Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stadium security boosted across North America after Boston tragedy


After the horrific bombing scenes at the Boston Marathon on April 15, sports stadiums across North America have been tightening up security to make sure incidents like this aren’t repeated. Most stadiums are intensifying their security efforts and taking extra precautions before sporting events to ensure the safety of fans and teams alike.

One NHL game was postponed, the April 15 contest between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators in Boston and it will reportedly be played on April 28. An NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics was cancelled and because the outcome of the game doesn’t affect the standings it won’t be played at all.

Some stadiums reacted immediately and bomb-sniffing dogs could be seen at the NHL game in Nashville soon after the Boston tragedy took place. In addition, armed police officers were placed in front of the teams’ dugouts at Dodgers Stadium when the Dodgers took on the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately, all professional sporting events across the globe are potential targets for acts of terrorism.

There are some major sporting events coming up in the U.S., such as the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500. The famous horse race will be held in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday May 4 and the auto race takes place on Sunday May 26. Doug Boles, a spokesperson at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said meetings will soon be held to figure out what the best precautions are for race day. He said the Speedway will be prepared for huge crowds and fans should feel safe.

The Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs Racetrack and it usually attracts about 250,000 fans to it. Security there has been increased ever since Osama bin Laden was killed. John Asher of Churchill Downs said he’s in touch with dozens of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials every year as they go over security measures at the racetrack.

Of course, there are major events all over the world and the London Marathon will be held in England on April 21.  The race attracted close to 37,500 participants last year. London security forces have had to deal with numerous acts of terrorism in the past from Middle Eastern groups as well as the IRA. Nick Bitel of the London Marathon said his security team started reviewing its plans as soon as they heard the terrible news from Boston.

Brazil will also have its hands full as the South American nation is set to host soccer’s World Cup in 2014 as well as the Summer Olympic Games in 2016. Organizers said security and safety has always been the top priority for them.

NHL, NBA, MLS, and MLB games are continuing as normal in North America, but fans should expect to be checked when they enter the arenas and stadiums as bags and coats should be closely inspected by security personnel. All of North America’s professional sports leagues expressed shock and disgust at the bombings in Boston and offered their condolences to the victim and their families. Players in the English Premier League wore black armbands to honor those killed and injured and minutes of silence were observed at the soccer games.

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