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Volume 24 No. 134

Events and Attractions

With the crowd violence erupting at an exhibition between Liga MX teams Club America and Chivas de Guadalajara last week in Las Vegas, the U.S. is "getting its first taste of the highly organized, hierarchical groups that form around soccer teams," according to Tovin Lapan of the LAS VEGAS SUN. Security experts Greg Gillin and Patrick Carr, who work with the EPL, "emphasized the importance of team officials, stadium officials and local governments working together to create a safe environment where troublemakers are held accountable." Event security company Contemporary Services Corp. VP/Training Dane Dodd said, "This kind of spectator violence is unfortunately increasing in all venues. It’s not just at UNLV’s stadium or just with soccer. It’s happening in the NFL, MLB and other sports. Fans have been killed, shot, engaged in nasty fights, pushed over railings. It’s all becoming more commonplace." Dodd said that "in general, officials in charge of stadium security are taking extensive preventive measures, including researching fan clubs, analyzing past incidents of violence and assigning team staff members as liaisons for the fan clubs." Lapan noted Latin Sports, the game’s promoter, "leased Sam Boyd Stadium and Thomas & Mack management, which operates the stadium, was in charge of security." The officials "get an immediate test of their new strategies" for increasing security "as another exhibition soccer game is scheduled for Saturday at Sam Boyd" between Liga MX club Monarcas Morelia and El Salvador club Luis Angel Firpo. The "tightened security will include 100 part-time workers and 50 police officers" for "an expected 3,000 fans" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/11).

: In Las Vegas, Ray Brewer wrote, "Don't judge all soccer fans by what happened last week in Las Vegas. And not just fans in Las Vegas -- worldwide." The crowd violence was "one of the worst black-eyes in our town's sports history." The fans "ruining the soccer experience seem to have one thing in common: They live and die with the outcome of a meaningless soccer game." It is "inaccurate" to think all soccer fans "lack common sense and decency" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 7/11).

New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority President & CEO Wayne Hasenbalg said that a recent law passed in the state gives the organization a "new role, collaborating with other state agencies to attract major sports and entertainment events to all corners of the Garden State, not just the Meadowlands," according to Linda Moss of the Bergen RECORD. Hasenbalg said of the inaugural F1 Grand Prix of America, planned for '14, "We're really close to securing that. It's really looking like it's going to happen. ... When it starts, it will be a 10- to 15-year commitment that New Jersey will have for each of those years." He said that the state also will "host the U.S. Special Olympics" next June in Mercer County. Hasenbalg added that the NJSEA will be "working more closely" with the New Jersey HOF to promote the state. The NJSEA currently only manages Izod Center, and Hasenbalg said that management of the venue "will eventually transfer to a private operator" (Bergen RECORD, 7/12).