United States Sports Academy
America's Sports University®

The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

Architectural Design and Game Day Considerations For New or Retrofitted Sport Venues

While security in sport and athletic stadiums and arenas has always been a top priority for event and facility managers, the horrific events of September 11, 2001 have thrust this issue to the forefront of every athletic agenda to ensure the safety of all spectators, participants and facility staff members. Each year faculty and students in the Sport Management and Recreation Department at Springfield College, MA the “Birthplace of Basketball,” embark on a research project in an effort to assist practitioners in athletics, recreation and sport. Listed below are design considerations that have been generated as a result of a nationwide research project on stadium and arena security.

Venue Construction

  1. Consider locating stadiums and arenas in areas distant from nearby potentially explosive facilities
  2. Establish a secure central command and control center
  3. Install a lockable bullet/bomb proof holding area for delivery trucks where these vehicles may be isolated while they are searched similar to prison entrances
  4. Design restricted areas that will protect food sources, communication centers, and media outlets especially TV
  5. Install jersey barriers or other similar materials that will protect a 100 foot security perimeter around the entire facility
  6. Install surveillance cameras that are weather, bullet, and tamper proof and capable of viewing the entire facility and parking areas
  7. Install only ventilation systems that are capable of blocking anthrax and other potentially hazardous agents
  8. Install air quality monitors that are capable of highlighting changes in air quality
  9. Construct a minimum of two jail cells so individuals can be restrained if necessary

Pre-event Considerations

  1. Write a formal risk management plan
  2. Implement a pre-event training program for all event staff
  3. Be aware of nearby dangerous/explosive sites
  4. Be aware of the quantities of antidotes within the region
  5. Coordinate your plans with the local & state police
  6. Conduct background checks on all employees including students and seasonal employees
  7. Verify that first responders have a small stockpile of drugs and medications for rapid response use should a biological weapon be released
  8. Utilize 24 hour live security teams in concert with a sophisticated surveillance system
  9. Lockdown the venue prior to the event
  10. Prohibit all concession deliveries 90 minutes prior to the event
  11. Utilize bomb-sniffing dogs
  12. Test air quality prior to the event
  13. Issue holographic personal identification cards for all media
  14. Purchase and install clear refuse bags and receptacles
  15. Escort all cleaning crews

Game Time Considerations

  1. Secure no-fly zones over the venu
  2. Patrol air space above the venue and the parking lots and adjacent access roads
  3. Secure the services of a mobile emergency room to be on site
  4. As technology improves and costs are reduced utilize portable biological detection equipment in mobile vans and in the hands of trained police personnel
  5. Use undercover surveillance teams/individuals throughout the venue
  6. Utilize 1 crowd observer for every 250 spectators
  7. Broaden your observer area by utilizing radio equipped security personnel in the parking lots and at key access points leading up to the venue
  8. Have key security personnel wear inexpensive HazMat Smart Strips that detect the presence of nerve agents, cyanide, and other chemicals
  9. Invoke periodic broadcasts detailing security practices and restricted areas within the facility
  10. Implement electronic scanning of all tickets and match these records with detailed records of all your season ticket holders
  11. Frisk/wand every spectator
  12. Ban all carry-ins and backpacks
  13. Prohibit re-entry by spectators

Post Event and General Considerations

  1. Implement a formal post-event debriefing of all personnel
  2. Vary your security practices so as not to create a pattern in your system