The National Football League is all about statistics and numbers. So many millions watch the Super Bowl. Stadiums have various capacities. Teams have certain amounts tied up in player salaries.
Add to the around-the-corner-and-out-the-door list the following for 2013: 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches.
Those are the dimensions that are the legal maximum for fans to bring bags into NFL stadiums beginning with the 2013 season. Not only that, but the bags can be only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags. In essence, leave the purse at home, but the small clutch bag is allowed provided they are no bigger than “the size of a hand.”
“Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment,” NFL vice president and chief security officer Jeffrey Miller said in a statement. “Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans’ cooperation.”
“We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment.”
Indeed, safety and security along with helping the thousands of fans who particularly bottleneck in lines shortly before kickoff are primary reasons for the move.
IAVM Director of Life Safety and Security Harold Hansen was present when the NFL Committee on Stadium Security and Fan Conduct met in May to unanimously recommend the implementation of the measure. Hansen said that the NFL has IAVM’s full support and noted that the two organizations continue to work closely together on a number of issues.
“As the world’s largest association supporting venue managers around the world, IAVM applauds the NFL’s efforts to enhance stadium security and fan safety by implementing procedures that reduce the potential for violent threats such as IED’s that can be carried into a facility by those wishing to cause harm to attendees,” said Hansen.
Hansen added that the league, teams and venues will work hard to educate fans about the new policy in advance of the season, utilizing social media, press releases, information in season-ticket holder packets and signage at the venue, including parking lots.
Before fans even reach the main gates, there will be a secondary perimeter around the stadiums where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags being carried toward the stadium so those situations can be corrected immediately. This establishes a protected buffer area for fans in plaza-level areas and at the queues for stadium entry. Prohibited bags will be turned away. Any prohibited bag inside the second perimeter will be highly visible and turned away.
“We have provided some help to the NFL,” added John Drum, vice president, stadium operations for the Arizona Cardinals, who also noted that team president Michael Bidwill is on the NFL’s Committee on Stadium Security and Fan Conduct Stadium. “We are trying to grow the relationship between IAVM and the NFL.”
Chuck Cusick, vice president of operations at Ford Field in Detroit, believes that the precedent-setting policy is one that other leagues will strongly consider adopting in some form.
“The NFL is the only professional sports league that has a comprehensive set of best practices for stadium security certified by the Department of Homeland Security as anti-terrorism technologies under the United States Safety Act,” said Cusick. “As such, other professional and amateur sports leagues look to the NFL as the leader in stadium and large venue security. Other stadiums have watched the NFL closely and followed, to the extent possible, security enhancements pioneered by the NFL. The NFL anticipates that many more stadiums and arenas will soon adopt their policies.”
Cusick then summed up the new policy and its intent: “The measure both enhances safety inside and outside the stadiums and speeds the security screening process for all NFL fans. The public deserves to be in a safe and secure environment. This is about both safety and improving the overall experience.”
Go here to read the full guidelines concerning the NFL’s new bag policy
photo credit: ryan lejbak via photopin cc
Pingback: International Association of Venue Managers » Industry News Weekly Roundup