Although clients are able to do little more than throw money at BSC partners facing labor challenges, they are supportive in other areas. Many sports venues are getting actively involved in cleaning and disinfection by signing exclusivity contracts with chemical companies. These types of partnerships aren’t new, but they are growing in popularity thanks to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has brought cleaning and disinfection processes into the spotlight,” says Braden. “Even as we progress through the end of the pandemic, a new normal has been established. Infection prevention is now part of the culture of each venue.”

Sports teams and facility owners see value in approving the cleaning and disinfection products their contractors use. It demonstrates their commitment to guests’ health at a time when the public is as concerned as ever about safety.

“The ultimate goal for any venue is to bring in as many guests as possible for every event, so the perception of the public is paramount to achieving that goal,” says Braden.

There are also financial benefits to chemical partnerships — bulk buying usually reduces costs. Plus, having an established relationship with a manufacturer gives a venue priority access for in-demand products.

“The demand for disinfectants, hand sanitizer, wipes and dispensers greatly outweighed the supply chain at the start of the pandemic,” says Braden. “By partnering with these companies, it allowed venues to receive better access to these essential supplies.”

The partnerships that support these perks come with a hefty price tag, but such is the case when owning a sports team. Protecting players, staff, coaches and fans by reducing infection outbreaks isn’t just goodwill, it’s good business.

“It’s all about the money,” says Donaldson. “They know that if there’s an outbreak they’ll have to shut things down, so they’re looking at the whole picture now. It’s vital for us and the chemical partners to be on board. We don’t just provide chemicals, we provide solutions.”

While these partnerships have myriad benefits, they can present a few challenges for BSCs.

When one venue contracts with one set of products and another uses something else, there may be differing safety protocols that affect everything from safety data sheet (SDS) books and personal protective equipment to initial and ongoing training.

“You have to get your safety department and operational people involved, and you have to work with the chemical manufacturer to provide training,” Mingo says. “It’s not as simple as putting a new chemical in a spray bottle or mop bucket.”

Even with these potential impediments, BSCs agree that chemical sponsorships are largely beneficial. Having a sponsor means the chemical manufacturer isn’t just involved, they are committed to providing the BSC the best products available to tackle the specific needs of that venue.

“With a great partnership, you’ll be in the know about the latest chemical or process to accomplish your goal,” says Donaldson. “And they can give you training on the best use of those products. Having the right tool to do the job effectively saves us time, money and lives.”

The heart of a good chemical partnership is collaboration. It’s about getting all parties — team ownership, facility management and the cleaning team — on the same page to create the safest space possible for occupants. Anything that increases communication with a client is beneficial to a BSC, Mingo says.

“The more we can be seen as a business partner of theirs and they of ours, it really does increase the chances of success and the satisfaction level,” he says. “Having a customer that’s willing to collaborate with us is music to our ears. That’s the best environment for us to work in.”

The pandemic hasn’t included many bright spots, but one upside has been the recognition of the role that BSCs play in helping large venues protect public health. The increasing popularity of chemical sponsorships are further evidence of this shift.

“I don’t think it’s always been seen that way,” says Mingo. “Cleaning was seen as a necessary service and, sometimes, maybe as an inconvenience. But people really do appreciate more how important cleaning, and safe, healthy and disinfected environments are. That’s been good for the industry, and certainly good for our workforce and people.”

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.

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