Large Venue Safety: The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security


Note: this article was originally published in November of 2015.

With the news filled with the recent terror attacks on Paris, many people are expressing concern about personal safety in public venues. What is not well known is that protocols exist to deter acts of terror in public areas. For example, when the suicide bombers attempted to gain entry to the Stade de France, a security guard detected the explosives vest worn by one of the suspects.  Had the suicide bombers been able to enter the stadium, the explosions and the subsequent stampede of panicking fans would have caused many more injuries and deaths.

Here in the United States, security leaders continue to rely on organizations like the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security to provide the most up-to-date research, training, and accreditation available.  

National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security

The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) is the country’s first academic center dedicated to spectator sports safety and security research, professional development, training and outreach. It was founded in 2006 at the University of Southern Mississippi to conduct research, provide training, enhance professional development and assess security solutions. The center hosts annual safety summits, workshops and training events for professional, collegiate, and high school sports as well as marathon/endurance events. It also provides online resources for its active members, including templates, checklists and guides.

A Powerful Network of Security Professionals

The NCS4 National Advisory Board includes high-level security professionals and subject matter experts from the National Hockey League, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI, to name a few.

Next summer, the NCS4 will host its seventh annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition from July 12-14, in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will help sports venue and event managers, security staff, first responders, and law enforcement professionals understand the latest technologies, products, services and research available to protect spectators during sporting events. The conference is meant for individuals from professional, intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics, and marathon/endurance events.

It is also preparing to host the upcoming 2nd annual National Marathon Safety and Security Summit  in December  in Long Beach, Mississippi. NCS4 Director, Louis Marciani, said in a recent Time magazine interview that since the attacks in Paris:

…many stadiums have enhanced security even further in the last few days, expanding checkpoints and perimeters around stadiums, adding law enforcement agents to parking areas outside of arenas, and including additional canine sweeps for explosives.”

While it may cause some minor inconveniences, such as longer wait times to enter venues, heightened security and preparedness are necessary elements that will continue to be critical to keeping fans, athletes, and venue employees safe.


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