Skip to content

4 Lessons Stadium Managers Can Learn From the Sports Business Awards

, , | May 26, 2015 | By

With the conclusion of Sports Business Journal’s Sports Business Awards on May 20th, we feel validated.

You might be thinking:

What do the Sports Business Awards have to do with us?

Well, if you were one of the nominees for Sports Facility of the Year – you already know the answer.

Besides being incredible partners of ours, AT&T Stadium, Levi’s Stadium, McLane Stadium, Staples Center, and University of Phoenix Stadium all share two distinct qualities.

What are these two qualities? They’ve all implemented both Text Communication and an Incident Management System at their facility.

(Disclaimer: Each of these facilities use our Incident Management and Text Communication systems. However, that’s not the topic we’re here to discuss.)

It’s critical to understand the tremendous value these types of systems offer along with the positive impact they have on:

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Guest Experience


If you read our articles often, you know we always strive to provide you with the most relevant and purposeful information.

Our goal is for you to be a top-notch, professional stadium manager. Today’s no different.

We’re confident that if you asked Levi’s Stadium – the winners of this year’s prestigious awards (Congrats!) – they’d tell you implementing a Text Communication and an Incident Management System is a fundamental component to the success of their operation.

Here’s why…

4 Common Practices of Winning Stadium Managers

It’s no coincidence each of these properties made the list for Sports Facility of the Year.

Here’s the thing:

We want you to be the best, so it’s not a bad idea to gain insight from the best, is it?

What are the common denominators of these winning sports facilities?

  1. A unified command structure is in place.
  2. Outlined procedures and protocols-to-handle.
  3. Use of progressive technology to bring emergency management and crisis plans to life.
  4. Guest experience is the ultimate goal.

A unified command structure is in place.

Creating a foundation for your team to communicate is the first step. You need to build an infrastructure.

You should create a command center for your front-of-house staff and your back-of-house staff. Of course they will communicate, but this will channel communication effectively.

Here’s how we recommend you organize it:

Create a Command Center for Front-of-House Staff:

This is where you’ll control the whole show on game day. You and your front-of-house staff will all work in a location that’ll give a visual of the entire stadium bowl – full awareness.

Your front-of-house department representatives include:

  • Police
  • Fire Rescue
  • Event Security
  • Parking Operations
  • Front-of-House Dispatcher

It’s important that the front-of-house dispatcher monitor a single radio channel for incoming communications.

This proven method reduces radio traffic, allowing for all representatives in the command center to receive any calls-for-service and incident details from a central source.

Every department representative needs to have the ability to view and manage their own department’s incident management dispatch queue within the command center.

All incidents coming into your system, and their associated details, should be viewable and manageable by all departments, simultaneously.

Segmenting dispatch screens will allow your reps to focus on their incidents while the central dispatcher can maintain focus on the overall event.

Create a Command Center for Back-of-House Staff:

The back-of-house command center is set up in a separate location to mitigate confusion for departments, enhancing effective communication.

With a similar setup, your back-of-house command center will also include its own central dispatcher who monitors a single radio channel for all back of house incoming communications.

The back of house department representatives include:

  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Engineering/Facility Maintenance
  • Housekeeping
  • Concessions
  • Back-of-House Dispatcher

With two command centers you have the ability to create incident records for ‘Back-of-House’ departments and ‘Front-of-House’ incidents effortlessly into your incident management system.

Once you separate these dispatch channels, you remove all communication barriers that will affect your incident management process.

Outlined procedures and protocols-to-handle.

We’d love to show you the kitchen sink, but the following examples of game day procedures below are ones we want to bring attention to.

Here are more than a few good ones you could put in place immediately.

Event or Game Day

  1. Upon determining that weather conditions threaten the safety of patrons and participants at an event, your Command Post operator will contact the Manager on Duty and/or the Incident Management Team and the Event Promoter (if time permits) to advise accordingly.
  2. The Command Post will advise the police department and event security to prepare to assist patrons to move under shelter or to evacuate.

Move Your Patrons under Shelter

  1. A public announcement will inform the patrons of the impending situation and their option to leave the venue.
  2. Patrons will be advised of safe areas to seek shelter in the venue should such areas be available.

Use this Evacuation Order

A public announcement will notify patrons that a report of pending weather problems requires the event be canceled.

  1. Upon notice of evacuation, all security, ushers, maintenance, police, and fire rescue personnel shall go to their assigned evacuation posts.
  2. All food and merchandise vendors shall close their stands, secure their inventory and lock their cash drawers. Upon stand closure, all vendors shall exit the venue to a specific location and assemble for headcount.

Station Event Staffing and Security Personnel at Gates

  1. Proceed to assigned gates as if the event were about to end, and open the gates. If a gate key is not available, one can be obtained from the event staff supervisor.
  2. Ensure that all gates are open. All turnstiles should be closed.
  3. Direct patrons out of the venue and make sure that patrons do not re-enter the venue.

Ushers Stationed at the Concourse

  1. Position themselves near each exit from the seating areas as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing patrons out of the venue to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Upon being relieved, reassemble with supervisor at a specific location for headcount. Attendance will be taken.

Ushers Stationed at Ramps and Elevators

  1. Position themselves at each exit to the ramps as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing patrons out of the venue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Calmly advise exiting patrons that the escalators will not be working during an evacuation. The ramps must be used.

Ushers Stationed in Seating Areas

  1. Respond to the front of your section as if the event has ended.
  2. Direct patrons out of their seating area toward the nearest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  3. Assist the handicapped.
  4. Advise any handicapped in your area that in case of an evacuation, the elevators will not be in service.

Event Staffing and Security Stationed on the Field

  1. Assist the police department with escorting officials from the field.
  2. Secure all playing field entrances to ground level tunnel.
  3. Ensure that no one is allowed to re-enter the playing field except authorized personnel.
  4. Upon all personnel and officials exiting the venue, and being relieved, reassemble with your supervisor for headcount.

Parking Operations

  1. Parking operations should prepare to open all exit gates as if event has ended.
  2. Parking operations should stand by for directives from the command post concerning blocking off gate(s) and sections of the venue perimeter road for use by emergency vehicles.
  3. Upon all spectator vehicles leaving the venue, parking operations will reassemble with supervisors for headcount.

Put these procedures in place and your guests will immediately recognize your professionalism. They’ll also feel safe at your facility. How’s that for peace of mind?

Use of progressive technology to bring emergency management and crisis plans to life.

We want to be clear…Although each of these facilities use our solutions, the true commonality is that they each use both Text Communication and an Incident Management System to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

These two systems provide stadium managers with the best possible way to execute their incident management process while simultaneously communicating with their guests.

Text Communication helps you mitigate incidents as they occur.

You might already know:

The value of text communication is indefinite for your stadium.

When you implement one of these systems, you instantly empower your guests to ensure everyone’s experience is as good as you strive for.

You also provide your team with the appropriate tools to quickly react to guests.

Whether it’s:

“There’s a wet spill in the vomitory near Section 212”


“Allergic reaction in Section 409 Row 6”.


They can handle incidents or issues with superior effectiveness.

You’ve allowed your guests and team to mitigate incidents, especially now that you’ve turned on real-time reporting.

Combine that with an incident management system…and well…now you’re on the way to becoming a Sports Facility of the Year!

Incident Management Systems provide you with real-time reporting for multiple people and locations so nothing gets missed.

This is the ultimate solution for ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. How?

It automates your processes.

Allergic reaction? Don’t stress it. An automatic notification will be sent to all need-to-know staff.

It gets better:

These systems are extremely easy to implement. Your staff will be trained up in no time.

Whether it’s part-time or full-time staff, an incident management system provides the flexibility you need to make everyone’s job easier.

All incidents are reported and managed within a central repository. They’re also managed in real time, just like Text Communication.

It gets better:

Multiple people from multiple departments throughout your stadium can simultaneously access the solution. How’s that for peace of mind?

With an incident management system you’ll be able to:

  • Completely, once and for all, eliminate pen and paper.
  • Automate processes and protocols-to-handle from your emergency and/or crisis management plan.

Simply stated, these solutions make your job easier. Now, who would argue against that?

Guest experience is the ultimate goal.

Professional stadium managers know, enhancing the guest experience is always the goal.

You can ensure your guests receive noteworthy service all the time by employing these five guest services expectations:

G = Greet sincerely with eye contact
U = Understand the guest’s needs
E = Engage yourself in helping guests promptly
S = Smile and be positive throughout
T = Thank guests at every opportunity

From the time they enter the parking lots until they make their final exodus, always deliver service with a “Wow!”

Your team’s ability to deliver superior customer service is the final seal on your guests’ happiness and your peace of mind.

Over to You

Once again, we’d like to congratulate the nominees for this year’s Sports Business Awards and Levi’s Stadium for taking home the trophy for Sports Facility of the Year.

We’d also like to congratulate you for taking the next step in becoming a winning stadium manager.

Will you be putting these practices in place at your stadium this year?

Download our free eBook about incident management software


Related Blog Posts

Have You Done This to Your Emergency Management Plan?

Have You Done This to Your Emergency Management Plan?

May 26, 2015 5 min read
Ready to Revamp Your Emergency Management Plan?
Emergency Management

Ready to Revamp Your Emergency Management Plan?

May 26, 2015 5 min read
How to Revamp Your Emergency Management Plan

How to Revamp Your Emergency Management Plan

May 26, 2015 5 min read
View All Posts