December 19, 2014  

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National Conference Puts Focus Squarely on Sports Safety and Security

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NASCAR President Mike Helton addresses the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans. (Office of University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

Three days packed with keynote speeches, panel discussions and appreciation awards highlighted the 2011 National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition held at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

More than 300 attendees, including 56 vendor exhibits, took part in the second annual conference hosted by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi.

“This conference and exhibition firmly established the need for an annual national conference for sports safety and security,” said NCS4 Director Dr. Lou Marciani. “There is a strong indication that the gathering of top professionals in the field provide an environment to access the latest knowledge, technologies and strategies to deal with security challenges, uncertainties and financial concerns in our daily positions. NCS4 is positioned to facilitate this critical environment in the future.”

Conference attendees came from as far away as New York and California. There were also three foreign countries represented – South Africa, Argentina and the Ukraine.

The conference opened with keynote addresses by NASCAR President Mike Helton and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Sue Armstrong. Helton, who has served as NASCAR’s chief administrator since 2000, posed a question that summarized the mood of the entire conference.

“How do you place a value on being safe?” asked Helton “For us in the sports industry, we have to be able to sleep at night knowing we did everything possible to keep our fans safe.”

Major topics addressed during the conference included the following: current trends and best practices in fan violence; social media in understanding and managing spectator sports events, community preparedness, setting standards for effective security management training and customer satisfaction.

Mike Rodriguez, director of security for the United State Tennis Association, was presented the National Sports Security Distinguished Leadership Award. A new award was created and presented to 13 facilities/organizations throughout the United States for achievements in outstanding sport safety and security operations. Those earning recognition included:

  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • PPL Park, Philadelphia
  • The Staples Center, Los Angeles
  • Gillette Stadium
  • New Meadowlands Stadium
  • Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Wegmans Championship
  • Safeco Field
  • Little League Baseball
  • Joe Louis Arena
  • Daytona International Speedway

For more information about the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, call 601.266.6183 or visit www.NCS4.com