National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security e-newsletter | September 24, 2021

Cybersecurity Webinar Series Announced

The NCS⁴ is kicking off a free webinar series on Cybersecurity next month.

In this webinar series, the NCS⁴ partners with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the NCS⁴'s Technology Alliance to discuss recommendations and best practices for cybersecurity and mitigating risk.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which provides the public with a trustworthy source for reporting information on cyber incidents, received 791,790 complaints for all types of internet crime—a record number—from the American public in 2020, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion. This represents a 69 percent increase in total complaints from 2019. With a large number of fans, communities, and organizations heavily invested in sporting events, venues have become an ideal target for cybercrime. Cybercriminals are very attuned to global sporting events and take advantage of the spectators’ and industries’ reliance on technology. These damaging attacks often lead to financial losses, information theft, and reputation damage.

The first webinar, An Overview of Cybersecurity Threats and Best Practices, features panelists Scott Breor, CISA's Associate Director of Office of Security Programs, and Mark McIntyre, Microsoft Corporations's Senior Director/Chief Security Advisor, Security Solutions Area. In this session, panelists will discuss cyber threats and the unified work necessary to strengthen the security, resilience, and workforce of the cyber ecosystem at sport and special event venues and infrastructure. Panelists will also identify best practices and recommendations for maintaining cyber hygiene and prioritizing risks. Reserve your spot now!

Welcome New Training Manager, Jonathan Ruffin

Jonathan Ruffin is a training manager providing oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery.

Before joining NCS⁴, Ruffin served as Director of Internal Operations and Facilities at East Carolina University. In this role, he oversaw daily maintenance and management of multiple athletic venues and was the primary game manager for multiple sports. Prior to that, he was Director of Facilities and Events Management at the University of Louisiana Monroe. During his time in athletics, Ruffin has been part of several conference/regional tournaments and various on-campus special events.

Ruffin received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Sports Management with an emphasis in Safety and Security from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Please say hello when you see him at one of our events. Welcome to the team, Jonathan!

Now Scheduling Select DHS/FEMA-Funded Training Courses

The NCS⁴ is currently offering four safety and security courses in face-to-face format. Each course is designed to be interactive and allow individuals to become more confident in their ability to identify, prevent, and manage incidents. The key principles that individuals will learn range from risk management, evacuation messaging, threat prioritization, and communication. Each class is being presented in a face-to-face format that requires 8 hours each day for two consecutive days.

You can learn more about each of these courses by visiting the NCS⁴ website or by clicking on one of the following courses below:

These courses represent a cooperative effort between The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Security and Safety (USM/NCS⁴) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center (TEEX/NERRTC), a member of The Texas A&M University System.

If you are interested in attending or hosting a training course, please email us at NCS4train@usm.edu.

Are You In? We Saved You a Seat.

Time is closing in on the conference, and we want to see you there!

Register now and join us for the 12th Annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition – our first in-person event since the pandemic began. The conference is set with a full exhibit hall, new technologies, a packed agenda, breakouts, lots of networking, and more! We are so excited to get together with friends and colleagues to reconnect, reflect, and inspire.

Mark Campana, Live Nation Concerts’ Chief Operating Officer, and Chief James E. Craig, former head of the Detroit Police Department and current gubernatorial candidate for Michigan, kick off the opening general session with their keynotes. Campana will inform attendees about “The Changing Entertainment Landscape.” Chief Craig will speak on leadership during challenging times.

General sessions cover broad topics with panel discussions relevant to sports safety and security professionals in today’s ever-changing landscape, while breakout sessions allow participants to engage with panelists and attendees on key issues.

General sessions include:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A New Lens on Safety and Security in Your Organization
  • Negligent Security Litigation – Preparing for the Unexpected
  • Integrating Cyber and Physical Security: An NFL Perspective
  • DHS SAFETY Act: Lessons Learned From the Evolving Landscape
  • Security Challenges as We Return to Play
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Best Practices for Managing Security Projects and Stakeholder Relationships

Attendees choose two breakout sessions from the following topics with content ranging from new technologies to communication, crisis intervention, and more:

  • Breaking Barriers: The New Technologies Transforming Event and Venue Safety
  • Communicating in a Crisis: Are You Ready?
  • Enhancing Levels of Awareness Through Exceptional Focus, Performance, and Control in Extreme Situations
  • Intro to Crisis Intervention and De-Escalation Tactics
  • Thought-Provoking Security Program Continuity Considerations: Development, Evolution, and Continuum

In addition to keynote speakers, an awards luncheon, interactive panel discussions, and breakout sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to explore emerging technologies and network with peers during the conference. A social reception planned for the event's first evening allows practitioners, industry partners, and exhibitors to gather in the Exhibit Hall to network with friends and colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

Details about what’s in store for attendees, the entire agenda, and how to register are all available on the website. So, mark your calendar for November 9-10 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Make plans and register now!

NCS⁴ Connect members, please contact Sara Priebe at sara.priebe@usm.edu to request the discount code.

The NCS⁴ staff is tracking the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation. Our current plan is to follow Marriott guidelines which can be found here. Additionally, you can see what Marriott is doing to keep event-goers safe during the pandemic here. More detailed information will be provided to conference attendees as we get closer to the event.

Check out the agenda, register for the conference, and stay posted for updates! We hope to see you in Phoenix to Reconnect, Reflect, and Inspire.

Nine Individuals to Receive Professional of the Year Award

A total of nine professionals will be recognized for their leadership in addressing safety and security issues during the National Conference. The Professional of the Year Award recognizes a member of management in the field that has, over the past year, demonstrated outstanding leadership in addressing safety/security issues. In addition to the enhanced safety and security of their venue, the recipient's contributions have set an example for others to follow. The award is sponsored by CSA360 Software, a complete software platform for security and crowd management operations.

“What a stellar group of professionals we are honoring this year. And there is no greater honor than being recognized by your peers for the work being conducted on a daily basis to ensure the safety and security of all,” said Dr. Stacey A. Hall, NCS⁴ Executive Director and Professor of Sport Management. “These individuals make a difference in our industry and we look forward to acknowledging their contributions to the field.”

Each league or organization selects the criteria and makes the determination as to who will be recognized. Individuals being recognized include:

  • Ben Rolens, Katy ISD (High School)
  • Drew Pittman, Baylor University (Collegiate)
  • Byron Hatch, SEC (Collegiate)
  • JP Hayslip, Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
  • Brandon Flynn, Tampa Sports Authority (NFL)
  • Jose Pico, Miami FC (MLS)
  • Salvatore DeAngelis, Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
  • Jody Young, Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
  • Mike Garrity, Little Rock Marathon (Marathon)

These award recipients and more will be recognized at the annual Awards Luncheon at the conference. Please join us in congratulating them for their achievements.

Golden Eagle Award Finalists Chosen

The Golden Eagle Award recognizes excellence in system integration, architecture, engineering and/or construction (A/E/C) specifically related to the safety and security of spectators, property, and infrastructure of spectator event facilities. The Golden Eagle Award considers critical design and functionality elements that enable and promote the safety and security of all stakeholders in an efficient and effective manner. The award is jointly sponsored by NCS⁴ along with SDM Magazine and Security Magazine.

Finalists for the Golden Eagle Award were recently chosen to present their case studies at the conference by a team of subject matter experts (SMEs). The SMEs reviewed all of the submissions and scored each of the case studies on the following criteria:

  • Solution relevance to the sport industry
  • Solution effectiveness in solving the identified problem(s)
  • Solution contribution to the balance of fan experience and safety/security
  • Solution utilization of creativity, innovation, and technology in a way that leads the industry forward

The top three Golden Eagle Award submissions are:

  • Drones at Your Game: How UKY Balances Security and Fan Experience, 911 Security
  • Tournament of Roses Game and Parade, Meridian Rapid Defense Group
  • Crowley ISD Sports Complex, VLK Architects, Inc.

All presentations will take place at the conference on Tuesday, Nov. 9 between 3:15-4:15 p.m., and the winner will be announced at the Awards Luncheon the following day. Join us!

Are you ready to take your career to the next level? NCS⁴ offers applicants the opportunity to sit for the CSSP exam at the conference with no testing fee!

The CSSP examination will be offered to eligible candidates on Tuesday, November 9, during the 12th Annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition. To be considered eligible to take the exam, individuals must complete and submit their CSSP Application, including the application fee, by September 1, 2021, to allow enough time for the NCS⁴ Certification Department to collect and process all supporting documentation. Approved candidates will receive a notification of test eligibility before arriving at the conference. Find out more about CSSP and how to register for the exam now.

Thank You to our Sponsors & Exhibitors

In addition to the exhibitors below, Technology Showcase Sponsors 24/7 Software, Axis Communications, Johnson Controls, Patriot One Technologies, and Robotic Assistance Devices, Inc., will exhibit their technologies in the foyer between the general session hall and the exhibit hall.

Please contact Sara.Priebe@usm.edu for information on exhibiting and sponsoring.

Pilot on New Crowd Management Course Conducted Last Week

The NCS⁴ recently completed the first of three pilots for the new Crowd Management for Sports and Special Events course. The first pilot was held in Fort Collins, Colorado, with 25 participants from public safety, venue management, and event operations. These sessions allow NCS⁴ to validate course content, gather participant feedback, and ensure the curriculum successfully addresses industry gaps prior to making it available to practitioners sometime next year. Thank you to the Fort Collins community for hosting the session.

NCS⁴ Staffer Quoted in Sports Illustrated

Dr. Stacey Hall gave her thoughts on venue staffing issues facing the sports industry in Sports Illustrated online. Check it out by clicking the button below.

ICYMI: Industry Report

The NCS⁴ recently published an industry report on Spectator Perceptions of Safety and Security Practices and Technologies.

The purpose of this survey was to gauge sport spectators’ perceptions of safety and security practices, including those related to COVID-19, as the sports industry prepares to return to full capacity stadiums and arenas. Understanding spectators’ perceptions of safety and security practices, their sense of safety, and related technologies while attending events can help venue and event directors plan accordingly to ensure the optimal spectator experience. Click the button to view the report.


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