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Exclusive: Chase Center Is First Sensory Inclusive Venue In Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Basketball games and concerts can be overwhelming for people who are sensitive to certain sights and sounds.

Chase Center has partnered with nonprofit KultureCity to open a Wellness and Sensory Room designed to help fans handle a sensory overload situation. It is the first such venue in the San Francisco area. It is certified sensory inclusive, and its staff are trained to recognize people with sensory needs.

The Warriors versus Timberwolves matchup on Monday night was 20-month-old Hiroto Nakano's first game at Chase Center.

Before the game even started, the unfamiliar space proved to be stressful for the family.

"There was a lot of people, a lot of faces he doesn't know, and then the sound of the music, and the crowd, it just overwhelmed him," Joselle Nakano of San Francisco.

sensory inclusive room in Chase Center (CBS)
The Nakanos take a break from the sights and loud sounds of the Warriors game in the sensory inclusive room (CBS)

That's until the Nakanos brought him to the new room. Guests can pick up a bag at guest services, which includes noise canceling headphones, fidget tools and a verbal cue card. Guests can enter the room on the main concourse level. It's specially designed for people with autism or PTSD, mothers, or anyone who needs a quiet or secure space.

"It's extremely important so that we can have guests of all needs come and enjoy an event whether it's a basketball game, or a concert, we wanted to be able to bring them out," said Warriors VP of Event Experiences Phillip Hastings. "And some, some have auditory issues and loud sounds at times will startle them."

The pregame Warriors show is filled with pyrotechnics and flashing lights and can often be triggering for some, Hastings added.

After just a few minutes in the room, Hiroto Nakano had calmed down.

"I feel good already, the little bubbly things over there is making me feel a little bit more tranquil and seeing him a little bit more relaxed, it just makes us have less anxiety," said Brad Nakano.

There are about 20 sensory rooms in the NBA.

"Now that we know that Chase is baby-friendly, we'll come more often," added Joselle Nakano.

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