By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
April 19, 2013
Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the initial shock and tragedy at the Boston Marathon, we have to consider what kind of impact this terrorist attack could have on other sporting events. One of the biggest problems with marathons is the ability for fans to get close to the action almost anywhere on a 26.2-mile route. That poses immense security challenge for law enforcement, especially compared to the relatively easier task of protecting a stadium or arena. In the case of the Super Bowl, for instance, fans sometimes can’t even get onto the stadium grounds without a ticket.
Coordinating security at major events can be costly and complex, but procedural changes will begin being implemented immediately. This weekend’s London Marathon is reviewing its safety standards, and New York City Marathon officials say they’ll beef up security at their race later this year. It’s possible that big city events could cut some of their “street-festival” marketing in order to further protect fans. However, it’s also worth reminding that terrorist attacks in general, and at sporting events in particular, are extremely rare. Investigators no doubt will figure out what happened in Boston, and ensure that nothing like it ever happens again. Fans can rest assured that their safety is always a top priority for event organizers.