Click Here to see what our services can do for you and your company

. .

Los Angeles-area sports fans told to mind their manners

By Dana Bartholomew, Staff Writer, 08/28/2012

Ball games and sporting events across Los Angeles on Monday just got nice.

No more cussing out the refs. No more knocking back too many beers. No more shoving matches with out-of-town fans.

In an effort to make ball games from Angel to Dodger stadiums safer and more family friendly, teams across the Southland laid down the nation’s first uniform rulebook for fans. Break any of its 10 commandments, officials said, and you’re either out on your ear – or you’ll be sent to jail.

“The first code that you can’t swear anymore applies to me,” said hockey fan Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the L.A. Kings, the L.A. Galaxy, hosts the L.A. Lakers and hopes to woo a professional football team downtown. “So I’ve promised to abide by the new code.”

The so-called Southern California Fan Code of Conduct, created by the Los Angeles Sports Council, was announced by more than two dozen of the region’s top professional and college sports teams, law enforcement and elected officials at a downtown news conference.

The new rules, which mirror what sports venues such as the Rose Bowl already have in place, are simple: If you can’t do it in Disneyland, you won’t do it while watching L.A. sports.

That means no swearing or offensive language, even on T-shirts.
No smoking except in the tiny corral outside. No drunkenness or “excessive alcohol consumption.”

No bringing barred goodies into games – presumably from cheap snacks to flasks of booze. No hurling beer or other stuff into the stands. No leaping onto the field.

No fighting or threatening behavior. In March 2011, Giants fan Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

No balking at showing your game ticket to security guards. In June, actor
Charlie Sheen got booted from an L.A. King’s game at Staples Center after he went outside for a smoke and failed to present his ticket. He then went off on the attendant.

Fans, under the new code, are now prohibited from scalping tickets. And the region’s more than 20 million spectators who buy tickets are prevented from breaking local or state laws.

The Fan Commandments apply from ballfields to horse tracks containing 10,000 seats or more. They were drafted by a so-called L.A. Sports Council Task Force on Fan Behavior following a Fan Behavior Summit last summer of nearly 100 top dogs in area sports and law enforcement.

“This is a real team effort,” said David Simon, president of the sports council, a nonprofit booster of major sporting events from the Super Bowl to the World Cup in L.A. and Orange counties.

“This is our message: We of the community, sports, government and law enforcement, have come together to address bad behavior issues at our local arenas and stadiums.”

Backers of the new rules say they won’t be relegated to the fine print. They’ll be posted right alongside the Dodger Dogs or Clyde Wright BBQ at Angel Stadium.

And they will allow the often competing teams to share practices and procedures about unruly fans – and possibly even the names of known hooligans.

What wasn’t clear was what generated the school-marmish conduct code to be written 90 years after the Rose Bowl opened, 50 years after Dodger Stadium and 13 years after Staples Center opened its gates.

For despite the Bryan Stow tragedy, it’s been years since L.A. hosted the L.A. Raiders, an NFL team infamous for its fan behavior. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he once invited his young son to a Raiders game – and after a fight broke out among fans, the kid refused to see another game.

“Just un-American,” said Yaroslavsky. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.

“This is about a code of conduct, not a municipal code,” he said. “What we’re asking people to do is to control their behavior.”

Sports officials, who declined to give statistics on fan ejections or arrests, point to a “coarsening” of fan behavior in recent years. County probation officials said that one out of 130 fans was on some kind of criminal probation.

But Los Angeles police said most L.A. fans were well behaved. They said that, despite some rioting during victory parades in recent years, fans were more civil than in other cities.

“I don’t think that right now venues in Los Angeles we are seeing horrendous fan behavior,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck, who supported the new rules. “I think all of us look outside Los Angeles and see things that occur in other venues that is much more egregious.

“I think what we want to do is establish a sporting culture in Los Angeles that invites families … that doesn’t drive people away, but encourages people.”

Among experts, reviews of the new rules were mixed.

David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, said Southern California must set itself apart with a set of fan behavior standards.

“I think this was largely ceremonial,” Carter said. “It underscores that our region will be responsible – and nothing short on that.”

He said sports teams were sympathetic with fans who spent their hard-earned income to go to games to escape the daily grind – and don’t need to find the grind sitting next to them.

“I think, over the years, it’s been incrementally worse. The (sports) industry had to step up.”

But Harold Kassarjian, a professor emeritus in marketing and crowd behavior at UCLA and Cal State Northridge, said the rules may have been established as legal cover against future lawsuits.

“I think these people are just trying to cover their butts … to say they’ve done all they can do so they won’t get sued,” Kassarjian said. “I think (the rules) won’t make any difference in (fan) behavior.

“They won’t affect the fan who, ready to toss his program (across the stands) won’t say, `I’m not going to violate this code of ethics.”‘


Asks fans to refrain from, under threat of ejection or arrest:

• Profanity or other offensive language, either spoken or worn on clothing

• Smoking, other than in designated areas

• Intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption

• Bringing prohibited items into the venue

• Throwing of items or liquids

• Entering the playing field or court at any time

• Fighting or other threatening behavior

• Failing to retain a ticket and/or present it to staff when requested

• Reselling tickets at the venue

• Violating state or local laws

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
Web Design By MR Web Design