Campus has already released its “Step 1 Reopen Strategy,” behavioral guidelines and enhanced sanitation and facility/procedural enhancements and is a leading conversation nationwide on the safest way to restart youth sports.

About Westfield and Grand Park: Westfield is located just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is home to almost 40,000 people and the Grand Park Sports Campus. Grand Park is a 400+ acre sports complex, with 31 outdoor fields, 26 baseball diamonds, a privately-owned basketball facility and a 370,000 sq. ft. events center. The campus boasts more than 2.5 million visits a year and has spurred more than $1 billion of economic development in Westfield since its inception. Westfield is located within one day’s drive of more than half of the United States population and within 40 minutes of the award-winning Indianapolis International Airport.

About the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute: The IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute blends academic thinking with an entrepreneurial spirit to creative solve the pressing issues in the sports industry. The SII publishes the Sports Innovation Podcast, Sports Innovation Journal, and hosts Innovation Sprints for students. Founded in 2015, the SII leverages faculty expertise and student creativity to make a difference in sports.

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