By: Jesse Davis West August 17, 2017

Sporting events welcome people from all walks of life. But there are certain people who pose a safety risk to fans and players and shouldn’t be allowed to attend live games. A recent CNN article pointed to incidents including an incident at Fenway Park, in which a fan threw a bag of peanuts at a Baltimore Orioles player and directed a racial slur at him. The fan was banned for life.

But how can such bans be enforced? Typically, they aren’t. The reason? Human limitations. Event security professionals can’t possibly recall all the faces and histories of the people trying to enter the stadium. According to CNN, “Banned fans can buy their tickets on the secondary market and disguise their appearance. And ballpark security, faced with a crush of fans streaming through the gates, is much more focused on foiling a potential terrorist attack than on trying to spot a few hooligans.”

But according to CNN, “When it comes to stadium security, there is one failsafe solution: Facial-recognition software.” We agree. Facial recognition can automatically detect when banned fans enter a stadium and alert security professionals instantly. It can even see through disguises, such as hats, scarves, eyeglasses and wigs. NOTE: If you’re curious to learn more about how face recognition can transform event security, check out our 5-Minute Guide to Face Recognition For Event Security.

But CNN is wrong about one thing: it’s not “years away” from being implemented at stadiums. It’s happening right now.

Why It’s Important to Keep Banned Fans Out

There are several reasons that teams might choose to ban fans, including:

  • Displays of racism
  • Putting players in danger
  • Starting fights
  • Stalking players or cheerleaders
  • Media violations
  • Drug use

While the NFL does offer some classes that are designed for banned fans seeking to reapply for admission, most events are simply going to be a lot safer without fans on banned lists ever being able to reenter. The trouble is that fans know that these bans are difficult-to-impossible to enforce, and they don’t take them seriously.

One of the greatest advantages to using biometric surveillance is that it renders the threat of a ban enforceable. Once bans can be enforced, unruly fans are going to be more likely to think twice before engaging in behavior that could lead to their permanent ejection from the stadium.

While the solution was built primarily to help stadiums prevent terrorism, a powerful added bonus is that it can identify banned fans whose photos are enrolled in a database. Best of all, disguises won’t work since face recognition establishes identity using hundreds of locations on an individual face. It’s not fooled by facial hair, hats or glasses. And our event security solution is proven to work well in crowds.

Want to learn more about face recognition? Our 5-Minute Guide to Face Recognition for Event Security will quickly get you up to speed.