NEW YORK (CBS SPORTS) – In the wake of the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon last week, the NFL announced it would increase security measures for the 2013 NFL Draft. On Tuesday, the league announced those new measures would be in effect for the annual event that takes place Thursday through Sunday.
And the measures jibe with what Jim Reese, a former Delta Force officer and CEO of TigerSwan — a company that handles private security for events, told CBS Sports the NFL should do in order to increase the security. “Compared to the Boston Marathon, the NFL Draft has fewer access points,” Reese said. “It makes security easier to manage, but the crowds waiting in line outside the event become the number one vulnerability.”
The NFL made managing the crowds waiting in line a priority. Typically the line outside Radio City Music Hall is long and slow; the NFL is opening the doors earlier than usual and letting fans in at 5:30 p.m.
But there’s an extra wrinkle added: Fans must obtain a wristband on Wednesday, which will be good for a ticket they’ll receive on Thursday. (Those can be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesday beginning at 9:00 p.m.) Anyone who gets a wristband will be registered and must provide contact info. It’s a smart move because it actually provides an additional barrier to the process while likely streamlining it.
The NFL will offer the same process for Friday. Wristbands for Friday can be picked up on Thursday; the line for tickets opens at 3:30 p.m. with doors opening on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.
Getting in to Saturday’s event is just a first-come, first-served basis; if you can sit there for eight hours while teams make a lot of selections you’ve probably never heard of, good for you.
It’s an unwieldy process, but one that should help the NFL manage security. As Reese pointed out, the NFL Draft isn’t remotely close to the Boston Marathon in terms of being a “soft target” — Reese actually qualified the draft as a “semi-soft target.”
“The NFL Draft would be considered a semi-soft target because its limited access is easier to secure, as opposed to the Boston Marathon, which was considered a soft target,” Reese said.
That’s a result of secure access points and the NFL’s doing precisely what Reese prescribed, by making sure to “minimize risk at every access point.”
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