JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security announced that it has selected EverBank Field as a recipient of its National Sport Safety and Security Facility of Merit Award for the 2011 season.
Earlier this year, the National Football League nominated EverBank Field for the award, which recognizes facilities that have performed above and beyond normal operations to demonstrate an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security and/or have resolved a significant safety/security issue or incident.
The NFL said it nominated EverBank Field 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. The changes included moving from security pat downs to handheld 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."
According to the nomination, SMG implemented the league's security recommendations and made innovative enhancements to ensure a smooth transition to the handheld 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 nomination also states 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 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."
"The Jaguars organization and the fans look to us to provide them with the best possible experience at EverBank Field and that starts with safety," said Larry Wilson, general manager for SMG Jacksonville. "Not only do we want our fans to be safe, we also want them to feel comfortable and respected in an easy and fast security process. The process we achieved in our practice runs last year is what fans can expect from SMG when they come to cheer on the Jaguars this season."
SMG is now sharing its process for seamlessly transitioning from security pat downs to handheld metal detector screenings with the operators at other NFL stadiums, Wilson added.
The award will be presented at the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans on Aug. 1.