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Open Captioning Available for Phoenix Suns and Mercury Games

Accessibility, Effective Communication

Coming on the heels of this summer’s anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and as an important piece of its recent significant renovation efforts, The Footprint Center, in conjunction with Civil Rights Education & Enforcement Center (CREEC) and Disability Rights Arizona (DRAZ), is pleased to announce the provision of open captioning for all home Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury games at the newly named Footprint Center.

With the recent $245M arena transformation, the Suns and Mercury began the transition from handheld devices to provide captioning at Suns’ games to offering open captioning for fans at all Suns and Mercury home games throughout Footprint Center. To ensure that such efforts would appropriately and effectively satisfy the needs of the community, Suns and Mercury forged an alliance with CREEC and DRAZ, two organizations with extensive experience in accessibility, and captioning specifically.

Following the guidance of CREEC and DRAZ, along with the input provided by the parties’ liaison to the community, Mrs. Praxy Orduno-Arcia, all spoken words over the public address system will be captioned for Suns and Mercury home games from the time the arena opens to the public until the time it stops broadcasting to the public as well as all pre-programmed song lyrics, as follows:

  • On dedicated LED captioning boards inside the seating bowl located in each of the four corners of the arena, provided with the goal of offering open captioning visible from every seat in the seating bowl. Specifically, on the second-level LED boards located below the following seating sections: Sections 207, 215, 223, and 231;
  • Via the Suns’ and Mercury’s downloadable mobile application on personal electronic devices; and
  • On Televisions/LED Monitors dispersed throughout the arena’s public spaces, including, bars, restaurants, lounges, concession stands, and along the general concourse.

A team, comprised of representatives from the Suns and Mercury, deaf Suns and/or Mercury fans, and a hearing sign language interpreter will monitor the quality of the captioning.

“We have always been proud of the safe and welcoming environment the arena provides to all Suns and Mercury fans, including those with disabilities. We saw the recent renovations to Footprint Center as an ideal time to take the next step and further enhance the auxiliary aids and services we already offered to fans who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing open captioning as part of the new LED technology being installed in the arena,” said Footprint Center General Manager Ralph Marchetta. “It is our belief, supported by our alliance with CREEC and DRAZ, that Footprint Center now provides fans with disabilities with an even more enjoyable experience.”

“We are very pleased that we were able to work with the Suns and Mercury to provide opening captioning to fans at the arena,” said Amy Robertson, Co-Executive Director of CREEC, “We really hope that other stadiums and arenas around the country will follow this lead and proactively offer open captioning for its fans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.” “As a Mercury season ticket holder, and a woman who is deaf, I am pleased to have been part of the process which now provides fans with access to open captioning,” explained community liaison Praxy Orduno-Arcia. “The community is very excited.”

“DRAZ is grateful for Footprint Center’s collaboration and dedication to providing open captioning services at Phoenix Suns and Mercury games,” stated Meaghan Kramer, Staff Attorney for DRAZ. “Deaf and hard-of-hearing fans wanted a more accessible experience, and Footprint Center is delivering.”

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