NFL fever descended on London once again this October, with the annual Wembley showdown this year playing host to American Football’s St Louis Rams and New England Patriots. For the sixth year in succession, London-based Integrated Security Consultants (ISC) was called upon to ensure the complete safety and security of the visit. The company demonstrated its breadth of capabilities, managing a complex close protection operation for cheerleaders of both teams, NFL officials and VIPs. ISC also provided event security management for a large fan rally held in Trafalgar Square before the match.
The fan rally, which ran from 10am to 5pm the day before the main game, attracted an estimated 10,000 fans and saw cheerleading performances by both teams as well as the cheerleaders of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will be playing ‘home’ games at Wembley from 2013-16. Other entertainment included awards presentations to key American Football stars and music from Soul Symphony, Tricksters and D-Line.
ISC was required to ensure the safety of all performers and secure areas including the Main Stage, a Hall of Fame, VIP and sponsors’ enclosures, as well as various interactive entertainments. Its teams were also responsible for guarding the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the proud spoils of the Super Bowl victor, which was on display for British NFL fans.
“Ensuring smooth and safe access for the teams, the cheerleaders and the entertainers in one of London’s busiest public squares required a great deal of logistical planning,” says Sam Peters, Security Operations Manager at ISC. “We managed the capacity of the event by the use of dedicated entry and exit gates at the four corners of the square, which permitted control of the crowd flow and allowed for security checks. Our team supervisor, Sabrina Bluck, and I were in close communication with the NFL event organisers, the NFL teams’ management and their security personnel to ensure the safety of our patrons.”
ISC’s highly trained team were deployed at all key areas of the event and included dog handlers searching for explosives.
“The NFL and ISC have developed a good working relationship,” says Peters. “With major events being held in various locations around London, communication is key. We are always clear and concise, which is why our relationship works and why we have been able to deliver their requirements. Together, we have worked hard to make this event a great success.”
Meanwhile, ISC’s close protection team, headed by the company’s Close Protection Manager, Mark Nwosu, oversaw the safety of the three cheerleading teams plus the Rams’ mascot, ‘Rampage’, media staff and choreographers as they travelled around London under the scrutiny of the media and the general public.
“With thorough planning we were able to ensure the complex requirements of the assignment and the NFL’s needs were met and exceeded,” says Nwosu. “The nature of this work means there are always changes, so as well as being proactive in planning we have to be reactive, flexible and capable of thinking on our feet.”
“The operation went well and we are proud to have once again played a part in a project which brought so much fun and excitement to so many people,” concluded ISC Managing Director, Pat Carr. We very much look forward to welcoming the NFL back next year for both of their UK games.”
While the Patriots won a resounding 45-7 victory over the Rams, ISC helped ensure that, for the match and its build up, the overall victor was the sport, the participants and the fans.