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First Virtual National Sports Safety and Security Conference a Success

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 16:21pm | By: Sara Priebe

NCS4: Southern MissMore than 400 professionals in the sports security industry came together to engage and collaborate online with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) during the 2020 National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition. The three-day conference was held in partnership with title sponsor Johnson Controls on October 12 -14, 2020, with the theme, The Way Forward.

“We are delighted with the industry’s feedback on our conference programming and logistics. This year’s theme focused on the future and how we, as an industry, can work together to get back on track in a safe manner,” said Dr. Stacey Hall, NCS4 Director and College of Business and Economic Development Sport Management Professor at The University of Southern Mississippi. “We learned from the nation’s leading industry professionals and public health experts on forward-thinking strategies dealing with communication, resiliency, legal issues, health regulations, operational changes, and the importance of utilizing data for safety and security mitigation efforts and technology solution decisions.”

“The NCS4 Conference brought together professionals from a variety of industries, backgrounds, and venues in a successful virtual setting that continues to help us learn, grow and collaborate together,” said Billy Lagenstein, National Football League (NFL) Director of Security Services and Investigation. “The strong, well-balanced content, speakers, and experiences shared help us continue to develop pro-active operations.”

Conference attendees heard from more than 40 industry experts and leaders in the field, ranging from government officials and police, professional sports officials, physicians, chief executive officers, lawyers, vice presidents and directors of technology, safety and security, and researchers and educators.

Topics covered included the impacts of the COVID pandemic, reopening and returning to play, life in the “bubble,” strategic planning, and venue operations. Speakers included Tom Bossert, former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor; Don Garber, Major League Soccer Commissioner; Steve Adelman, Adelman Law Group and Event Safety Alliance VP, among others.

In the panel “Strategic Planning: Reopening and Returning to Play” moderated by Dane Dodd, Prosegur Services Group Senior VP, leaders in sport security including Cathy Lanier, NFL Senior VP and Chief Security Officer; Robert Pollicino, National Hockey League VP of Security; and Jeff Stonebreaker, Major League Soccer VP of Safety and Security, discussed the importance of effective planning and collaboration as venues and teams begin to reopen and return to play. This also included recommendations and lessons learned regarding planning initiatives, hosting events with and without fans, gaining stakeholder buy-in, and establishing a process for continuous improvement.

Attendees chose from six breakout sessions ranging in topics from leveraging data for safety and security to disinfecting large venues, risk management, and utilizing technology. All breakout sessions were recorded and are available to watch now.

The virtual conference offered two exhibit halls with 28 exhibitors and sponsors who interacted with visitors, answered questions and provided resources. The virtual space also offered a lounge area for networking with fellow participants and a resource library with presentation slides and materials, resources from exhibitors and sponsors, and resources from NCS4.

“The conference is a perfect example of how collaborating with NCS4 prepares facilities and security professionals to adapt, overcome and deliver results without missing a beat through any challenges that we may face,” said San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium Director of Guest Services Angie Nix.

The entire conference, including all of the recorded presentations, is now available on-demand for the next 12 months. All of the topics, speaker bios, and presentation descriptions can be found on the conference website. Everyone who attended the event has access to the event and anyone who registers during the on-demand period.

Visit for information on how to receive access to the on-demand content or for additional information.

Mark your calendar for the 2021 National Sports Safety and Security Conference scheduled to be held in-person June, 2021 in Phoenix, AZ.


About NCS4:

Established in 2006, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴) is the nation’s only academic center devoted to the study and practice of sports and entertainment safety and security. The NCS4 is partially underwritten by grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and its mission centers around three key pillars – Research, Training and Education, and Outreach. For more information about NCS4, call 601.266.6183 or visit