The NFL’s 2017-18 season kicked off last week, and fans are excited about their favorite team’s chances to play in the Super Bowl—one of the most super-hyped happenings in the U.S. that draws world attention and attendance. Whether you view it as THE football event of the year or just another excuse for a party, the big game has to be one of THE biggest security challenges for any host city. And a costly one to boot.
Beyond jaw-dropping, security costs for the last several Super Bowls continue to grow. Santa Clara, Calif., home of the 2016 Super Bowl, reported a $3.5 million security tab. The City of Houston hosted last year’s Super Bowl, estimating security costs would be $5.5-$6.5 million, plus another $1.6 million for the Harris County-owned stadium.
No doubt Minneapolis, host city for Super Bowl LII, has as sharp an eye on its security budget as it has on security procedures. Since the home of the new state-of-the-art U.S. Bank stadium last hosted XXVI in 1992, terrorism has jolted the world out of its pre- 9/11/01 naiveté. Unfortunately, our collection of lessons learned continues to grow—from catastrophic events like those in Paris and at the Boston Marathon as well as thwarted terrorist plots targeting air, train, and subway transportation.
The weapon of choice is most frequently involves explosives, and terrorists are creative, continually searching for new ways to foil screeners. That’s why DHS, TSA, and airports around the world continue to evolve security checkpoint procedures and test new detection devices. Thank goodness for undeterred American ingenuity and technology innovation.
Relating our discussion back to the Super Bowl, a crowd of this magnitude offers terrorists a dream opportunity for disrupting Western society and inflicting harm and destruction. Consider the attack at Brussels Airport, which was effective because terrorists had access to crowds in an open, unsecured area. This scenario can’t help but cause grave concern for large entertainment venues.
While Super Bowl LII security will be vigilant about unattended objects and vehicles, we wonder if adding a security checkpoint at U.S. Bank Stadium is being considered to screen for hidden explosives. Or perhaps a ban on electronics larger than a cellphone…or at least a special line to screen them for explosives. While TSA screening lines can be exasperating, imagine how much more challenging it would be to herd more than 66,000 people through arena entrances in an efficient way.
Minneapolis, speak to us. What new security measures might you be adopting for SB LII? Readers, please share your suggestions.