As background to the looming Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on 11 February, Dedrone has revealed an increase in illegal drone flights around major sporting events in 2023. Over 4,000 such violations took place at more than 370 major sporting events in almost 60 stadia globally, an increase of almost 20% from 2022. In American National Football League (NFL) events alone, drone incursions nearly doubled, from 1,300 to 2,500, according to the League’s Chief Security Officer, Cathy Lenier.
Between 2018 and 2023, over 121,000 requests were made to the FBI to provide specialised counter-drone units to stadia around the country. The Bureau was able to fulfil only 6% of these requests. No major casualty-inducing event has yet taken place: some pundits, however, believe it is simply a matter of time before such an event occurs. “These rising statistics make it obvious that counterdrone technology is no longer nice to have. It is now essential,” said Ben Wenger, Chief Revenue Officer of Dedrone.
Las Vegas has deployed DedroneCityWide to cover major stadia, the airport and the Las Vegas Strip. “After the October 1 event [2017 Mandalay Bay mass shooting], we realized that we had to analyze all potential threat vectors to our city, including drones,” said the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, our collaboration with external security and public safety groups, both public and private, is essential to providing a safe environment to attendees, players, staff and the citizens of Clark County.” The event carries a Department of Homeland Security SEAR 1 designation – the highest level of security for large-scale events in the US.
“Unauthorized drone activity is escalating everywhere. The difference between this season’s data and last year’s is particularly stark, especially with TV cameras now capturing and broadcasting these events to millions of viewers at home, highlighting significant breaches of security. With 2024 bringing both Super Bowl LVIII and the 2024 Summer Olympics, we must take these threats seriously […] Major sporting leagues have voiced their support for stronger counterdrone legislation, and there are mitigation solutions available. It’s time we enact legislation that allows public safety agencies to effectively use them,” said Wenger.
For more information: http://www.dedrone.com
(Image: Drones are becoming an increasingly common sight at major sporting and other public events. Credit: Dedrone)