March Madness Risk Planning Starts Early

March 29, 2018

Last year’s NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament was one of the highest attended and most watched games in the event’s history. According to, attendance totaled 153,780 for the games. In the wake of mass shootings and cyber threats, security is paramount for venues hosting large events.

Peter Williams, global product leader of Live Entertainment at Allianz, explained how venues, like the Alamodome in San Antonio, prepare for the risks associated with large events.

He said that two main risks are event cancellation and spectator injuries.

Williams said that a loss at the venue prior to the event, such as a fire, could be catastrophic and lead to cancellation of the event.

“There are contingency plans in place to do that, but that still involves re-ticketing, organizing times, maybe getting players to a different town, television rights, television broadcast times, there’s considerable expense involved in that,” said Williams. “The physical safety, security if you like, is actually one of our main concerns, particularly when you get close to the event.”

Domestic terrorism is another threat a venue prepares for by implementing security measures, such as body and bag searches and by using metal detectors.

The actual security measures taken are actually quite stringent around these events,” Williams added.

He said that planning usually starts as soon as an event location is chosen.

Besides ensuring the venue is protected from hazards, consideration goes into ensuring attendees remain safe. Williams said the venue, itself, usually has considerable experience in handling crowd control and general safety standards around food courts, bathrooms, and the auditorium.

Other types of risks include cyber attacks that can affect payment machines or compromise websites, such as what happened during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

“Nowadays, we have to consider the cyber risk, somebody trying to interfere with, perhaps, ticket sales or payment machines,” said Williams.

The bottom line, said Williams, is that several teams are assigned to address multiple hazards prior to large events. Teams can include event planners, venues, insurers and police. Training and education on trends is offered through a national non-profit organization, the Event Safety Alliance.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.