Stadium bag policies continue to be a growing priority at sports stadiums and arenas all around the United States with regard to personal bag size and items that are permitted into facilities during scheduled events. Initially implemented for the 2013 professional football season, the National Football League (NFL) launched a new bag policy intending to provide a safer environment for the public and to expedite fan entry.
Since then, the initial policy has evolved and now limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into stadiums. For example, non-transparent bags are permitted but must not exceed 4.5” by 6.5” (about the size of an average hand). Clear, see-through bags must not exceed 12” by 12” by 6.” While this may seem strict, security specialists are united in ensuring the safety of the public with policies that have now been adopted by all NFL stadiums, as well as other venues and arenas across the country and the world.
If not adhering to the NFL’s bag policy, an entire day-out experience can potentially be ruined for fans; thus, individuals and sometimes entire families are restricted from entering the stadium. When this happens, perhaps, the only available options are: 1. take the restricted item(s) back to the car, sometimes a great distance away from the stadium; 2. discard the item(s), which is usually not logical; or 3. be lucky enough to be at a stadium that provides off-site options for restricted items. However, in the past, these options have come with long lines and/or high storage fees during both pre- and post-game times, adding to an already long day. In addition, the event staff is pulled in different directions, making the experience less than ideal.
In 2013, when the first policy was enforced, TIAA Bank Field, home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, set up an area to replicate a coat check, which included rolling racks. Gameday attendees would have a place to bring their restricted personal items – briefcases, purses, etc. – and, in turn, would receive a numbered ticket to retrieve their items after the game. This was beneficial to attendees using the service; however, ticketing many items per game was a labor-intensive process for the stadium. With this old-school approach not working, they sought out a solution that could be automated, self-sufficient and easily implemented.
Initially called LOKnCHARGE during the 2019-2020 season – renamed STOREiT LOCKERS (STOREiT) during the 2021-2022 season – it started as an empty shipping container with personal lockers. “We created the solution after noticing the frustration from individuals who attend events and have no place to put their items,” said Benoit Briere, CEO of STOREiT LOCKERS, a Montreal-based secure mobile locker solution. “There was a need for security and convenience, so I was on the hunt for a secure, yet simple solution to ensure each locker can be opened by the individual who has access to the using it,” continues Briere.
After researching solutions, Briere found Codelocks, an access control company that specializes in standalone keyless door locks and access products. These two companies teamed up to develop a secure, on-site alternative for attendees of not only sporting events, but music concerts and street festivals to enjoy their events unencumbered without having to experience the negative outcome of being turned away because of carrying restricted items.
Regarding the STOREiT lockers, it was determined – based on future needs of the end-user – to place the KitLock by Codelocks KL1000 NetCode® product, ideal for cabinets and lockers, on all STOREiT units. The KL1000 NetCode is a smart way to generate time-sensitive codes for a wide range of lockers. The neat lock is easy to fit and is a stylish alternative to traditional locks and keys.
Codelocks worked with STOREiT to develop an online platform where anyone can book and pay for a locker in advance. Through Codelocks’ NetCode technology, a six-digit code can be generated by a future user with a specific start date, time and duration, resulting in an easy and self-sufficient solution. Once the duration expires, the codes no longer work, creating a more convenient way to grant access. When purchasing a locker, it will show a screen with the locker number and code. These generated codes will also be sent via email. In addition, a Wi-Fi connection is not required to operate these locks.
With the first year of STOREiT LOCKERS under their belt during the 2019-2020 season, the team was able to take what they learned, combined with feedback from staff and users to make the experience better moving forward. During the 2020-2021 season of COVID-19, Codelocks took that time without fans attending the games to better develop the back end of the booking site and real-time management of the locks on the ground during games. All upgrades and changes to the solution were ready for a full-capacity 2021-2022 season.
“We discussed what changes needed to be made to make the process more efficient for our guests,” said Lindsey Zybrick, manager of guest experiences, Jacksonville Jaguars.
During the first season that the locking solution was live, there was the potential for lockers to be double-booked or adjoining lockers booked at the same time, if too many were booked within a small time window. This lead to crowded areas and delays in getting possessions in lockers. With these pain points in mind, Codelocks developed a back-end system from scratch that would meet the requirements needed by the Jaguars.
With the robust changes that Codelocks developed on the back end, the Jacksonville Jaguars event staff now has a built-in real-time reporting mechanism to better manage the system on their own. They now have the ability to change a locker status, easily access the information on the purchaser and payment details, and trouble-shoot via tablet in real-time. The Jaguars can now enable the exact time users can start booking for a specific event; five hours before game time, for example. Visitor access and navigation are easy to use with simple steps to complete the booking process. The Jaguars are able to create personalized messages for users to view within their booking, making the system even more customizable.
The Jacksonville Jaguars currently deploy two units, – aptly called offense and defense – which are used on game days as well as all major events at TIAA Bank Field. On average, there are over 400 lockers booked per event, with the highest totaling 582.
Attendees who needed to secure their restricted belongings would simply book a locker directly on their mobile phone using the online booking App or QR code posted around the lockers, all taking just a few minutes. Once that is completed, a six-digit NetCode was sent via email to the user, and they would instantly have access to a specific locker. For those who didn’t have access to a mobile phone or simply would prefer not to use their phone, iPads are available through the stadium support staff for easy access and purchasing.
“We went from an extensive check-in process with long lines and coat-check-type tags, to a system that can be completed by the guest without help from our staff,” said Zybrick. “Our staff now also has a handful of lockers, and codes, for promotional gear and items that we may need during the booking process for our own use.”
Once the initial growing pains were rectified, the entire process became streamlined. STOREiT was used during nine Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games, including eight regular-season games and one preseason game, as well as at four stadium events, including the Hella Mega Tour, Florida vs. Georgia Football game, the Tax Slayer Gator Bowl and Monster Jam.
“We were thrilled that the STOREiT LOCKERS solution was successful for the Jacksonville Jaguars 2021-2022 season,” said Zybrick. “The collaboration between Codelocks, STOREiT and us resulted in a solution that can be used for a variety of events, including our highly attended NFL football games.
“We look forward to working with Codelocks and STOREiT in the future. We are thankful they took the time to understand our pain points and make the necessary improvements to help our staff and, most importantly, our fans,” said Zybrick.
17, Apr 2023