(from Sports Business Journal, April 22, 2013) With the attacks that occurred during the Boston marathon last week, the topic of security at events, sporting events specifically, has been at the top of many facilities, leagues, and event coordinators minds. After nearly a decade of avoidance by sporting events, many changes have been sparked, with this attack being seen as a reminder, and a wake-up call.
After the 9/11 attacks many changes took place. These changes ranged from Yankee Stadium not allowing bags, to many NFL teams wanding fans, to stadium design focusing on economical security features. However, security officials throughout said the Boston attack wouldn’t cause major changes to their security measures. These facilities have an advantage of secure enclosed venues. It is attacks such as Boston that officials recognize the problem is beyond protecting the venue; it includes the open air of the events as well. According to Dan Donovan, Security Consultant at Guideposts Solution and the Athens and Beijing Olympics, “The live site, the public area, is going to be under greater scrutiny because we’re providing an opportunity there for people to do bad things.”
With additional security come additional costs. Teams, leagues and government organizations already spend an estimated $2 billion on security in the U.S., according to ESPN. Some of these added expenses may be burdened to the leagues and teams, while a majority of the costs will be put onto the government. This could lead to cities determining if they should even hold events or not.
Other expenses would be incurred due to insurance fees. Any event sports and concerts that attract 10,000-15,000 or more can require $10 million in coverage. These events require liability insurance that is well into the five figures in premiums alone.
“More events will get raised to that [National Security Special Event] level, but the problem is where do you draw the line?” said Ray May, FBI agent for 23 years and Counterterrorism Liaison for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. It is up to the leagues, venues, and organizations to determine where the line of security and costs is placed. Competitor Group CEO Scott Dickey concluded with, Boston wasn’t an epiphany. Security has always been an issue for sports events, and it always will be.