Does texting stadium security work for local fans?

10Investigates' Noah Pransky considers whether service achieves its desired effect.

TAMPA, Florida - Raymond James Stadium staff and security are only five digits away for fans with cell phones, but when you need help in a hurry, how quickly will they respond?

10Investigates used Florida's broad public records laws to obtain thousands of text messages sent by fans to the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA), which owns Raymond James Stadium.  Fans can text comments, complaints, and problems to "33607" during games, concerts and other events to reach stadium staff in an instant.

An analysis of the texts revealed the top complaint (40 percent) from fans had to do with other fans' rowdy or inappropriate behavior. But a large number of fan issues also dealt with concessions problems or clean-up issues (25 percent), fans smoking (11), and WiFi/cellular issues (7).

A number of fans also abuse the text line, tying up valuable security and staff resources with texts about the Bucs' poor play, the location of their seat or other texts that appear to be pranks.

Yet seven out of 10 fans, randomly contacted by 10Investigates, said they were satisfied with how quickly stadium staff responded to their legitimate texts last year, with issues ranging from abusive fans to wasp nests in their seats.



The fans who indicated they were dissatisfied suggested stadium staff either took too long to respond or didn't respond at all. During busy events, staff often took 20 minutes to arrive on scene of a fan's complaint, although the urgency of a fan issue may also play a part in response time.

Raymond James Stadium staff certainly appears to be busy on game days; between 10 Buccaneers games and six USF Bulls games last year, security arrested 18 fans and ejected 210 more.  
Security at Tropicana Field is on pace to arrest 15 fans and eject 35 fans this season, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department. Security at Amalie Arena made 15 arrests in all of 2015, according to the Tampa Police Department. Amalie Arena ejections were not available for Tampa Bay Lightning games.
Both the Bucs and Tampa Sports Authority declined comment on the story, other than the TSA issuing a statement that texting "33607," which also happens to be the stadium's zip code, was "the best way to convey a concern about (the) stadium experience."

Find 10 Investigates reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Read his Sports Business Blog at Shadow of the Stadium.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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