Red Bulls Set For Their 6th Annual Autism Awareness Night

New York Red Bulls

When the Red Bulls welcome the Chicago Fire to Red Bull Arena on Saturday night, it’s the home game on the schedule unlike any other.  That’s because it’s the Red Bulls’ sixth annual Autism Awareness Night with $3 from each ticket sold donated to Autism Speaks to support Autism CAN (Care, Access, Navigate) at Hackensack Meridian Health.  The stadium will be fully activated so that they could welcome families that are impacted by autism.

“The Red Bulls Autism Awareness match is a chance for our guests to experience a Red Bulls game for the first time in a sensory friendly environment,” said Christina Giunta-Quarino, Senior Director of Marketing for the Red Bulls.

There will be a number of initiatives that will be in place at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night including…

*From 3pm to 4pm, there will be no music will be played at the BULLevard which is the Red Bulls fan activation area.  Then, the music will be lowered from 4pm until the start of the match at 6pm.

*There will be a dedicated entrance at Gate C1 to make it easier for families to enter the stadium with easier and quieter ingress.

*The volume of the music and PA announcer will be lowered throughout the match.

*The LED and video boards inside Red Bull Arena will be changed to blue lighting.

*The national anthem will be sung by Gianna Sanzone, a volunteer from Autism Speaks.

*There will be a Quiet Zone at a Hospitality Bay on the Plaza Level.

*The player tunnel will be blue to honor the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign.

*Families impacted by Autism will be given “Sensory Sacks” that will include noise cancelling headphones, a stress ball and wristband along with their seating information.

Autism Awareness Night is particularly important to Red Bulls General Manager Marc de Grandpre whose daughter is on the spectrum.

“Autism Awareness Night holds a special place in my family’s heart and we are thankful that our club comes together every year for those impacted by autism,” said de Grandpre.

“Along with our partner Hackensack Meridian Health, we are proud to provide an environment at Red Bull Arena that feels safe and comfortable for families attending the match this Saturday.”

The Red Bulls have been at the forefront when it comes to professional sports teams supporting those families who are affected by Autism.

In 2017, the Red Bulls became the first Major League Soccer club to open a permanent Sensory Room in their home stadium when they opened one at Red Bull Arena.

“Our goal as a club is to give those guests that opportunity all year long with our sensory room at Red Bull Arena,” said Giunta-Quarino.  “What we value most is the memories that families will make together (Saturday) evening going to their first sporting event.”

The Red Bulls joined forces with the family services team from Autism Speaks to design the room that has space for families to enjoy Red Bulls games while sitting inside without a lot of the noise and energy from around the stadium.  The room, available to all families impacted by autism, was open for all homes matches prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and will reopen when health and safety protocols allow for it.

Autism Awareness Night is always a special evening for those families affected by Autism but it is also an important event for the entire Red Bulls organization.  Regardless of the result on the field, the Red Bulls are always winners on this night.

About the Author

Peter Schwartz

Peter Schwartz is a contributor covering the Islanders for NY Sports Day while also writing about general sports in the New York/New Jersey area. In addition to his column, Peter also hosts his “Schwartz On Sports” podcast as he interviews players, coaches, and other sports personalities. He is also currently a sports anchor for WFAN Radio, CBS Sports Radio, and WCBS 880 radio while also serving as the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer club.

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