SBJ/August 27-September 2, 2012/Facilities
Major Southern California sports facilities team up to create new fan code of behavior
Published August 27, 2012, Page 4
|The program started when Rose Bowl officials wanted ideas to improve safety.
The code supplements the programs that each of the participating facilities already has in place for addressing fan behavior and enforcing those policies, said David Simon, president of the council, a group supporting economic development through sports.
The biggest news to come out of this initiative is that for the first time a vast majority of teams and facilities covering a region of 20 million residents sat down together to share best practices, Simon said.
“We got all the venues singing from the same hymn books, which is a first for our area,” he said.
In that sense, the coalition gives added weight to the code, said Lee Zeidman, general manager and senior vice president of Staples Center.
Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said, “At times, we are competitors and rivals, but in this instance, everybody is working together to make the fan experience as enjoyable as possible.”
The program’s roots date to September 2010, six months before the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a Dodger Stadium parking lot. At that time, Rose Bowl officials reached out to sports consultant Jim Steeg, a former NFL executive, to take a close look at what could be done to provide a safer environment for fans attending games in Pasadena. In December, a few months later, two people were stabbed during a brawl in a Rose Bowl parking lot before the USC-UCLA night game.
The Stow incident in March 2011 added “fuel to the fire” for developing a uniform code that could be applied across the board at sports facilities, Steeg said, including Santa Anita Park and Auto Club Speedway.
Two months later, in June 2011, a group of teams and venues, including AEG, owner and operator of Staples Center and Home Depot Center, met for the inaugural Fan Behavior Summit, which drew about 100 people, Simon said.
A task force was formed after the summit with a working group of about 20 members. Together, they developed the new fan code.
The group has not determined how the code will be spelled out to fans at sports events in Southern California. Most likely, there will be signs displayed at arenas and stadiums, with audio and video messages played over loudspeakers and scoreboards, Simon said. How arenas, stadiums and tracks enforce the code and whether they increase security forces is up to the individual buildings, Simon said. To this point, the only real costs involved have been a few thousand dollars tied to the cost of attending last year’s summit, he said.
The group is set to publicly announce the fan code today.