Applying Smart Airspace Security Intelligence & Insights to Stadium Security Standard Operating Procedures

Spectators are excited to be back in arenas and stadiums, following a historic international shutdown of in-person, live events. As stadium and venue security managers continue to adapt to new health and safety protocols stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, another rising security concern remains persistent and escalating – the risk of drones.


Today is the best day to begin analyzing your stadium airspace security and building your drone standard operating procedures (SOP’s). Drones can be used to surveil practice and games, infringe on broadcasting rights, threaten fans and players, and cause careless interruptions to operations and delaying game play. Stadium managers do not want to be caught off guard when a drone intentionally or unintentionally flies from a tailgate to the field, under cover of night.


The process to begin an airspace risk assessment is simple and in line with common physical and cybersecurity practices that are already established and proven effective.


Before the Drone Incursion

  • Install a Drone Detection System and Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment: With a smart airspace security strategy in place, you can easily determine the scope of your vulnerability to drones. Specifically, you will learn the most common times of day, or days of the week, and which types of drones are in protected airspace. Discover common takeoff points and flight paths, identify concerning flight patterns and classify the most common types of drones near your venue.
  • Apply Insights & Intelligence into Security Protocols: Once initial insights and intelligence are established, apply this information to determine if your security teams need to change or add certain patrol areas, cooperate with local law enforcement, or even just set up signage as a deterrent. Use the time before gameday to prepare, predict and prevent nefarious drone flights, rehearse response protocols, track down suspicious pilots, and ensure that you capture drone pilots in a timely manner on game day.


During the Drone Incursion

  • Deploy Security to Apprehend Drone Pilot: Whether there is an active game, or practice in session, response time matters. Apply DedroneTracker’s built-in predictive analytics, insights, and intelligence to find pilots and stop the flight.
  • Mitigate the Threat with Active Countermeasures: For U.S. Department of Homeland Security Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) Level 1-2 events, such as the NFL Super Bowl, federal agency security teams may be authorized to deploy counter-drone technologies, such as DedroneDefender, to halt the drone flight. For events managed at the state or local level, threat mitigation will depend on passive, countermeasures including active patrol at likely take-off areas, clear signage, collaboration with local law enforcement, and quick security team respo9nse times to track down the pilot.
  • Halt Gameplay, Move Spectators: In the event a drone appears during active gameplay, it may be prudent to halt operations until the drone pilot is apprehended.


After the Drone Incursion

Preakness Stakes Shares Experience Protecting Against Drone Threats


Preakness Stakes 146, held in May 2021, featured a new airspace security program at Pimlico Race Course, which was powered by Dedrone. As a result of installing Dedrone, Pimlico security team and local law enforcement developed and launched response protocols in the event of drone incursions.


Dedrone’s automated alerts provided actionable intelligence, including drone and pilot location, to Pimlico security. Dedrone’s solution, including integrated cameras, visually identified multiple pilots, providing Pimlico security the necessary intelligence to track aerial trespassers down and halt unauthorized flights. Pimlico’s partnership with Dedrone allowed them to implement and execute a successful drone response program resulting in zero drone disruptions on race day.


Read more about Preakness Stakes’ Smart Airspace Security Program


Prepare, Predict and Prevent Drone Incursions at Your Stadium


Drone disruptions at stadiums are not new, but more people realize how easy it is to cause damage and harm to a stadium, how impactful these drone events are to operational continuity, and a team or stadium’s reputation. Drones may appear as a part of a broader exploitation plan – check out the site before entering it to identify vulnerabilities, or even spy on practice games to gain the competitive advantage. As more facilities re-open after the COVID shutdowns and return to normal operations, onlookers will want to take the view into their own hands, just like the drone pilots who shut down Major League Baseball Games in 2020.


Start your smart airspace security program today with Dedrone, and begin to test, rehearse, and enhance your existing standard operating procedures for drone intrusions.


Meet Dedrone at NCS4 Annual Conference this November in Phoenix!



Jackson Markey

About the author

Jackson Markey is the Enterprise Sales Manager at Dedrone where he works with organizations of all sizes to plan, implement, and scale their complete airspace security programs.

Jackson Markey

Originally published Aug 10, 2021, updated Aug 14, 2022