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Volume 6 No. 215

Events and Attractions

Security company RIMI Corp. Services believes that pre-planning is key to implement the necessary safety and security measures for large-scale sporting events. With the Sochi Winter Olympics officially starting Friday in a region that has been plagued by terrorist attacks, security has been a major concern for organizers and officials. The U.S.-based company, which has experience providing security at large sporting events, recently signed a partnership with the Int’l Sponsor Council to supply security protection and risk mitigation consultation. While the agreement with the ISC is still a work in progress, its goal is to make sponsors, brands and athletes in the industry more aware of what their needs should be for large events, or when athletes are traveling. RIMI President Bill Bonde told SBD Global, "What we strive to do and what we want to emphasize is to ensure that not only the athletes but also the brands that sponsor these athletes avoid headline risk." Not many things are more damaging for a brand than a security issue involving one of its athletes or events. To limit the risk for such occurrences, RIMI conducts extensive risk and threat evaluations for each individual event. "We have a strong belief in pre-planning. Risk analysis and threat assessment are a big part of what we do. In order to understand what can happen and what the issues are, we do a thorough analysis," Bonde said. In the wake of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings and the bombings in Volgograd, Russia in December, more people are starting to look at security as part of any type of large-scale event. "I think it has to do with the times we live in, and the ability for professional leagues, huge entertainment and athletic events to avoid headline risk," Bonde said. "It gets tougher and tougher with how easy it is for bad guys to disrupt events."

With the first big sporting event of '14, the Super Bowl, happening just days before the start of the Sochi Games, Bonde hopes it increases the need for thorough analysis and security on a broad scope. Looking back at the Super Bowl, he said that the NFL "did a heck of a job" using and coordinating the available resources. And even for Sochi, the ex-Navy SEAL believes the so-called "ring of steel" will hold up. "If [something happens], it will probably be away from the Games, just to get the attention of the media and things like that." A little different is Bonde's assessment for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil this summer. Instead of a terrorist threat, he believes that crime will be a bigger concern for individuals, tourists and athletes. "I’m not saying there’s not going to be a terrorist attack. I’m not a mind reader. I just think crime will be a bigger issue in Brazil than anything else," he said. While security costs at these and other large events have a high price tag, they are worth it in case something would happen. Bonde said, "It costs more to put out a fire than it does to prevent a fire."

A lot of RIMI's expertise, which includes leading security for the FIFA Women's World Cup and Super Bowl, among others, comes from the company's founders. Most of them are former Navy SEALs. They served their country, retired and started several businesses. One of them was RIMI, which was founded in '08. While military background is not a requirement in RIMI's search for personnel, it certainly does not hurt. Bonde: "We are looking for guys who have experience in several different areas, but we are also looking for the mature guys. We are not looking for guys who kick down doors and things like that." RIMI is an internationally operating corporation with its members positioned throughout the U.S. and in places such as Russia, Central America, Africa, the U.K. and several other European locations.

UK Athletics confirmed that Hampden Park in Glasgow will "host the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League," according to the BBC. The event, which will take place July 11-12, will "see some of the world's top athletes compete two weeks before the Commonwealth Games." Hampden has "replaced the Olympic Stadium in London, which is undergoing major refurbishment work." Paris will host the Diamond League meeting on July 5 before "attention switches to the Sainsbury's Glasgow Grand Prix" (BBC, 2/5).

Laureus World Sports Awards Chair Edwin Moses said on Wednesday that the 2014 Awards will be held in Kuala Lumpur on March 26 instead of Rio de Janeiro. The announcement "of the new venue for the 15th edition of the awards, also dubbed the Oscars of sports, was made less than a month after the organizers ended contacting with Rio due to financial constraints" (XINHUA, 2/5). ... Animal rights activists "from around the world are calling for the boycott of September's Incheon Asian Games, while planning to stage street protests against 'bosintang' or dog meat soup." As of Thursday, an "online petition on the website denouncing dog eating in Korea has received 63,997 signatures and the campaign appears to be drawing increasing interest" (KOREA TIMES, 2/6). ... The Association of Surfing Professionals has "declined to confirm whether the sponsors for two of this year's 11 World Championship events have pulled out." Rumors have circulated that Volcom and Oakley have "withdrawn their support of, respectively, the Fiji Pro and Bali Pro." Emails "this week to both companies and the Association of Surfing Professionals have yielded no replies" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/7).