Keeping an eye on things while fans watch the match

Andrea Sorri

This past year has been a busy one for sports fans. The Euro Cup soccer tournament in France, the Summer Olympics in Brazil and the usual assortment of “games of the century” and championships across North America means there were a lot of stadiums filled with a lot of people.

And while the fans were keeping their eyes on the games, most stadiums today use sophisticated security system to keep an eye on the crowds to make the experience a safer and in many case more enjoyable experience.

Balancing security with a comfort and convenience

For me, I want to feel safe when I got to a big game or concert, especially if I have my family in tow. Unruly fans, gate jumpers and other buffoonery that detracts from the event – and poses a threat to other fans or even players and performers – is a risk that need not be tolerated. So it’s reassuring that stadiums and venues have taken strides to strike a balance between keeping thousands of people safe at a live event while still allowing them to have an enjoyable experience.

Stadiums have really stepped up their vigilance in reducing incidents – inside and outside the venues. By reducing incidents, they in turn improve the perception of security, which ensures a better spectator experience.

They are relying on some key technology advances to monitor fans and the physical venue, including:

  • Early identification of actual or potential incidents, better situational awareness, and coordinated responses
  • Access to high-quality recordings that can be used as evidence in investigations
  • Efficient interpretation of any incoming data to the operation center

Image usability is key

For stadiums and venues, image usability is key. It´s about making sure cameras have what it takes to capture the images that meet stadium needs. More specifically, it means ensuring that video footage is fit for the purpose that the system is designed for, focusing on the imaging feature that solves specific needs, and delivering usable video regardless of the conditions in the surveillance scene – which often time can be pretty rough (as any diehard fan who has sat through rain, snow and win can attest to).

By using an advanced network surveillance system, stadium operators can monitor and react to a variety of situations and keep an eye on virtually every corner of their facilities, inside and out. That’s a big advantage for security, as well as safety (for example, identifying a maintenance issue that could pose a risk in real time).

Before, during and after the match

Prior to the event security systems help identify and stop troublemakers before they enter the arena, and alert stadium staff to people or objects in restricted areas. Facial recognition technology can help prevent undesirables from entering the event. The German professional football club FC Union Berlin is one example of this in action.

During the event security personnel need an overview of an entire venue combined with the ability to zoom in and examine the smallest details in a scene. Systems with 4K Ultra HD quality deliver the clarity they need to identify critical details, down to team patch on each fan’s jersey to make sure he hasn’t wandered too far into enemy territory.

After the event, surveillance systems make it easy to quickly and effectively search for and find high-definition video for forensic purposes. For example, the operators of the famous PalaWhirlpool indoor sports arena in Varese, Italy use network cameras and digital storage to be able to archive surveillance footage for future use and forensic work.

In many jurisdictions, public venues such as stadiums have legal requirements to provide video surveillance. In the case of the National Training Center of the Slovak Football Association in Poprad, Slovakia, the monitored area and its immediate surrounding legally required a certain level of definition. The facility operator took that a step further and increased definition to 5x the required level, which allows better identification of people – and they were able to do that with fewer cameras thanks to a networked solution.

As an added benefit, the Slovakian training center also use its security system to connect to an information board and large screen for visitors. At the same time, it can also be used within the training process, when moving cameras can be directed at specific parts of the playing area to record training or monitor maintenance when there are no matches. Similarly, athletes in Sweden are benefitting from networked video surveillance camera to improve their performances.

Here at Axis our video surveillance systems have even been used down to the youth level and we’re proud of our involvement with the famous Little League World Series that draws young baseball players from around the world to the US for the annual August tradition.

As with the games on the field, safety is a big part of sports for spectators, too. So when I head out to the big game, I am happy to know that somebody will be watching for trouble while I focus on helping my team win.


Read more about Axis solutions for stadiums and venues.