The NFL, in the interest of public safety, Thursday announced a policy that limits the size and types of bags that may be brought into stadiums this season.
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
About all that will be allowed are clear plastic bags smaller than 12 inches wide, or one-gallon Ziploc-type bags, according to the league.
That means women attending Chiefs games at Arrowhead Stadium will have to leave their purses at home, unless it is a small hand-sized clutch bag. And fans will need to put their wallets, glasses, cell phones and other personal items into plastic bags if they can’t carry those items in.
The NFL Committee on Stadium Security in May unanimously recommended the implementation of this measure with the hope it enhances public safety and makes it easier for fans to get into stadiums. It was discussed with all 32 clubs at the May league meeting and will be implemented at all NFL stadiums beginning with preseason games.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Fans will be able to bring these types of bags or containers into the stadium:
• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or polyvinyl chloride and do not exceed 12 inches high by 6 inches deep by 12 inches wide.
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar).
• Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.
• An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
“The most important thing is we develop a system that creates a safe environment for everyone, but also takes into account the realities, and that’s one of the reasons for the clutch purse,” said Chiefs president Mark Donovan. “Most of the things (women will have) will be able to fit into the size of purse we’re going to allow.
“That was a consideration that was talked about at the league level, and it’s something we tried to accommodate by allowing the clutch.”
The Seattle Seahawks plan to provide an approved bag to all season ticket holders, said club president Peter McLoughlin, “to help adjust to the new policy and provide clear guidelines on what is permissible to bring into the stadium." Donovan said the Chiefs were considering a similar plan
Fans carrying bags that do not meet the criteria will be turned away from the stadium well before they reach the gates. Stadiums are encouraged to maintain an ample supply of clear plastic tote bags or clear plastic freezer bags to afford guests the opportunity to transfer their belongings to an approved bag before they approach the stadium. As an alternative for guests who have no other option, stadiums are encouraged to consider providing the opportunity to temporarily check non-compliant bags at a facility located well outside the bag-restricted area.
The NFL regulations are in contrast to other policies for major sports venues in Kansas City.
• The Royals allow fans to bring food and water into the stadium, provided the water is in a plastic 1-liter or smaller sealed/unopened bottle (one per person) and the food is packaged in soft-sided containers that do not exceed the maximum size of 16x16x8 inches. Purses, seat cushions and binoculars and camera cases are permitted.
• Kansas Speedway allows one soft-sided cooler or bag up to 14 inches high, wide and deep that contains food and beverages. Alcohol is allowed, but no glass containers. Fans can also bring a school-size backpack; strollers, seat cushions, binoculars, blankets, scanners and cameras.
• Sporting KC allows bags measuring 11 inches by 17 inches by 10 inches, subject to inspection. Fans may not bring in any food or beverage other than those served by the official concessionaire for the facility, except for days when it is exceptionally hot. In those cases, the club messages fans saying they are allowed one 20-ounce bottle of water, and the tops are removed upon arrival. Parents with small children may bring plastic bottles of formula or milk inside of the stadium.
“The policy was created to where (fans) can still bring in the things they wanted to bring in, but it’s all about what they’re bringing it in,” Donovan said. “This creates a much safer environment, it creates a second perimeter, and it’s a more secure approach to the game-day experience.”
Donovan said the new policy won’t be in effect for the Kenny Chesney concert on Saturday at Arrowhead, and the club will evaluate how it will be applied for future events, including college football games featuring Grambling State University vs. Lincoln University in Sept. 14 and Pittsburg State vs. Northwest Missouri State on Oct. 19.