Recent high profile incidents of fan violence have raised concerns about fan safety at major sporting events in the United States. (See USA Today article.) Teams and leagues are scurrying to beef up their “crowd management” and “crowd control” plans. The focus of those plans needs to be on alcohol.

Fans ultimately must be responsible for their conduct. They need to recognize the difference between being a passionate fan and being an abusive menace. That said, alcohol is by far the biggest problem when it comes to fan safety at stadiums and arenas. The vast majority of these incidents involve alcohol abuse. In that regard, the league offices and franchise owners have culpability along with fans. If you, as a pro sports franchise owner, want the revenue from alcohol sales, you have the responsibility to make sure it doesn’t lead to safety issues and fan violence. The same goes for franchises that allow alcohol consumption as part of tailgating parties in their parking lots. If you as a franchise allow alcohol at tailgate parties, you have the responsibility to monitor it, keep parking lots secure, and to refuse admission to the stadium or arena to anyone who is obviously intoxicated. League commissioners must make it very clear to franchise owners that a strong policy regarding alcohol consumption and fan safety must be in place and strictly enforced.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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