The Philadelphia Phillies had top-notch security in and around their ballpark but noticed that they needed better surveillance in their parking lots. LiveView Technologies deployed several mobile surveillance units to help fill the gap.
Major League Baseball games have an average of 28,317 fans in person, making the total fan attendance for the 2019 season more than 68 million people. America’s favorite pastime is one steeped in tradition, family, and team loyalty.
The city of Philadelphia is deeply tied to Major League Baseball. In fact, the first major league game was played in the city on April 22, 1876, with townball played as early as the 1820s and 30s. The Philadelphia Phillies was founded in 1883. It is the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in professional American sports. The team has two World Series titles (1980 and2008), seven National League pennants, and 11 National League East division titles.
Phillies fans are known for their enthusiasm and loyalty. In fact, their home game attendance is ranked in the top 10 in the league, and they had more than2.7 million fans in their stadium during 2019. Their stadium, Citizens Bank Park, has a 42,792 capacity and averages more than 33,000 fans per home game. Managing that number of fans safely and ensuring that they have a positive experience is part of Salvatore DeAngelis’ job as the Director of Operations and Security for the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We want people to be as safe as possible, but we don’t want to sacrifice a fan experience,” said DeAngelis. “You have to walk that line of, is something too intrusive? How can we make this more fan friendly? How can we communicate to our fans that this is coming and it’s necessary, why it’s necessary, etcetera.”
DeAngelis has held his current position since 2012, but he started with the Phillies in 1994 as a game-day usher. He has seen the Phillies through high profile events like the closing of Veterans Stadium, MLB playoffs, the 2008 and2009 World Series, the 2008 World Series parade, the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and other annual concerts and events.
DeAngelis and his team are responsible for the safety of those on their property, including the team and managers, fans, employees, and other attendees connected to the games or events held at the stadium. In fact, the complex hosts 250 events per year. Just the Phillies’ schedule amounts to 81 home games per regular season stretching from late March until early October. Furthermore, the home and away games are played in multi-day sets—meaning a stadium will host five to seven games in a week before their team goes on the road.
The Phillies have always emphasized security. In fact, they achieved SAFETY Act designation in April 2019 and are working towards full certification. “We were the fifth Major League Baseball team in the country to achieve a SAFETY Act Award in 2019,” said DeAngelis. “We’re very proud of it as well.”
As part of getting SAFETY Act Certification, DeAngelis says they are adding more cameras and technology to the stadium. “We’re constantly adding new technology or new processes to our existing security posture so we can stay innovative and so we can achieve this award as well,” he said. “You want people to feel safe when they come to the ballpark. If they don’t feel safe, they’re not going to come back.”
LiveView Technologies (LVT) is part of the new upgrades and processes. Currently, the Phillies have two LVT Units deployed in their parking lot and are hoping to add more in the future. “We have great coverage inside our ballpark. We have great coverage on the immediate exterior of our ballpark,” said DeAngelis. “But we saw a need for the vast reaches of our parking lot, where our internal cameras system couldn’t reach and we wouldn’t have coverage for things such as theft, burglary, assault, and any other incidents.”
After deploying the units, DeAngelis’ team saw immediate results. “It wasn’t long after these were installed that we saw the capabilities. A female fan’s car was struck by another fan’s vehicle. They got out to assess the damage and the person that hit her just got back in his car and left. We captured the entire incident on camera,” said DeAngelis. His team was able to help this fan and her insurance company with footage of the incident.
Cameras are often a reactionary tool—they help you after the fact. However, DeAngelis says he and his team have already noticed how the LVT mobile surveillance units are proactive. First, the units, “act as a deterrent to people that are parking in that area. You see theft goes down, people aren’t as likely to act up in those areas,” he said. Second, the audio capabilities help not only with deterrence but also with reminders for fans. This includes reminders to leave prohibited items (like large bags or open containers) in their cars or even to remember to bring their vaccination cards or mask to the gate. “We can use the audio feature of our LVT cameras to give fans an audible reminder in our parking lots before they leave their car,” said DeAngelis.
Another benefit of the LVT Units is their mobility. “This is great, because they’re so portable and they’re solar paneled,” said DeAngelis. “One of the biggest expenses would be running cable to your parking lots, feeding off of your building to then solve any camera coverage needs that you have in the parking lot,” he said. Furthermore, the units can be easily moved by his in-house team which is a huge advantage since select areas of the parking lo tare used throughout the year for different events. “These are great for one-off events, festivals, things you may not have the infrastructure for hard cameras, but you still need to deploy something.”
For DeAngelis, creating a safe environment is all about creating a good experience for the fans—whether they’re coming to watch the Phillies or their favorite musician. “You want to feel safe when you go outside, when you go to a facility like ours, to forget about the real world for three hours. If they (fans) don’t feel safe, they’re not going to come to the ballpark.” LVT is helping him and the Phillies accomplish a higher level of safety and security for their fans. “I believe in the product,” said DeAngelis. “I’ve seen the capabilities of what it can do…It solved a problem for us that we knew we had in our parking lot.”