Integrators and manufacturers who execute security projects in sporting venues now have an award for the work they do — the Golden Eagle Award. The award, sponsored by SDM, is from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).

The University of Southern Mississippi is home to the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and the Golden Eagles. This award recognizes excellence in the safety and security aspects of sports venues by their designers, builders and integrators. The award will honor the best project among all nominees each year. The naming of the Golden Eagle Award also recognizes the commitment and work that the University of Southern Mississippi does in contributing to safety and security in the global spectator sports industry.

The security projects from four entrants are presented on these pages. The two finalists’ case studies will be presented to attendees of the 2016 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition, during an afternoon session on July 12, 2016, to be held in Phoenix, Ariz. The audience then will select one of them as the fourth annual Golden Eagle Award winner. See “More Online” on page 95 for how to learn the winner.



NCS4 Golden Eagle Award Nominee – Genetec

Sports venue: BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, N.C.

As the new home to the Charlotte Knights, a Triple-A minor-league baseball team, BB&T Ballpark is a state-of-the-art baseball facility located in Charlotte, N.C. With a price tag of $55 million, the new urban stadium has nearly sold out its 10,200-seat capacity during every game since opening its doors in April 2014.

Before construction workers broke ground, BB&T Ballpark management contacted veteran security consultant Rick Sousa, president of Vertex Technology Consultants, to detail the specifications for the new security system. The stadium’s aim was to promote an open and airy feel where guests could move freely throughout the stadium, while keeping an eye on strategic locations and limiting access to more sensitive areas such as ballpark management offices, loading docks and cash-handling rooms.

After the project went out to bid, Security101, a trusted and highly knowledgeable security system integrator, delivered the winning proposal for Genetec Security Center. The unified security platform unifies Omnicast IP video surveillance, Synergis access control and AutoVu automatic license plate recognition systems, with other third-party systems and plug-ins.

The intuitive and unified platform provides a bird’s-eye view of the stadium.

To keep guests, VIPs, media and players safe on game day, BB&T Ballpark strategically installed 50 network cameras from Axis Communications inside and outside the stadium. Various doors within the facility have been equipped with HID Global iClass readers and controllers, to secure access to ballpark personnel-only areas. All of these devices are viewed and managed within Security Center, through the Genetec Omnicast video surveillance system and Synergis access control system.

Bosch Intrusion Detection panels have also been unified within Security Center, providing BB&T Ballpark administrators with a global view of its security environment. Intrusion panel alarms and access-denied events are all synced with video from nearby cameras, so officers can quickly see what’s happening and respond.

“The system has been so easy to use and that was very important to us,” says Dan Rajkowski, chief operations officer at BB&T Ballpark. “We have the ability to quickly playback video, pull access control reports, activate and deactivate employee badges, and monitor any intrusion events; and it’s all right there in one intuitive application. We don’t have to juggle between different monitors — that has made our team very efficient.”

BB&T Ballpark has been able to use the video to identify instances of employee theft and disgruntled fans.

“The video system has made our job so much easier by providing us with eyes in the sky,” says Mark McKinnon, director of operations at BB&T Ballpark. “We can quickly identify issues around the stadium and dispatch security officers or customer service personnel to intervene. We also make sure foul balls haven’t caused any injuries that might need immediate medical intervention. We are far more responsive, and that helps us ensure a positive guest experience.”

With the Synergis access control system, BB&T ballpark has been able to program cardholder groups and assign specific access control permissions according to an individual’s role at the stadium. This ensures only those with authority have access rights to critical areas such as the cash handling room. Door schedules can also be easily modified for game days, where certain areas are unlocked and manned to allow for easier facility access to media personnel and players.

Security Center has exceeded BB&T ballpark’s expectations in terms of its intuitive functionalities, and the solution’s open architecture will allow for the seamless addition of more cameras and features as the stadium continues to identify more needs. 



NCS4 Golden Eagle Award Nominee – Hitachi Data Systems Federal Corporation With MorphoTrak and 10-2 Technologies

Sports venue: Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco

Hitachi Data Systems Federal Corporation, in partnership with MorphoTrak and 10-2 Technologies, developed a solution that incorporates advanced facial recognition and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) detection in a cloud-based visualization application, Hitachi Visualization Suite (HVS). This solution was developed for the San Francisco 49ers and demonstrated at Levi’s Stadium in 2015 to mitigate emerging threat vectors. The solution substantially enhances public safety by reducing response times and improving detection, and is especially effective for large public venues. It is a scalable solution developed from open source technologies and may be readily customized and expanded to meet multiple use cases.

The central component is the Hitachi Visualization Suite (HVS), which provides a cloud-based, dynamic user interface employed to visualize interactions with the UAS detection and facial recognition capabilities. HVS accepts inputs from a variety of systems, including disparate Video Management System (VMS) platforms, visualizing events and alerts against building floorplans, aerial views, and mapped camera and sensor locations. HVS provides integration that is crucial for rapid response and improved situational awareness during an emergency or crisis. HVS also integrates multiple data layers, including traffic, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alerts, radar, and incident management systems, including public safety assets that could be captured within an ESRI mapping system. These layers are displayed alongside real-time alert data and live video feeds on a map — displayed as a road map, terrain, satellite or aerial views.

The drone detection component was developed by 10-2 Technologies, a Hitachi Data Systems partner, in 2015. This solution provides the ability to identify the presence of a UAS and associated controller within a set perimeter of a venue. The system provides positive identification of key factors that determine threat potential, including flight time, payload capability, and range. It also supports capture of key identifiers that aid in positive identification of any device functioning on a wireless network, which may be used to support subsequent investigative activities. Deployed to complement the detection capability, 10-2 furnished technology from integrator DRT/Boeing to provide interdiction capabilities to disable, deter and suppress unauthorized commercial drones. Despite the sensitivity of the RF detection and suppression systems, they were demonstrated to have no impact on current RF infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi and cellular voice and data service.

MorphoTrak’s Argus automated video screening solution provides integrated facial recognition and alerting. Argus is used by security personnel to analyze live video, screen for and identify individuals in a watch list or enrollment database, and provide alerts when positive matches are made. This capability supports identification of “blacklist” individuals for access control. “Blacklists” may include persons trespassed from prior events or identified by law enforcement as a threat to the venue. In addition, this technology also provides “whitelist” capabilities to identify people who belong in an area, or who are VIPs that require additional services. When coupled with drone detection, an identity can be correlated to a drone controller, providing adjudication support for potential threats and improving the speed and accuracy of response by law enforcement or security personnel.

In deploying this solution as an effective demonstration of capability, the Hitachi team achieved what it believes are several firsts in U.S. sporting history, including the first integration of ISS 24/7 Incident Management System via open API with a third-party system and the first commercial deployment of drone suppression capability for a national sporting event at Super Bowl 50. 



NCS4 Golden Eagle Award Nominee – Arecont Vision

Sports venue: Regenboogstadion Stadium, Waregem, Belgium

Regenboogstadion Stadium is home to S.V. Zulte Waregem, a Belgian professional soccer club based in Waregem, West Flanders. Zulte Waregem (real fans still call it “Essevee”) is a club with ambition. The popular stadium was completely demolished; only the stands next to the ponds remained standing and were renovated. However, from a practical and financial perspective this had to be done in stages and in accordance with a strict roadmap. Zulte Waregem’s new stand was officially opened for the game against K.A.A. Gent on Nov. 28, 2014. The stand behind the goal has room for 2,150 Essevee fans, and the new visitors stand in the bend can accommodate approximately 975 supporters. The stand was built in just less than four months.

“Dissuasion is the best way to combat spectator violence and vandalism,” says Erik Oudendijk, Benelux regional sales manager for Arecont Vision. “A person who knows that he will be identified will think twice before doing something stupid, and we can guarantee that the culprit will be identified. After all, he is being filmed by one of Arecont Vision’s 5-megapixel IP cameras. Eleven cameras suffice to cover every seat in the entire stadium (even allowing face recognition), including the necessary overlap between the visual fields of the cameras. Thanks to the high resolution of our cameras, we are able to record up to 1,000 spectators with each camera.”

The high resolution of the images not only makes it possible to zoom in to detect faces, but also avoids overexposure or images that are too dark, if part of the stand is in the sunlight and part of it is in the shade in a single shot.

In the multi-functional stadium, there also will be room for a restaurant, modern fan shop, fitness center, hotel, bowling alley, themed café, offices, commercial space, and more. “In addition to the 11 5-megapixel IP cameras covering the stands and the other 18 5-megapixel cameras scattered around the stadium, there will be around 50 to 60 more cameras of different types spread over the entire property,” says Sven Philips, dealer account manager at wholesaler Optima Networks, a specialized distributor of Arecont Vision

“There will also be cameras monitoring access roads, car parks, entrances, lounges, etc. Indeed, camera surveillance will be implemented as an important part of an overall safety plan.… The recordings are stored at Zulte Waregem until a few days after the game, after which they are transferred to a data center where they remain available for six months. In this way, storage space is freed up for the next event.”

To decide on camera type and quantity, Oudendijk and Philips met with Sam Lietaert of Campro Camerabewaking & Alarmsystemen, installation contractors with offices in Drongen and Blankenberge, Belgium.

“Choosing the megapixel IP cameras has had a significant impact on installation costs,” Oudendijk says. “The high resolution meant that we needed far fewer cameras than with analog cameras, which meant that it was much quicker to install the cameras. We also needed less cabling, fewer brackets, less setup time, and so on. Thus, a small additional investment in high-performance cameras can ultimately lead to a saving on total installation cost.

“Also, keep in mind that the security cameras are usually not installed in the most easily accessible places. At Zulte Waregem, the 11 cameras are installed at the bottom of the two main stands. You can also save time because of the remote focus function that obviates the need for focusing at the camera location. It is the combination of all the advantages of our IP cameras that results in ease of installation, operational dependability and reliability,” Oudendijk says. 



NCS4 Golden Eagle Award Nominee – Axis Communications

Sports venue: United Center, Chicago

The 960,000 square foot United Center (UC) is home to both the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. In addition to hosting NHL and NBA home games, the United Center serves as the venue for numerous concerts and other sporting events, and even hosted the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Located on a 46-acre parcel west of the Chicago Loop, the arena is the largest in the United States in physical size, though not in capacity. The United Center has drawn more than 20 million visitors since opening in 1994, and ensuring the safety of those visiting the arena is of utmost importance.

UC Expansion: A new facility will house Bulls, Blackhawks, Levy Restaurants and United Center employees, as well as a new Blackhawks and Bulls retail store. The location planned for the new 190,000-square-foot building is the current United Center Parking.

Advocate Center (Chicago Bulls): The Bulls’ new practice facility is adjacent to their home arena, the United Center on Chicago’s West Side. The main level houses two full-size basketball courts, expanded locker rooms with hydrotherapy pools, a video room, coaches’ offices, a weight room, a media room and, in the players’ lounge, the first NBA-installed Gatorade Sports Fuel Bar. The second floor has a green roof terrace, executive offices, conference rooms and a cardio room. A cutting-edge IP video surveillance system plays a large part in helping the stadium and practice facility security team monitor crowd control, maintain public safety, and stay alert for loss prevention issues in this high-traffic facility.

Axis worked with systems integrator Convergint Technologies and the UC Security staff to identify optimal camera locations and crowd overview throughout the arena. Close attention was paid to camera mounting, aesthetics, and area coverage, which has helped the team expedite investigations and speedily resolve issues, including theft. The installation of wide angle lens and network cameras with built-in IR illumination helped address several challenges, specifically in and around the restaurant and food service areas, perimeter egress and the lower concourse area, where lighting can be challenging.

Axis solutions that are currently installed include WDR, and Lightfinder technology. The United Center has plans to install additional cameras that will feature video analytics capabilities. Over the next year the arena will also be utilizing Axis’ Zipstream technology to help reduce bandwidth and storage costs. Currently testing is underway on thermal imaging technologies to be implemented in a variety of critical areas and applications. Axis’ Q6000 also will be incorporated to increase parking lot coverage and provide more detail of activity.

Increased camera coverage has helped reduce the amount of video review time for incidents that occur in and around the stadium concourse. Additional cameras in the new expansion area will extend to include perimeter coverage and provide an excellent view of patrons in and around the stadium. 



More Online

At the National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix, the case studies of the two finalists will be presented to conference attendees. The audience then will select one of them as the fourth annual Golden Eagle Award winner, which will be announced on July 13, 2016. SDMwill announce the winner on its facebook page at If you like SDMin print, please “like” us on facebook, too, and learn which company was chosen as the fourth Golden Eagle Award from NCS4, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security.