Monday, October 15, 2012

How hard is it to clear security for a Panthers home game?

Besides the on-field problems the 1-4 Carolina Panthers have had, some of their fans have also had trouble getting into their seats for kickoff. It has not been uncommon so far this season for Bank of America Stadium to have 10,000-20,000 empty seats when the game begins, only to have most of those seats filled in by the time the first quarter ends.

I received the following email from a reader in Charlotte named Keith regarding the Panthers’ last home game against Seattle, which kicked off at 4:05 p.m. on Oct.7th.

“The security to get in the stadium is horrible,” wrote Keith, who did not want his last name published. “It took my wife and I 30 minutes to get through the North Gate at 3:35 p.m. We missed the opening kickoff. This is why the crowd is so late arriving. The staff working the gate acted if they were getting paid by the hour. No sense of urgency at all and in fact I saw three or four yellow-jacket folks standing around talking. I can tell you that I will not go through that again.”

The Panthers acknowledge the new NFL-mandated security policies -- which include every fan being screened by a handheld metal-detecting wand and/or a pat-down -- have slowed things down. The team now recommends that any fans going to the 1 p.m. home game Sunday vs. Dallas arrive 30 minutes earlier to the stadium than they normally would (this replaces the team's previous recommendation to arrive 15 minutes earlier).

“We understand the writer’s frustration,” said Charlie Dayton, a Panther spokesman.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. Sunday, two hours before kickoff. But if tradition holds, the majority of the crowd will attempt to enter the stadium in the final 30 minutes before kickoff and mostly through the North gate.

“Overall, it is a late-arriving crowd, with nearly 70 percent of the crowd still coming in the last half hour,” Dayton said. “If we can lower that percentage during the last half hour, it should improve the process. Until 12 p.m., there are not any lines.”

So consider this your public-service announcement. If you really want to see the opening kickoff, you need to get to the stadium earlier than you think you should.

Also, if you have a comment about an experience you've had this season while attempting to get into a Panther game -- either positive or negative -- please post it below.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about this..slap some TV's outside so we can see the game while we wait in line..problem fixed.

George Hanson said...

"The Panthers acknowledge the new NFL-mandated security policies -- which include every fan being screened by a handheld metal-detecting wand and/or a pat-down --"

What is the reason for this new policy? What are they trying to prevent? Was there an incident that precipitated this policy?

Is this terrorism related?

Frankly, it's absurd. It's complete overkill. The people coming to a Panther game just are not a threat.

I cannot fathom any explanation for a level of security for attending a lousy football game that rivals the security for boarding an airliner.

Is anyone even going to ask the NFL these questions? Who are they trying to catch? What are they trying to keep out?

"The Smile" SUCKS said...

Keep playing like a bunch of girls and you will have nothing to worry about in a couple of weeks, there will be no lines at all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment about the employees having no sense of urgency. VERY irritating to finally get to the front of the line and see these people joking around and not paying attention. This is also the case in a number of the concession stands. I have communicated this via email to the Panthers, and have received prompt replies from people that acted like they cared, but it hasn't improved. I guess you get what you pay for. It's not worth all of the aggravation for this product they put on the field. I gave my tickets away for the Seahawks game, and am considering doing the same this week-end. Not what I was expecting 2 months ago.

Anonymous said...

I've been to two games. I go in an hour before and watch the team warm up. I'm through the line and in the stadium in less than 5 minutes. Do your tailgating early!

Anonymous said...

Went through a nightmare entrance for the Giants game. I am done with the NFL. The 70 inch TV wins!

yellow jacket said...

as an Employee of those Yellow jacket ppl, we certainly understand your concern and it frustrates us that SOOO Many fans wait till the last 45mins to enter the stadium therefore making the wait time for everyone even longer. As the artical stated, there are no lines between 11-12:15 so do yourself and US a favor.. GET THERE EARLIER!

Anonymous said...

Good for the Panthers...if people are to go 30 mins earlier than they normally would, and that means heading into the stadium at about 12pm for a 1:05 kickoff, that is a LOT more revenue they can make. Maybe it helps pay for the upgrades.

Anonymous said...

They want to keep us from watching the game at home. This new security check is exactly the thing why sitting at home looks soo much more enjoyable. I'd rather lay in my underwear with friends at my house than be corralled like animals fighting each other to get into the stadium. Furthermore, like the previous poster said you miss kickoff and there are no tvs insight. This is exactly why NFL games aren't selling out. Its not a fun experience.

Anonymous said...

I have arrived anywhere from 35-45 minutes before kick off to all the home games and have yet to see the opening kickoff to any of them. I would bet you need to be there an hour beforehand to ensure you're in there in time. I agree the late “surge” of folks doesn’t help, but you know folks are going to maximize time outside of the stadium (me included) as not to spend money inside with stadium concession prices. Kind of puts a crimp on tailgating activities to have to get there that early.

Anonymous said...

Just win!!

Anonymous said...

You think its bad, go to Fed Ex Field...just getting to to front gate is a challenge with all the high dollar parking. There is no, zero, crowd control and the luxury cars, many with diplomatic tags, just bump you to get you to move for them...isainity..

greg luehrs said...

one main issue is we only have 3 entrances, most stadiums have 4-8.
i took my son to the saints game. got in line after kickoff at 115, didnt get to my seats until 2. takes away from at game experience because you already get there mad from waiting.

Anonymous said...

If you get into the stadium before 12 can you buy Jerry"s beer.

Anonymous said...

I agree, lets get their earlier so we can pay $7 for a beer instead of $7 for a six pack.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Panthers hired the TSA folks from the airport.

It really won't matter soon enough, unless there is improvement on the field. Pathetic play - lack of attendance. Maybe a boycott will wake Big Cat out of his coma.

As for the gate situation, it's never been great, but now it's much worse. Based on how the Panthers organization takes care of fixing problems, don't expect this to get fixed either.

George Hanson said...

Jerry Richardson is doing an admirable job of killing the golden goose.

I cannot think of a single are of his business in which he is making his core customer happy.

Just unreal.

Jerry, hire a bunch more people to get your customers through security faster, it will pay for itself in concession sales.

You know, we never thought the Hornets would end up being abandoned by the fans -- but it happened.

It could happen again to you, Jerry.

Anonymous said...

Here’s an idea– Half price beers until 12:30 or 12:45; that will get them in early!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Giants game and arrived in the stadium area; i.e. trying to get in line for a gate 45min before kickoff. The "lines" were awful, the staff was very slow and the crowds were pushy. If the Panthers contintue to do this type of security and bad play; they will quickly dicover that folks no longer are willing to stand in line to see an inferior product. Management can control the outside problems and should start working on it.

DRC said...

I go to the south gate and I try to be there 30 to 45 minutes before kick off. It takes 20 -30 minutes to get in.

wsh said...

I attended the Seattle game and attempted to enter through the south gate. Having arrived about 35 minutes before kickoff, I didn't get to my seats until 3 minutes into the first quarter. This is unacceptable. It's football, not air travel. So don't tell me I need to be than an hour ahead of time. It doesn't apply to everyone, but are you seriously going to ask a bunch of Southerners to skip out of church even earlier?

FIRST, there needs to be clearer signage and enforcement of that signage. The "with bags" line moved considerably faster than the "no bags" line, so it became a free-for-all with people trying to get into whatever line happened to be moving faster at that time.

SECOND, the no-bags line should be considerably larger to give those people an advantage.

THIRD, TVs on the outside so we can see what's going on. Or at least have speakers so we can listen to the radio broadcast.

FOURTH, I think the league/team should seriously consider investing in walk-through metal detectors. People know how to go through airports, so that could actually speed things up than the silly individual pat downs.

Aside from the sub-par product, the hassle in getting to the game really deters from the overall experience.

James Edgar said...

Everyone says, "GET THERE EARLIER!!!!!!" I agree with that in principle. But why do 2/3 of the fans wait until 30 minutes before kickoff to go in? That's easy. Why pay $9 for a cup of beer when you can drink one outside for 1/3 that cost? Why pay $4 for a cup of Pepsi when you can drink one of your own outside for less than $2? If I can bring a portable grill and make 2 dogs each for me and my 3 friends for about $4, why would I go inside and pay $3 for each one?

Messrs Richardson, Morrison, Dayton and Hurney - you want a home field advantage with a stadium completely full of screaming fans at kickoff? Stop the concession stand price gouging and you might see more butts in the seats long before kickoff.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're seated near the North Gate, DON'T GO THERE.

Go to the any of the other 3, they're not as crowded.

CosmikDebris said...

Pretty sure fewer and fewer people will have to worry about this as your season drags on.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea some other organizations have implemented, offer pregame concession pricing. Won't bring everyone in early but will siphon some of the late arrivers who want to save a buck or two on a god and a beer.

Anonymous said...

Face it. The Panthers want fans in their seats 30 to 45 minutes or even an hour early for one reason - money. The longer they can keep you "captive" in the stadium the more money you are likely to spend on their ridiculously priced concessions. There is absolutely no reason why I should have to go through security 45 minutes before kickoff in order to be assured I don't miss the start of the game. But that is where we are. Just one more reason to stay home and watch good teams play on NFL Red Zone.

Anonymous said...

Very simple....3 times more people screening, the faster the line moves

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is stupid enough to voluntarily submit to this foolish paranoid security theater at sports venues, amusement parks, and airports deserves to be treated like potential terrorists.

If only we could get people as passionate about the entire constitution as they are about the Second Amendment, this would be a better country.

Russ Ferguson said...

First of all, it's all pat downs. They are not worried about security, they are worried about you buying alcohol and snacks from the stadium (at outrageous prices) instead of bringing them into the game.

Paying outrageous amounts for a ticket (on top of a PSL in many circumstances) and then getting patted down to get in the game is ridiculous. They have forgotten there is a customer in the NFL.

Next, going slow is in their best interest. The earlier you have to get in the game, the more money you have to spend. It's a racquet.

I used to go to every game. I have not been to a single game this season. If you are going to make me arrive early and pat me down, you better win. You aren't.

Anonymous said...

So I gather if we are writing about security and those issues that the observer has run out of "How great Cam is" stories.

David said...

I have to agree about the yellow jacketed "wanders". For every game this year it appears the screening lines have two "wanders". The problem is that the one in front rarely screens anyone. Just watch on Sunday and you will see what I mean.
Either get better organized or get more wands. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculously long....much worse than any other year...was in Tampa for the opener.....didn't take anywhere near as long...at 1-4, they need to get it moving faster!

Anonymous said...

The security is supposedly because of the alleged terrorist threat in this country. Part of the Homeland Security fear that the government uses to herd the type of sheep who get their fulfillment from sitting at a football game for four hours. None of them pause to think that if a terrorist really wanted to do some damage, he would just drop his backpack in the midst of the 5,000 people packed together trying to get in the stadium. We have willingly given up the simplest of rights in the name of security overkill--that would have no effect in the face of real terrorism.

Anonymous said...

I've been going to games for years and it is horrible this season. There is no excuse for how S-L-O-W the line moves. For the Panthers to blame the fans is just laughable. I've attended concerts and events for decades in cities all over the world. Some organizations are capable of managing crowd logistics. Others are not. Don't blame the fans, Panthers. Get your act together!! I'm not bringing my kids through that nonsense again.

Anonymous said...

I use to work at BOFA Stadium, the gates open at 11:00am, four hour before the game starts but the fans would rather tailgate until 1:00pm instead of getting in there seats and being ready to pump the team up. This has been a problem since 96. It's not the security trust me...GO Panther!!!!

tarhoosier said...

The people who work this security detail should find a job that has some dignity instead of frisking and feeling football fans

Anonymous said...

The problem is not the security/wanding it is the fact that people do not listen. I am one of the "Yellow Jacket" wearing people and I almost loose my voice telling people to "TAKE EVERYTHING OUT OF YOUR POCKETS". It will go quicker. We have multiple people saying this, so you should hear this at least 2 times before you get to me. When you get to me I wand you and you still say I have my phone in my pocket. What does "EVERYTHING" mean to you. Phones, money (yes change too), gum, cigarette and whatever else you have needs to come out. If we can get this to happen then yes it will go quicker.

Anonymous said...

If they keep losing those wait times will drop significantly...

people are sheep said...

I've been to every game for the past 10 years. There is a way in that has minimal wait. I leave my tailgate at 1245 and never miss kickoff. People follow lines like sheep. I'm not sharing my secret but it's pretty easy.

John said...

#1 - everybody keeps telling you not to wait till the last minute to try to enter the stadium.
#2 - they keep telling people to not all try to use the North entrance.
#3 - just like at the airport you have to take EVERYTHING out of your pockets and be prepared for the checkpoint.
#4 - all you morons complaining about the security would be among the first to SUE if they didn't do it and something happened!
#5 - if you people spent half as much energy planning as you do complaining, there wouldn't be a problem!

Take responsibility for your own choices and decisions! We get enough of the Nanny State mentality from Washington, California and Mayor Bloomberg in NYC!

Kerry said...

Let's all try to video the entrance and post it on youtube to really show those who feel everything is beautiful in its own way, IT AIN'T...

Walt said...

For the Seahawks game we arrived at the North entrance (per note on our tickets) about 3:10. Took over 30 minutes to get through security. It was a real zoo. Got to my seat in plenty of time but did not enjoy the hassle at all.

Unknown said...

Was at both Preseason and Saints games. Basically, missed all of first quarters. I know that we need to leave earlier, but I don't think I will, even going forward. Why? I refuse to pay the high prices for concessions, and have more fun tailgating and catching up with friends and family. I go to as many games as possible every year and even live 4 blocks from the stadium. Tailgating is ALWAYS exciting year end and out. The product on the field has basically been unwatchable for 70 to 80% of the time the team has been here. Look, the Panthers suck as usual and I am fine with that. I have come to terms that we will continue to under-achieve because that is what our place in the NFL is. Every sport needs the proverbial middle of the road team where the fans are unknowingly influenced to believing "this is our year" campaigns when at the core of it all is money. Again, I am OK with that because at the core of why I continue to allow myself year in and year out to believe the campaigns is, I want to be entertained. In conclusion, I will be standing in line cold/hot, wet/dry, whatever it may be... but I will surely have done everything I wanted to do before I go watch low budget, uninspired, mediocre, different year-same result Panther games. Signed, The Honest Panther Fan

Anonymous said...

Yes, all 3 games have been a complete nightmare. I brought this to the attention of 610AM as well so I'm glad Scott has made a point to write an article. Everyone makes a big deal about fans being in their seats at the start but because of understaffed and lacadasical staff its impossible. I have been coming to games for years and it has never been this bad. You can't entirely blame it on the new rules either.

Anonymous said...

OKAY, Most of you posters here are probably the ones who don't know when to cheer; or don't cheer at all! Smart Fans know to make noise when our defense is on the field-&- Be Quiet when the offense comes out. INSTEAD; Idiot panther fans scream like hail when Cam comes out and a lineman or TE of ours jumps offside!...If they sell beer cheaper from 12-1pm then we have a drunker crowd, that is not the answer, a better answer is to have buckets for the customers to place their stuff in. I had to hold my stuff while pulling my stuff out, then dropping some, and still had to have other areas checked! Then there was still areas they did not check! They are not thourough anyway, which makes me feel unsafe. THere needs to be Police outside after the game when all those drunken fans are out and want to have fun bothering others. Having Cam has brought about band wagon fans who don't have PSL's but can get tickets! Read between the lines. Soon we will be like Philly or Oakland, the thugs will be out or waiting on fans to exit to all the hidden parking areas where stick ups can be made. Beer should stop after Halftime is over, then concessions can have specials during the 3rd qtr. to keep sober fans in the game instead of them leaving early!!! Just ask ME anything, I have not missed a game, and have experienced all the crazy changes, I get no extra incentives than anybody else. I'm also very angry about paying full price for Pre-Season games! I am The Catman HOF 2004, Panthers Super Fan!

Anonymous said...

These idiots are patting down children!!! I'm lucky I didn't get tasered or pepper sprayed when they separated my son and me to frisk him. I cussed them for all they are worth and they had to literally hold me from putting my hands on them. That is crossing the line. We know theses guys are just part time and don't have to have a degree for this job or tsa agent, so I don't know why I'm suppose to feel all warm and fuzzy while you search everyday people. The people that these guys are looking for are not coming in the front door, they're coming in the back!

Anonymous said...

Arrive early, watch pregame warm-ups in comfort with nobody around. Enjoy the scene instead of panic pushing and shoving at the gate 30min before kick.

Anonymous said...

The crowd has always been slow to get inside... idiots! If you'll go in early, you'll be there for kickoff. Put down your barbeque sandwich & budweiser 15 minutes earlier than normal and go inside and watch as the team warms up. I've never once not been in my seat at kickoff!

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the Panthers front office should be forced to read these comments. If they truly, and I mean truly, want to improve the fan experience and keep people coming back, they have to do better at the gate. And don't tell people they have to give up on tailgating fun to get in there early and sit. Hire a few more security checkers and case closed. Shame on you NFL and shame on you Panthers. You only have eight games a year and you can't even get those right!

Anonymous said...

BUCKETS to put your stuff in are the answer. They have those at some colleges' basketball games and the lines move 5 times faster. Seeing yellow jackets standing around is infuriating. They start losing interest after a couple of hours, so give those guys a break before the big rush. Also, allow smoking again, even if it's only e-cigarettes and I'll get there earlier. The PA announcer says at every game that the lines are shorter at the East Gate.

Anonymous said...

You are all fools for subjecting yourself and your kids to this intrusion on your basic privacy and rights.

Your kid is in danger standing in those lines. What happens when some clown does something to create a panic? You are going to get trampled. Good luck.

If this is about security, then it is still a massive fail. All they have done is herd 5000 potential victims into one small confined space at each gate. Thats no security at all.

I sold my psl's to some other sucker when these fake security measures went in place. Best decision ever, cause the security has gotten worse overkill, and the onfield product comical. Won't ever attend another game until these things change.

Seriously what is going to happen when someone causes a mass panic at the gate? Think about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm an original PSL owner and I can't remember a time when the organization was less focused on its fans. The comments on this board by the "yellow jackets" say it all. Fans irritate them, sometimes arrive only 30 minutes before the game and even forget to take cell phones out of their pockets!! Their jobs would be so much better if only they could get rid of those pesky fans!!! I won't even go into the incompetence of the staff in the concession stands. I know they're volunteers, but there should be some basic level of competence required. Add in a poor team and a weak economy, and you have a business on the verge of a serious downturn. See the stands in Tampa last week?

Anonymous said...

I'm an original PSL owner and I can't remember a time when the organization was less focused on its fans. The comments on this board by the "yellow jackets" say it all. Fans irritate them, sometimes arrive only 30 minutes before the game and even forget to take cell phones out of their pockets!! Their jobs would be so much better if only they could get rid of those pesky fans!!! I won't even go into the incompetence of the staff in the concession stands. I know they're volunteers, but there should be some basic level of competence required. Add in a poor team and a weak economy, and you have a business on the verge of a serious downturn. See the stands in Tampa last week?

Anonymous said...

If i didnt need a bank loan to purchase food & Beer i might come in earlier. But seriously get some order to the lines and a sense of urgency. Remember we are the paying public.

Anonymous said...

to anon 7:55pm you used to work at the stadium and you think that 11am is 4 hours before kickoff? no wonder the employees at the stadium are clueless

Anonymous said...

CatMan you are the man! Catman is right. Please people, please learn these three things

1- Shut the heck up when we have the ball, especially near the goaline

2- make noise when we are on defense, but don't wait until the other team breaks the huddle

3- don't do the wave again...ever

Kconrad84 said...

Hmmm - let's see. Drink a couple of free beers in the parking lot or come in early and spend $7 a piece in the stadium....?

Matt said...

Arrived at 315 for Seahawks game, missed kickoff. Out of control. Need more staff, need more lines, hopefully New entrances is in the Reno plans.

Wayne Cross said...

I agree with other posters that these extra security measures have nothing to do with additional security and everything to do with extra revenue for the team.

I absolutely believe the changes this year are meant only to discourage bringing in mini-bottles and to get people in the stadium earlier with the hope that some measurable number will purchase one more beer at inflated stadium prices. Imagine if 10 - 20,000 people buy one ,more beer than they have in previous years.

I have been a PSL owner since hte beginnning and have never had to wait in line like this year.

One more thing...I have an artificial hip made of titanium. It has to be about the size and density of a gun. Yet after entering every game except one of the preseason games (don't get me started on that) I have not one time set off the wand that was waved over it. I don't even think they are working. It is all about intimidating people who might be inclined to senak in mini-bottles, and to get us there intime to buy anoither beer at $8.00 a pop.

Anonymous said...

Arrive at the game late and then leave at the end of the 3rd quarter? Why go at all?

Anonymous said...

I read back whrn the NFL announced the mandatory is was a reaction to the shootings at the Batman premiere in Colorado.

Anonymous said...

Focus on the product on the field. if they were worth watching, fans would be inside screaming waiting for the kickoff. Like they do in Columbia and Clemson!

Gene Fitzpatrick said...

Since you purchased a PSL, you must buy the tickets and pay the price. The Panthers have got you by the short hairs one way or the other. Come in early to avoid the long lines and spend $ 7 for a beer that costs them about 75 cents. Since they don't pay most of the concession staff, they can't add salaries to their bottom line, can they? Complaints, send them to Jerry Richardson and see if you get an answer. Poor Jerry; damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.