Access Control at Stadiums and Large Venues

The additional features in many of today’s access control systems can help maximize your school’s event security operations.

This article originally ran in our sister publication Security Sales & Integration.

Whether it’s a college football stadium in Los Angeles, the new arena on the Las Vegas Strip or a convention hall in Philadelphia, credentialing of the venue’s part- and full-time employees is an important security practice.

While the large numbers of individuals this involves can be overwhelming, the process ensures the highest level of safety and security for people, assets and venues in general.

To meet this requirement, organizations rely on today’s advanced access control systems. These not only provide the necessary control that prevents individuals from roaming freely throughout a facility but also the ability to monitor these venues and share data across multiple systems.

The most advanced access control systems offer functionality to streamline and increase the effectiveness of a venue’s credentialing process, falling into three main categories that we’ll take a look at below.

Integrated Systems

Access control systems have become a vital part of a more robust, highly integrated enterprise-level system that provides users with a single platform for monitoring the state of a venue and performing other key functions.

The interconnectivity also improves system accuracy, responsiveness and automation – all of which add up to stronger, more effective access and overall security, including valuable insight, evaluation and performance of policies and procedures.

With integration, end users also benefit from the combined strengths of security modalities including video surveillance, access control and other systems, which improve safety and security using the emerging model of predictive analytics.

With all the data that is readily available, incidents can be detected more quickly, and information can be correlated and prioritized to allow incident response personnel to take faster and more effective action.

Based on predetermined parameters and data related to previous incidents, predictive analysis can help identify potential threats or risks.

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In these environments, manually performing the tasks needed to accomplish effective and efficient credentialing is simply not an option. Thankfully, with today’s advanced technologies it also isn’t necessary.

Users can collect and share data across multiple systems, feeding that information into a central command center and using it to automate formerly manual functions. This frees staff to focus on their primary responsibilities. Compared to managing multiple systems and solutions, automation streamlines processes like badging, monitoring and more.

Today’s large venues such as stadiums and convention centers must implement advanced access control systems that include the ability to monitor various areas and share data across multiple systems.

For example, when creating access credentials, an organization can integrate the HR and access systems to automatically populate and program identity card data fields, rather than having an employee type that information into both systems – a time-consuming and error-prone process.


Timely, seamless communication takes on even greater significance for venues with 500,000 square feet or more to protect and monitor.

Because mobile devices have become ubiquitous, mobile technology is taking an increasing role in critical security functions, including credentialing, remote operations and alerts. Arena employees are spread out across a large area before, during and after an event, so they need an easy way to report incidents or potential breaches.

Many access systems are designed with mobile apps that make it possible for authorized personnel to remotely activate crisis modes, trigger lockdowns, activate or deactivate access cardholders, provide information to responders and more.

Mobile credentialing can free users from having to carry physical credentials like ID badges, access cards or tokens, reducing costs for the organization. Some access readers use Bluetooth technology to transform a user’s smartphone into their access credential.

These solutions also reduce the potential for cards or badges to be lost, while eliminating delays in activating, deactivating, distributing or collecting these physical credentials.

By capitalizing on the benefits delivered by the advanced features and functionality of today’s access control and credentialing systems, organizations can enhance the security and reduce the potential for risk at entertainment facilities for staff, visitors, performers, players, coaches and more.

Robert Laughlin is president of Galaxy Control Systems.

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