For many Bills fans, the loud noises and bright sights of game day at New Era Field are a big part of the fun experience. But, for other fans with sensory processing disorders, all that excitement can be too much.
So, this year, the Bills are offering new tools to make sure all fans can have the best experience possible.
“We did a little research. We had some fans come to some of our games last year, fans that have autism, fans that have PTSD, maybe former military members,” said Andy Major, the VP of Operations and Guest Experience for the Bills.
That’s why the Bills took steps to get New Era Field certified as a Sensory Inclusive space.
It’s only the second NFL venue in the country to get that distinction.
“We want to make the experience enjoyable for all fans including our guests with disabilities, too,” Major said.
Because many sensory processing disorders are invisible disabilities, New Era Field is offering identifying hang tags for anyone who many need sensory accommodations.
Those tags are among the many items available in the sensory inclusion bags that guests can sign out at the stadium this season.
“We provide noise canceling headphones. We provide a weighted blanket. Anything we can do to help the guests with their experience we’re looking to do,” Major pointed out as he showed News 4 one of the bags. “We provide fidget toys and we also have a card for fans who maybe have a tough time communicating where they can point to how their feeling and they can point to what their need is and what we can provide from the sensory kits themselves.”
Fans can borrow a sensory kit from any Guest Services booth at the stadium free of charge. You’ll need to present a driver’s license to sign out a bag.