International WELL Building Institute Launches WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management of Sports and Entertainment Venues

World’s leading certification body for healthy buildings announces council of industry leaders across professional teams, leagues, entertainment, venues, operations and services to join the WELL Advisory on Sports and Entertainment Venues

Co-Chairs of the WELL Advisory include 17th Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona, Tim Leiweke CEO Oak View Group, Doug Behar SVP & Director of Stadium Operations New York Yankees, Tim Romani CEO CAA ICON, Mike Biggs VP Sports & Entertainment Partnerships Jani-King, Bill Rhoda President Global Planning Legends, and Allen Hershkowitz Environmental Science Advisor New York Yankees & Chairman of Sport and Sustainability International

NEW YORK, NY, May 15th, 2020 – The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the world’s leading certification body for healthy buildings, today announced the launch of the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on operational policies, cleaning protocols and design strategies to address a post COVID-19 environment. An advisory of industry leaders from sports and entertainment will advance the completion of the WELL Health-Safety Rating specific to these venues. The new WELL Health-Safety Rating also will apply to a range of other facility types and market sectors, including offices, hotels, retail, grocery stores, warehouses, manufacturing, theaters, recreation, restaurants, schools, among others.

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed to help owners and operators provide the necessary guidance and third-party verification process to adapt to considerations for health and well-being in a post COVID-19 world. Leveraging guidance on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory disease developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leading academic and research institutions, insights drawn from the IWBI COVID-19 Task Force, and core principles already established by the IWBI’s WELL Building Standard, the program provides a centralized source and governing body to validate efforts made by owners and operators.

“Critical feedback from leading industry stakeholders is crucial to the refinement and further development of the WELL Health-Safety Rating,” said Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman & CEO of IWBI. “By collaborating with industry and subject matter experts in public health, facility ownership, operations, management and policies, cleaning protocols, and building and spatial design, we are able to drive towards broader market transformation and completely rethink how owners and operators can adapt to be more resilient as we emerge from this global pandemic. We are excited to fast-track this program for sports and entertainment venues and have the industry fully engaged to address the challenges we face today.”

The IWBI COVID-19 Task Force, a group of over 500 public health experts, virologists, government officials, academics, business leaders, architects, designers, building scientists and real estate professionals, was established at the outset of the pandemic to develop Guidelines on Prevention and Preparedness, Resilience and Recovery in response to pathogen transmission concerns. Members of the task force include 17th Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Richard Carmona, former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, UCLA’s Dr. Jonathan Fielding, and environmental scientist Allen Hershkowitz PhD. Registrations under the WELL Building Standard, the premier standard for healthy real estate, has already surpassed 500 million square feet in 61 countries since inception. The WELL Building movement has been further amplified by over 10,000 WELL Accredited Professionals (APs) and registrants across the globe.

“Given the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports and entertainment industries are going to be changed forever,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, a global sports and entertainment company. “We’re pleased to help lead the reopening of venues with the International WELL Building Institute, the world’s leading standard bearer and certifying body for healthy buildings, and to provide guidance on how best to ensure people can return safely to sports and entertainment facilities this year. We look forward to working with IWBI and the other partnering companies to ensure the industry has the necessary tools, training, and world-class industry standards, to offer both a secure and welcoming environment for all players, artists, touring personnel, venue employees, and fans.”

“When it comes to disinfecting and cleanliness of sports and entertainment venues and assisting in securing peace of mind with the public, the two things we have heard most often are the desire for industry consensus and the backing of science,” said Mike Biggs, VP of Sports and Entertainment Partnerships for Jani-King, a global leader in the commercial cleaning industry. “With the support and expertise of IWBI and the group of leaders assembled to date and joining us in the coming weeks, I believe this collective group will accomplish what the sports and entertainment sectors and other market sectors are seeking.”

Participation in the program will require submission of policies, protocols and strategies for third-party document review and annual compliance verification. The WELL Health-Safety Rating will launch in June, leveraging extensive input gathered from the newly constituted WELL Advisory on Sports and Entertainment Venues, a diverse group of industry leaders at the forefront of ownership, operations and design. Current WELL-registered projects and WELL Portfolio participants can earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating as part of their already established certification efforts.

“Restoring the sports and entertainment sectors is among the most complicated challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has engendered, socially and biologically. And doing so is also among the most desired goals with the public, said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Chairman Sport and Sustainability International and Environmental Science Advisor New York Yankees. “IWBI’s effort to help provide confidence to all stakeholders – from fans, audiences, players and performers to staff and the medical community at large – that a sports or entertainment venue is taking proper, verifiable precautions is of the utmost importance.”

Founding members of the WELL Advisory on Sports and Entertainment Venues include, among others:

17th US Surgeon General – Dr. Richard Carmona
Oak View Group – Tim Leiweke, CEO
New York Yankees – Doug Behar, SVP and Director of Stadium Operations
CAA ICON – Tim Romani, CEO
Jani-King – Mike Biggs, VP Sports and Entertainment Partnerships
Legends – Bill Rhoda, President Global Planning
New York Yankees – Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Environmental Science Advisor

Advisory Council Members
San Francisco 49ers – Al Guido, President
76ers and NJ Devils – Scott O’Neil, CEO
TD Garden – Amy Latimer, President
Texas Rangers – Rob Matwick, EVP Business Operations
Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta – Scott Jenkins, GM
Amalie Arena Tampa Bay Lightning – Darryl Benge, EVP and Arena GM
C3 Presents – Charles Attal, CEO
WNBA Frmr President/Commissioner, PGA Tour Frmr Office of the Commissioner – Donna Orender Buffalo Bills and New Era Field – Andy Major, VP of Operations and Guest Experience
HOK – Chris DeVolder, Managing Principal
Seattle NHL – Tod Leiweke, President and CEO
Ilitch Holdings, Group President, Sports & Entertainment – Chris Granger
Inter Miami CF – Brian Bishop, Senior Vice President
Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage Field House – Len Komoroski, CEO
AOL Frmr CEO, NBA Frmr Executive, WSL Board – Jon Miller
Charlotte Hornets and Spectrum Center – Donna Julian, EVP & Spectrum Center General Manager New York Mets – Michael Dohnert, Senior Director Ballpark Operations
Globe Life Field – Sean Decker, EVP of Sport & Entertainment
European Healthy Stadia Network – Dr. Michael Philpott, Executive Director
Centre for Access to Football in Europe – Joanna Deagle, Managing Director
Sport and Sustainability International – Julia Palle, President
Sport Ecology Group – Dr. Madeleine Orr, Founder and Co-Director
Alliance Sports – Gary Green, CEO
Inter Miami CF Stadium – Tim Robbie, GM
MyStadium – Pierluigi Zacheo, Founder
BASIS (British Association for Sustainable Sport) – Dr. Russell Seymour, Chief Executive
Texas A&M University – Dr. Brian McCullough
Two Owls Partners in Sustainability – David Mayer, Co-Founder
Citizen Group – Robin Raj, Founder and Executive Creative Director
Endeavor Analytics – Keith Friedenberg, EVP
Populous – Chris Carver, Global Director
Gensler Sports – Ron Turner, Principal
The Ashkin Group – Stephen P. Ashkin, President
Team Planet – Simon Lewis, Director
BlackWolf Expeditions – Gabriel Krenza, Founder
ME Engineers – Ed Bosco, Managing Director

For more information about the International WELL Building Institute and WELL Certification, visit us at

About the International WELL Building Institute

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is leading the global movement to transform our buildings, communities and organizations in ways that help people thrive. The WELL v2 pilot is the latest version of its popular WELL Building Standard (WELL), and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities. WELL is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings and communities, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness. IWBI mobilizes the wellness community through management of the WELL AP credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources, and advocacy for policies that promote health and wellness for everyone, everywhere. For more information about IWBI and WELL, visit us here.

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