SBJ/August 29-September 4, 2011/Opinion

Mitigating fan behavior

I’ve harped on it before (see SportsBusiness Journal, April 18-24, 2011) and I hate to bring it up again, but it’s a subject back in the news: fan behavior affecting fan safety.

If this isn’t a core issue that leagues, teams and venues are working on, then the leadership of these organizations should be questioned. The incidents in San Francisco with 49ers and Raiders fans were the latest ugly examples.

Yes, I get that these may be unique circumstances and not the norm. I know why the unruly are called an aberration. But aberrations make headlines and aberrations are on YouTube, where images of gruesome and frightening fights are played time and again and attached to one’s brand image. Can any association be more damaging?

As someone told me last week when talking about fan behavior: “That’s the reason I stopped taking my daughter to games.” So what’s the real obstacle? Money. Any possible solutions strike directly at a team’s and venue’s bottom line. We’re talking about more alcohol control (lower per caps), far greater security and undercover patrol (more costs), less tolerance (revoking season tickets), training (educating vendors), and segmentation of fan bases (costly rebranding of seating bowls and fan relocation).

It’s easy to ignore this one, but real leaders better lead here or risk the severe consequences.

Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at amadkour@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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