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New Yankee Stadium Shows Captions for Deaf

April 9 2009 | by

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A friend of mine alerted me to a neat addition to the new Yankee Stadium, and no — it’s not the steak sandwiches. The Yankees have installed two LCD screens on the first- and third-base facade that provide captions of all public address announcements made in between innings, including songs. The photos here shows the lyrics to the song, ‘New York, New York.’ Because all seats at the new Yankee stadium face second base, every fan will be able to see the captioning boards.

It’s disappointing that the game itself isn’t captioned, but the giant, 103-by-58-foot high-definition video scoreboard in center field does have some captioning capabilities. The scoreboard is actually comprised of three adjoining, large, monitors — one in left-center, one in center, and one in right-center. Due to current captioning technology, live captioning can’t be showed on the center portion of the scoreboard, but will be provided in the right-center portion. However, the sheer size of the screen means captions could be too awkward to read. Instead, Yankees game-goers should look for good old-fashioned closed-captions on some of the 1,500 or so TVs installed throughout the stadium.

The consulting arm of the United Spinal Association provided the accessibility services. Other new accessibility features include an induction loop and FM system for hard-of-hearing fans. The Yankees also added more wheelchair-accessible viewing locations and seats with removable armrests for easier transfer, as well as more comfortable folding chairs for companions. The upper deck is not as steep as in the old stadium, and is deeper. Electrical outlets are also installed in all wheelchair viewing areas for people who need to plug in medical equipment during the game. There are 530 accessible seating locations, plus 530 companion locations, or 1 percent of total seating.

Over at the new Citi Field, home to the New York Mets, accessiblity was also fully factored into the design and infrastructure. Citi Field also has two ribbon boards displaying captions, and raised seating for wheelchair users. There are 430 accessible seating locations, plus 430 companion locations, or 1 percent of total seating.

But some Mets fans watching at home aren’t so happy. Mets fans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are incited that Sports Network New York, which broadcasts Mets games, doesn’t offer closed-captioned programming. The network is taking advantage of a loophole that won’t require captions until March 2010. This is the SNY’s fourth Mets season without captions. Meanwhile, the four-month-old MLB Network, which broadcasts Yankees game, has captioning, as YES did when it debuted in 2002.

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