Why the $1.1 Trillion Live Events Industry Is Pivoting to Vaccine Logistics
An army of event planners have discovered a newfound sense of purpose — and much-needed work
A line of people snakes through the club lounge at Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots play. They’re not here for a game, though; the stadium has been converted into the biggest Covid-19 vaccination center in Massachusetts.
Look more closely and you’ll see logos showing that the site is being operated by a company called CIC, which usually manages co-working spaces. Another company, DMSE Sports, which normally directs running events including the Boston Marathon, is handling the logistics.
DMSE’s involvement makes sense, said founder Dave McGillivray, because the vaccination process “is like a race.” He gestures around the busy scene: “There’s the parking, there’s the course they go through, there’s the finish.” A clock normally used to show runners their pace is keeping time for people waiting to make sure they don’t have side effects.
Businesses like these, which rely on bringing crowds together for live events and other purposes, are finding new ways to stay afloat through the pandemic — including, increasingly, by helping bring it to an end.
About 40 miles from Gillette, another vaccination site is being set up by the conference and events company Conventures. And roughly 1,200 miles further west, a Wisconsin race director is managing Covid testing for a hospital and helping prepare for the administration of vaccines at the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field. Near there, ModTruss, which normally builds stages for concerts — including the CBS set at the Super Bowl — has shifted to making biocontainment units for Covid-19 patients.
“We’re helping bring our own industry back.”
In the warmer months of the pandemic, DMSE managed logistics and operations of high school graduations and drive-in movies and rented out its road barriers, safety barricades, and equipment to restaurants for…