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Sports, Entertainment & Events

Large sporting arenas, entertainment venues and indoor/outdoor concerts and events can bring tens of thousands of individuals into one confined, frenetic space. In U.S. professional sports alone, over 5,000 games are played each year for millions of spectators. High attendance college sports – football and basketball – add thousands more site and venue-days every year. Managing an emergency which could involve the entire population of the event presents an enormous logistical and public safety challenge. As the coordinator, event planner or venue owner you are responsible for the care, custody and control of attendees and participants of the event. Your goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for the stadium occupants or event attendees. To ensure that you are providing the highest level of preparedness for your attendees, your planning and preparation should be led by proactive crisis & emergency response teams who know their roles and responsibilities. A proactive emergency response program will ensure that event organizers will take immediate actions to ensure proper steps are taken to stabilizing and terminating the emergency, thus minimizing property damage, bodily injury and financial liability. Your organization cannot take the chance of an unorganized emergency management approach or “shoot-from-the-hip” emergency management style.

Industry Drivers and Trends

  • The National Football League (NFL) established the “Best Practices Program” that provides benchmarked security and emergency response procedures to NFL owners and their teams.
  • New York City conducted “Operation United Response” at Shea Stadium in 2004. This full-scale exercise depicted a WMD explosion and tested local emergency response plans and teams. Over 2,000 individuals from 100 organizations participated in the emergency scenario.
  • A Security Management survey of North American professional and college stadiums and arenas was conducted in November 2002 soon after reports of skyrocketing insurance premiums for sports facilities came to light, the study found that:
  • A new Security Management survey of North American professional and college stadiums and arenas was conducted in November 2002 soon after reports of skyrocketing insurance premiums for sports facilities came to light:
    • All but one of 47 facilities have tightened restrictions on bags, coolers, and other items since 9-11.
    • 96% now inspect patrons more intensively at the gate.
    • 91% said that they lock down their facilities between events.
    • There is greater deployment of entry-screening staff and upgraded event-day credentials for staff.
    • 78% are monitoring their air intakes, but only one-third are monitoring their water pipes.
    • 33% of stadiums that host professional sports teams fail to perform background checks on all part-time staff; less than 10% at major university athletic facilities said that they check all part-time staff.
    • 88% of professional parks, sports stadiums and arenas check all full-time staff, compared with a 27 percent rate at major college facilities.
    • 81% of stadiums have increased the standoff distance around the facility, compared to only 60 % of arenas and only half of the college stadiums.
    • 72% of arena managers and 57% of stadiums reported instituting rapid crisis-response teams.
    • Only 15% have reduced or eliminated alcohol sales; only 19% have become more aggressive in pursuing criminal charges against violent or unruly fans; only 28% of facilities have instituted a stricter expulsion policy for fans.
    • 66% of respondents said they had increased electronic surveillance in the past year.

Implementation Considerations

  • Have you conducted a Capabilities and Needs Assessment to ensure there are no gaps in your current plan?
  • Does your plan follow the nationally-recognized Incident Command System?
  • Do your facilities have trained emergency response teams?
  • Have you established clear defined communications plans with internal and external responders, the media and the community?
  • Have you established a proactive relationship with local, state and federal agencies?
  • Have your emergency response capabilities been reviewed for their impact on your university’s or team’s overall liability insurance costs and coverage, and on your legal liability?
  • Do you have a dedicated Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support your emergency response teams?
  • Is your facility, stadium or venue equipped with a PA system and, if so, what back-up measures are in place if it is disabled?
  • Do stadium or venue occupants know the emergency procedures for the facility?
  • Are exit signs clearly visible and can they be seen if all power is lost?

Case Study

A large major league stadium wanted to enhance their current emergency response program after the league announced their benchmarked program for security and emergency preparedness. RSI consultants developed an emergency procedures guide to assist the stadium staff handle any type of emergency including fires, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and workplace violence. The guide also provided key information of evacuation and sheltering. Now other major league teams, businesses, and schools use a version of this emergency procedures guide.

 For Additional Information
For additional information on Risk Solutions International’s capabilities within the Sports, Entertainment & Events sectors, please contact Scott A. Corzine at


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