Salsiccia v. Sharks Sports & Entertainment LLC
In March 2019, DRA filed a class action suit against Sharks Sports & Entertainment LLC (the San Jose Sharks), the City of San Jose, and the San Jose Arena Authority for their failure to make the San Jose Sharks + SAP Center mobile application accessible to those with vision disabilities.
The Sharks, a Silicon Valley NHL team, recently clinched their fourth-consecutive berth to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Sharks + SAP Center mobile application—a key digital piece of fans’ interaction with the stadium and the team—remains inaccessible via the assistive technology, called screen readers, that blind individuals use to access such services. The app is incompatible with both the native iOS screen reader, called VoiceOver, and the native Android screen reader, called TalkBack.
This leaves fans like Marco Salsiccia, a Sharks fan ever since the team’s inaugural season in 1991, unable to participate in all that the SAP Center and the Sharks have to offer. As sports teams and arenas increasingly rely on mobile apps to allow fans to sell and transfer tickets, present tickets for entrance, order food, navigate stadiums, participate in sweepstakes and much more, they must make these services available to all fans. The same app provides sighted users services on behalf of the San Jose Barracuda, and city-owned facilities—Solar4America Ice at San Jose and the SAP Center. All of the app’s services and benefits related to these entities are completely foreclosed from individuals who are blind and use screen readers. As sports teams and arenas come to rely on apps to provide services and opportunities for engagement to fans, a failure to consider accessibility will leave many fans unable to take part.
If you believe you are a member of the class affected by these problems and would like to consult DRA regarding potential involvement in this case, please contact us at 510-664-8655.