SEC Enhances Security at Football Championship Game
Fans attending the 2015 SEC Football Championship Game in Atlanta on December 5 will be asked to enter with clear bags and should be prepared to arrive early and to see enhanced law enforcement presence in and around the Georgia Dome, the conference office has announced.
Enhanced security measures will also be in place at the Dr Pepper SEC FanFare event in the Georgia World Congress Center, Dec. 4-5.
The SEC strongly encourages fans not to bring any type of bags to the championship weekend events, but bags must be clear or otherwise a small clutch bag to be allowed into either the championship game or SEC FanFare. Bags will be monitored at a secondary security perimeter set up around the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center and increased law enforcement presence and K-9 patrols will be prevalent throughout the area.
“The safety and security of our teams, fans and event personnel are a priority in our preparation for SEC Championship Weekend,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Considering recent events, we ask our fans to be attentive to their surroundings and to be patient as we implement measures that may provide some inconvenience but ultimately offer an environment of safety for those attending the weekend’s events.”
The most significant change for fans will be the implementation of a clear bag policy, similar to that used in the NFL. The clear bag policy will be in effect for both the SEC Championship Game in the Georgia Dome and SEC FanFare in the World Congress Center. Bags will be inspected before entry at both locations.
Gates of the Georgia Dome will open at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the championship game, 30 minutes earlier than normal, to accommodate early arriving fans.
“Greater cooperation from our fans will enhance the convenience and safety for everyone in attendance,” Sankey said. “Although we are currently not aware of any specific threats, these measures are important. Some security measures will be very visible and others will be behind the scenes and not evident to the public.”
Bags must satisfy the guidelines below in order to be taken into SEC FanFare and the Georgia Dome:
- Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 18” x 6” x 18”
- One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
- Small clutch bags, no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”, with or without a handle or strap
- An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a small clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size (18” x 6” x 18”).
Items that are typically carried in diaper or baby bags must be carried in a clear bag that meets the standards of the bag policy.
For those fans that arrive at the championship game or SEC FanFare with impermissible bags, Bag Exchange Stations will be located outside the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center where fans can leave impermissible bags and in exchange receive a permissible clear bag to use in SEC FanFare and/or the championship game. Fans may retrieve their impermissible bags from the Bag Exchange Station upon departure.
Bag Exchange Stations will be found in the following locations:
- International Plaza on East end of the Georgia Dome
- Outside North entrance of Building C of the World Congress Center
- Outside South entrance of Building C of the World Congress Center
- Lobby inside Building B of the World Congress Center
Strollers will not be permitted inside the Georgia Dome or World Congress Center but may be left at Bag Exchange Stations for pickup after the events.
Fans may still bring items such as binoculars and cameras, provided they are not in cases, as well as smart phones into SEC FanFare and the Georgia Dome.
Working personnel, including media, will continue to enter the Georgia Dome through designated gates where they will be subject to screening and bag inspections already in effect for the SEC Championship Game.
Any fan who witnesses suspicious activity at the Georgia Dome or World Congress Center should notify uniformed security personnel, or call 404-223-4911. Also, in the Georgia Dome fans may text “DOME” and a description of the suspicious activity to 69050.
The SEC is encouraging fans to arrive early and leave any unnecessary items at home or in their cars. Fans who bring any bag into the Georgia Dome or SEC FanFare should anticipate being delayed for search and bag exchange. Fans not in the gate queue by 3:30 pm on game day should not expect to see kickoff of the game.