Anti-Drone Technology at Professional Sports Stadiums

Anti-drone technology is now a basic security feature at many major league baseball (MLB) stadiums. Here is an interesting article on the Sports Illustrated website about the use of anti-drone technology to combat the growing problem of drones flying overhead during games. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has banned unmanned aircraft systems from flying over a stadium while a game is in progress. But in 2020 alone the MLB saw five games interrupted by drones.

The practical problem of drones flying overhead during baseball games raises legal questions about drone defense measures. Security cannot shoot a drone out of the sky, legally seize control of its operations to land the drone safely, or jam the drone’s signal to prevent it from flying. Rather, anti-drone technology currently revolves around identifying the pilot’s location and having security address the operator face-to-face. This can lead to another issue: although the FAA’s restrictions apply nationwide, local and state enforcement for people who violate those restrictions can vary greatly. Some states are very proactive with their regulations while other states have done nothing. Security, and drone pilots themselves, must continuously monitor legislation in this area. One such important rule is the FAA’s recently promulgated rules regulating operation over people and at night. See our previous post for more information on the FAA’s rule.

As part of an information campaign, the FAA has partnered with the Stadium Managers Association to launch its social media campaign “It’s Game/Race Day: Put Your Drone Away.” The goal is to reach recreational drone operators who do not appreciate the risks of flying their drones over a stadium. However, there will always be a risk that an operator is purposefully flying over a stadium. And so long as there are drones in the sky, anti-drone technology will be standing by.

Share This