SBJ/Aug. 11-17, 2014/Facilities

Chicago’s Andy Frain takes security reins at AT&T Stadium

Don Muret

A 90-year-old Chicago brand with historical ties to Wrigley Field has taken over crowd management at another high-profile sports venue: AT&T Stadium.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Andy Frain Services to a five-year deal covering both game-day and 24-hour security in Arlington. The agreement took effect July 1 and extends to the Cowboys’ headquarters at Valley Ranch, said Steve Zito, the firm’s president.

Andy Frain is poised to work its first Cowboys game Saturday against the Ravens. Its first stadium event was a Jay Z and Beyoncé concert on July 22.

Andy Frain won the Cowboys’ business after co-owner Dane Vontobel first discussed a potential relationship with the NFL club a few years ago. The firm was certified in 2006 under the federal Safety Act, awarded by the Department of Homeland Security, and the federal government’s seal of approval drove the Cowboys’ decision to change vendors, team spokesman Brett Daniels said. 

In 2009, the NFL itself was certified under the Safety Act, protecting the league from being sued as a result of a terrorist attack at any one of its 31 facilities. Since that time, MetLife Stadium (where the New York Giants and Jets moved in 2010) has also been certified, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

The Cowboys are taking the same steps for certification as a team. “We feel like it’s the right thing to do,” Daniels said. 

Andy Frain Services replaces Platinum Event Services, the Cowboys’ security firm since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009.

The Cowboys are Andy Frain’s second NFL account after the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams. Last week, the company started screening fans entering Busch Stadium in tandem with the MLB Cardinals’ security force.

Over the past few years, Andy Frain has picked up multiple accounts in MLB, college football, NASCAR and the PGA. Founded in 1924 in Chicago, it’s best known for the old blue blazers and Navy-style officers hats worn by ushers for 50 years at Wrigley Field and other Chicago sports venues.

The Cubs took crowd management in-house several years ago, but the Andy Frain brand lives on in sports without the formal uniforms. The Aurora, Ill.-based company has about 50 accounts, making it the sports industry’s second-largest security firm behind CSC, said Andy Frain co-owner Dave Clayton.

As for returning to Wrigley, one of its original accounts, Andy Frain and Cubs officials have discussed that possibility as part of the team’s $375 million ballpark renovation. But to this point, Clayton said those talks have not advanced beyond casual conversations.

> PANTHER VISION: Bank of America Stadium’s new and larger video boards will serve as a social media showcase for fans wishing to display their photographs in-stadium through Twitter.

The Panthers and sponsor AT&T will showcase fans’ photos on new, larger video boards.
Photo by: HUNTLEY PATON

The Carolina Panthers signed a deal with The Famous Group to use its Vixi technology to display photos sent from fans’ mobile devices to the team through the hashtag #panthervision. A team employee monitoring those images sends them to the two boards in a promotion sponsored by AT&T.

“We’ve got these big, beautiful new boards and what we’ve heard most from our fans over the years is they want more content and less sponsorship,” said Scott Paul, the Panthers’ director of stadium operations.“But we’ve got to have a good mix. We saw [the technology] at league meetings and thought it was a good opportunity to use the new boards.”

Elsewhere, the Rams use The Famous Group’s system in St. Louis, and it also was part of social media displays for the Super Bowl in February at MetLife Stadium.

In Charlotte, the Panthers plan to use their new upper-level ribbon board in the corners of the 400 level to display team-approved Twitter messages without photographs. The team is handling that piece of technology on its own, Paul said.

In other Panthers news, the team has signed Papa John’s and Salsarita’s as new food sponsors. Their pizza and nachos will be served by Delaware North Sportservice, the stadium’s concessionaire.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.

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