Archive for category Stadium
Last Tuesday, the Miami Heat kicked off their 2012-2013 season with a win against the Boston Celtics. In addition to an opening night victory, there was also a ring ceremony, and the raising of the championship banner – a truly electric night.
The guys weren’t the only ones showing off new bling. American Airlines Arena uncovered some new additions as well. One of the hottest additions debuted was the Hyde Nightclub inside the Heat’s Arena. It’s a 5,000 square foot club with its own separate entrance, multiple bars and lounges, large screen TVs, and a private dining area.
The Hyde in American Airlines Arena is part of a larger initiative to open other Hyde clubs in similar venues. The group behind this effort is sbe, a leading innovator in the hospitality, restaurant, and entertainment industries.
Since we’ve worked with sbe in the past, they consulted us again for this project, and we were happy to outfit them with over 50 stanchions for the club. Congratulations to the Heat and sbe on their many successes!
For more on this story, click here.
We’ve been blogging a lot lately about the strategies and equipment necessary for improving crowd control within stadiums.
Recently, we’ve looked into the EURO 2012 Soccer Championships, the scientific theories behind crowd control, and lessons from Ancient Rome and the Pompeii Ampitheatre. Now we’re turning our attention to the upcoming London Olympics.
In mid June, NBC reported that officials in London had grossly underestimated the number of people likely to come to the city for the games, and as a result, they were forced to up their budget.
According to Olympics minister Hugh Robertson, Britain has decided to add an additional 19 million pounds ($29 million) to their crowd control budget, bringing the total to about 76 million pounds ($117 million). According to Robertson, the money will be used for more ushers, crowd barriers, and pedestrian bridges.
For an event of this magnitude, neither outdoor crowd control equipment, nor riot police standing on their own will be enough. The two must work in tandem, and government officials in London, along with representatives from the International Olympics committee, are aware of this fact and acting accordingly. This is refreshing to see, and we can only hope that other stadium and event representatives will take the same stance and act proactively to decrease the chances of disorder and chaos when large groups are gathered at their own facilities.
While large crowds tend to move in an innately disordered, unreasonable manner, there are methods for determining the actions of large groups of people, and we mustn’t look too far to see why this problem demands attention. In various countries, no matter the sporting event, there are riots, crowd crushes, and stampedes that occur every year. Unfortunately, these accidents are not wholly preventable, but there are preemptive measures that can be taken, and examining theories behind crowd mentality and movement are a good place to start.
Dr Brian Hughes, a biological psychologist at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, said that “one gets a superficial sense of solidarity and well being when present in a crowd. But it can also lead to the individual’s diffusion of responsibility. We are less conscientious. Individuals tend to leave things to other people.”
Speaking on European soccer matches, Dr. Hughes said that “the level of rivalry felt by opposing fans is partly due to a perceived sense of immortality that being part of a club brings. There was a legacy there before you and it will be there after you. So it’s about outlasting your own lifetime. This makes people personally reckless.”
Hughes believes that people leave tasks to other people when they are in a group, and likened it to a group of people passing a homeless person on the streets. He said one is more likely to give the homeless person money if they are alone.
Researchers at the University of Limerick (UL) also did a study on the psychological connections to crowd theory. They found that those who actively engage with the perceived “enemy” will enjoy positive psychological benefits. Professor Orla Muldoon of the UL Department of Psychology explained that people change the way they behave when they know others are watching them, and used bar karaoke as an example of this.
Muldoon also related the drive theory of facilitation which states that some people are able to perform better when surrounded by a large crowd, while others (most people), are only able to perform the simplest of tasks, and as a result, are very reactive in those situations.
Professor Muldoon and Dr. Hughes both believe, as we’ve stated in the past, that any atmosphere which communicates a lack of control leads to anxiety, then panic – and this is how riots escalate. Dr. Hughes asserts that this is why sporting stadiums began numbering their seats, and believes this wasn’t always the case.
In regards to science, many physicists apply the models they use to study the movement of particles, to studying the movement of people in a crowd.
For instance, particles move in lanes unless they encounter some sort of obstacle. Humans are the same. Even on a busy street, we see people walking in lanes – those walking east, those walking west, etc. If there is an obstacle in the street, such as someone stopped to tie their shoes, the flow of the lane is interrupted and a number of other obstructions may occur as a result.
For this reason, stadiums should be sure to leave their walkways wide and clear. Signage and directionals that are easy to read will assure that the crowd is moving in a safe manner, and queuing equipment that keeps people constantly moving will contribute to a safer, more controlled flow among large crowds.
Many of the quotes featured in this post were taken from an article featured in the Irish Times titled “Far from the Madding Crowd.” It is a great article that relates crowd theories to soccer in Ireland, and it helps reinforce all of the things we’ve been blogging about for two years now.
G. Keith Still is a championed expert in crowd control and line management strategies whose resume includes crowd consulting work for events like the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
11 years ago, Still took a walk through Pompeii stadium, the oldest surviving Roman Amphitheater, and he was amazed by what he saw. Although there seems to be a fairly strong presence of Greek and Roman influence in a lot of modern architecture, it’s pretty amazing to think that an expert like Still would believe that this structure built around 70 BC has a lot to teach us about designing a stadium properly.
Of course we all know of the possible disasters that can occur in stadium settings – stampedes, riots, crushes, mosh pits gone wrong, and so on. Sometimes there is little that can be done, but frequently these disasters result solely from a lack of strategy on the part of those responsible for controlling the crowds. This doesn’t always mean riot police either. It often means the people responsible for the the design of the stadium itself and the equipment used within it.
The reason Still was so impressed with Pompeii was largely because of its simplicity. He realized the amphitheater was part of the city’s design – very open and accessible, allowing for easy entrance and exit to and from the city. After all, the stadium sat 30,000 people, which was almost the entire population of the city.
In a more detailed article found on CSO Security and Risk, Scott Berinato outlines a number of major aspects about Pompeii Stadium that exhibit its peerless design for crowd control, and if interested in a further explanation, this article is definitely worth reading. Right now, we’ll give a brief explanation of each of those aspects for a basic understanding:
- Big Bathrooms: In a big space filled with lots of toilets, people are able to move freely in and out, which maintains constant crowd flow.
- Bathrooms and Concessions Outside of Stadium: Keeping bathrooms and concessions outside (but still near) the stadium means people going to eat or use the bathroom will not merge with those moving toward their seats.
- Openness of the Stadium: Not only were stairways and walkways wider at Pompeii, but the seats were twice the size. While we realize this poses a threat to returns and some stadium owners might be unwilling to sacrifice seating space, wider stairways and walkways are most certainly a viable option.
- Bigger Roads and Walkways: More space for walking and driving in and out of the stadium means less jams among cars and groups of people.
- Minimal Corners: Switchback walkways and stairways in modern stadiums produce corners, which in turn cause congestion. A more elliptical shape allows for people to get to the entrance or exit without slowing their pace.
- Limited Travel Options: According to the common crowd management theory of Braess’ paradox, with an increase in options comes a decrease in performance. In Pompeii there were 6 stairways leading in only one direction, and it appeared to work.
- Panic Restriction: Openness and proper communication reduce anxiety, while confinement and confusion produce panic. That’s why an open facility in addition to proper signs and lighting can really help keep a crowd calm and orderly.
When you really think about it – all of this makes perfect sense. Too frequently we ignore lessons from history because we believe we’ve gotten so much smarter and more efficient with the tools coming out of this technological revolution we’re experiencing. No one’s denying that this is true – but these are very simple ideas with even simpler execution opportunities, and G. Keith Still has illustrated that there are definitely procedures worth pulling from our friends of the past.
With the equipment available from LineLogic, the guys running Pompeii would have had an even easier time controlling their crowds. So take a step beyond the rest – go simple and go smart. Think about these basic schemes and get the equipment to accommodate them today!
It’s truly a shame that sporting events across the globe have now become associated with senseless violence and destruction. We’ve seen it happen in countless countries in almost every major sport, and chances are, it will be the same old story in Poland and the Ukraine at the Euro 2012 Soccer Championships.
With recent terrorist attacks in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, not only are crowd and riot control policies under examination, but also counter-terrorism efforts. The security agencies in both of these countries will soon have their hands full, and soccer will ultimately be the last thing on their minds.
A crowd crush actually occurred during a recent match between Poland and France, and as a result, that stadium is under intense scrutiny. The reason this happened? Apparently there were about 7,000 fans trying to gain entry to the Polish stadium an hour or so before the match officially began. Poor communication as to where the ticket-holders were supposed to go led to an enormous gridlock, and as a result, a few fans were trampled.
Stadium officials blamed it on drunkenness and late arrival, but there were four UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) representatives at the match and they commented that they were “horrified” by the poor organization at the stadium.
Although games will not be held at this particular stadium, Poland is already under an international spotlight, and they need to be prepared for what is likely to be a pretty rowdy series of events. The Ukraine must also be ready, as simply holding this giant event will leave them subject to a sort of international surveillance as well.
Security forces in charge of fan safety should really be focusing their energy and attention on threats from outside the host cities, and especially from outside the stadiums. Controlling crowd movement with the proper signage and directionals, and keeping fans away from restricted areas is a sure-fire way to ensure a safer crowd experience within stadiums of any sort.
These types of events are supposed to be fun, and the fact is, there is no foolproof way to keep the hooligans out. But implementation of the appropriate policies coupled with the proper equipment will help guarantee a safer, more enjoyable experience for fans at the Euro 2012 games in June.