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Security Design for Major Sporting Events

JUNE 25, 2015

As the sports calendar winds down with the completion of the NBA Finals as well as the NHL Finals, we march into the hot summer months in the middle of baseball season and the much anticipated start of the National Football League games – sure to bring about many smiling faces to all sports fans. As each team begins with the same thought in mind as it relates to the Super Bowl, “this is our year!” there’s also many exciting things happening behind the scenes that go into the production of that event. Those steps have already begun in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, the host of Super Bowl 50. As they progress in their plans for the event in February, so too are the many other arenas around the globe preparing for a large scale sporting event; whether it be U.S. Bank Stadium, World Cup 2022, or Tokyo, Japan for the 2020 Summer Games.

Last week, we had the opportunity to present at the ASIS North Texas Chapter Monthly Meeting on specific issues that security teams face when hosting a major event like a Super Bowl or NBA All-Star Weekend. Once a location is chosen as the home for an upcoming large event, security measures start to be discussed due to the sophisticated nature and size of the arena and crowds attending these events. Security design and planning principles are the backbone to a successfully protected event that will incorporate many different parties and stakeholders, all of which need to work together to ensure the safety of the participants.

While representatives from many industries were in attendance, such as guard-force providers, local and federal law enforcement, and corporate security members, one of the hot topics discussed throughout the day were the current events of effective threats seen all across the news as of late. Whether potential attacks are by organized groups such as domestic or international terror groups or even less refined parties like those in Baltimore or Ferguson, a threat can happen at any time and at any place. With the proper steps taken early and timely planning, a venue can decrease its vulnerability.

Security consulting providers, with experience consulting large-scale professional sporting events and designing physical site security, crowd safety and security systems for newly constructed stadiums, can mitigate risk and define processes for best practices to incorporate all internal teams while continuing to educate and improve the preparedness within the ‘Emergency Operations Plan’.

As the world of security expands more and more into the virtual side with the popularity of social media growing by the day, monitoring of these networks becomes just as important. Gathering social media information with regards to user traffic, disturbances near event sites and crowd control during the event is just as important. The ability to have all this information readily available and to have it in a predictive manner is paramount to stopping these potential disastrous events from occurring.

Coordination is critically important and large venues and major events require a well-designed and documented emergency operations plan with defined roles and responsibilities for all groups and entities.

This post is tagged: Design & Engineering, Sports