X-ray Scanners: A Powerful Security Solution At Stadiums & Arenas

The 2017 terrorist attack at a Manchester, UK pop concert highlighted the growing need for thorough and effective stadium security. Although that specific attack focused on fans exiting the stadium, securing these facilities involves more than protecting public entrances. Thorough security plans must include inspections at backstage, players-only, and staff entrances as well.

Players and staff should not be exempt from security checkpoints. We are currently seeing intense screening procedures implemented in locations beyond just stadiums and arenas. In the wake of a domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol, Congress debuted screening procedures for all its elected officials that includes fines for noncompliance. It is critical that every person and object (including deliveries) arriving at a facility be subjected to the same meticulous screening process. 

Deploying checkpoints at every entrance, including those backstage, eliminates possible weak links in stadium and arena security plans. An all-encompassing security plan should harden every access point, preventing harmful individuals and prohibited items from entering the facility. Installing screening systems, like x-ray scanners, also help protect players’ privacy by limiting hands-on inspections to their property. X-rays ensure deliveries arriving at the arena are safe, and staff can “verify manifests” to confirm deliveries do not include any unexpected or prohibited content.

X-ray Security Considerations and Recommendations

Consider the following factors when installing x-rays at screening checkpoints for players, staff, and personnel:

  • Entrances and Exits: The number of entry points that need to be secured will significantly impact your security plan. Checkpoint layout is also important to consider, since tight locations may require narrow scanners specifically designed to operate in confined spaces.

It is also important to determine whether checkpoint locations may change. For example, backstage entrances at certain arenas may be different for sporting events and concerts. Astrophysics x-ray scanners are designed for easy relocation with compact footprints, making them ideal solutions for multiple locations. 

Lastly, consider your networking needs. Will the scanners operate locally and independently, or will you need them linked to a centralized security workstation? Checkpoints can be configured to meet either need, ensuring the scanners fit into existing security plans.

  • Screening Objects: What you screen helps determine which scanners will work best at these checkpoints. Smaller parcel scanners can handle bags, purses, and backpacks. However, if you plan to screen shipments or large pallets, cargo scanners are the ideal solution. Astrophysics systems are powerful enough to penetrate dense cargo, and their reinforced conveyor belts can handle any-sized shipment.
  • Staff Experience: Knowing your security staff’s levels of x-ray screening experience helps determine what type of training, if any, they will need. Novice personnel can be trained quickly in effective x-ray screening, while experienced staff should stay current  with regular refresher courses. Astrophysics offers a wide array of training courses for  operators, contact to learn more.
  • Esthetics: Finally, consider the esthetics of your x-ray scanners. Do you want them to match your arena’s or team’s branding? Astrophysics specializes in custom paint colors and can design systems painted with your team’s colors or emblazoned with their logo.

A good rule of thumb for backstage security checkpoints: Deploy 1-2 scanners at each entrance. Checkpoints with light or inconsistent foot traffic likely only need 1 x-ray system.. However, locations that expect to do heavy scanning or have lots of deliveries will need multiple scanners to prevent disruptions to throughput, your employees, and your operations.

No stadium or arena’s security plan is complete until both its public and backstage entrances are secured. This ensures fans, players, and staff are all protected, and prevents harmful or prohibited items from entering the facility. X-ray scanners are the ideal solution for securing these checkpoints, and can be incorporated efficiently into any existing security plan. Questions about your stadium or arena’s security plan? Contact our expert staff at for a consultation!

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