“We will have to turn to scientists to define what will protect our customers,” Mark Cuban says. (Getty Images)

NBA owner talks about tech’s role in what the future of venues will look like

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, has been a familiar face on TV and webchats during the COVID-19 shutdown of sports and entertainment, taking a lead role in talking about what will bring back live event gatherings and what they’ll look like.

 When VenuesNow asked him his answer to one of the biggest questions facing the industry today — will fans return to shows and events en masse when the green light finally comes — his answer was unequivocal.

“Yes,” Cuban said.

In an email interview with Cuban, who will become a club owner in the coming months when he opens The HiFi Dallas, a 1,000-capacity general admission venue, with Live Nation, he said technology will play a major part in the return to business.

“It will be critically important,” he said. “We will have to turn to scientists to define what will protect our customers and the products, services and processes we will have to adopt. 

“Technology will help us implement and manage them all.”

Cuban wasn’t specific about what new processes might need to be put in place at American Airlines Center, home of the Mavericks, regarding concessions and dining options. “The bigger issue will be determining the extent to which we have to social distance and the impact on the layout of our food locations,” he said.

Changes to outdoor areas like Victory Plaza, adjacent to the arena, and social gathering spaces inside that have become magnets for younger fans in recent years will require following the science, Cuban said.

“We all will adapt,” he said. “I think once we get a vaccine, life will be far more normal again.” 

Asked how he’ll know when it’s the right time to open things up, Cuban invoked the name of another familiar face on TV: “Dr. Fauci tells us to go outside and mingle.”