JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 14, 2012 — EverBank Field is kicking off the 2012-2013 Jaguars season with an award-winning management team. SMG’s stadium and staff preparations for Friday’s pre-season home opener proved successful as fans were ushered in and out of the stadium with ease. As the operations team continues to ready for the onset of the Jaguars regular season, fans can rest assured they will be cheering on the team in one of the safest stadiums in the NFL.
As pictured above, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4) presented EverBank Field with the NCS4 Facility of Merit Award on Aug. 1. The awards ceremony was held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Doug Thornton, SMG’s senior vice president of stadiums and arenas, accepted the award on behalf of EverBank Field.
Earlier this year, the National Football League nominated EverBank Field for the award, which recognizes facilities that demonstrate an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security and/or resolved a significant safety/security issue or incident during the 2011 season.
NCS4’s Director, Dr. Lou Marciani, presented the award to SMG. Marciani is known as one of the top security professionals in the nation and “Security” magazine named him as one of the most influential people in security in 2011.
“It is a great honor for the National Football League to recognize the significant safety and security achievements from the staff at EverBank Field,” said Marciani. “The League has recognized the staff for performing above and beyond normal operations in enhancing safety and security for their fans.”
The NFL nominated EverBank Field for the award because of the proactive approach its guest services team – led by facility manager SMG and supported by the Jaguars organization, Safe Management and Contemporary Security Corporation – took to implementing changes in screening protocols announced in 2011. These changes included moving from security pat downs to hand-held metal detector screenings.
“SMG and the entire guest services team quickly demonstrated their commitment to making the transition to metal detector screening a success,” said Jeff Miller, vice president and chief security officer for the NFL. “They have made, and continue to make, the safety of their fans a top priority while delivering a quality fan experience.”
The NFL and the NCS4 recognized SMG for implementing the League’s security recommendations and for innovative enhancements it made to ensure a smooth transition to the hand-held metal detectors at EverBank Field. This included: using express lanes for expedited screening; having screeners at entry lanes wear numbered high-visibility vests so that fans clearly know which screening location to approach; placing supermarket-style plastic bag dispensers at each gate for use by fans to hold metal objects while passing though security; and placing signage in entry areas to inform fans of the metal detector screening process.
The NFL also said that EverBank Field exceeded the League average for percentage of metal detector usage at all gates. Illustrating the effectiveness of these efforts, screeners discovered and confiscated 35 knives at the Jan. 1, 2012 game.
“The safety and security of our fans is our first concern,” said Bill Prescott, chief financial officer for the Jacksonville Jaguars. “I commend and applaud the entire EverBank Field game-day team for this recognition. Everyone involved helped make EverBank Field one of the top facilities in the NFL for safety. The implementation of these new security measures has helped us all be prepared for a safe and secure 2012 season and an excellent game-day experience for all of our fans.”
“We know how important the team and the stadium are to the Jacksonville community. We’re here to support the team, to maintain the excellent condition of EverBank Field, and to make sure Jaguars fans feel safe and comfortable at every game,” said Larry Wilson, general manager for SMG Jacksonville.
SMG is now sharing its process for seamlessly transitioning from security pat downs to hand-held metal detector screenings with the operators at other NFL stadiums, Wilson added.