Even after the arrest made in the Boston Marathon bombings, the NFL is taking no chances when it comes to protecting fans attending this week’s draft.
Frank Supovitz, who is the NFL’s senior vice president of events, said the league is “enhancing security protocols” from Thursday to Sunday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. That includes additional measures from the league’s own security department and the New York Police Department as well as new guidelines for fans.
Supovitz said fans are being asked to leave backpacks and bulky bags at home. Doors will open an hour earlier than normal “so people can go through the security protocols so they’re not delayed getting into the building.”
“The rest of the security measures we’re putting in aren’t things I can talk about but do know we’re providing a safe environment for our fans,” Supovitz told me and co-host Vic Carucci on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
The actions come in the aftermath of the April 15 Boston attacks that left three people dead and more than 170 injured. One of the suspects was arrested Friday; the other was killed in a shootout with police.
Once inside Radio City Music Hall, fans will have an easier time following the “action” thanks to a new electronic scoreboard.
“Everybody always looks at the countdown clock for the picks,” Supovitz said. “Since the 1990s it’s looked a little bit like a high school gym clock. It’s kind of fun and a little bit retro but we’ve gone electronic this time.
“It’s a large board like at a stadium so we not only have the clock in the middle but information displayed so people in the theater are looking at it just like you’re seeing it on television. You’ve got the next five picks coming up on the left-hand side and the five picks who had just been drafted on the right side as well as information displays.”
Another change: A major motion picture will be filmed concurrently with the draft.
“Draft Day” features Kevin Costner as general manager of the Cleveland Browns and chronicles how he handles all the nuances of selecting with the No. 1 overall pick. Scenes will be shot at Radio City’s red-carpet entrance Thursday night and then Friday morning on the draft floor where team representatives are seated. There also will be 300 extras backstage for filming Saturday for scenes that capture suspense in the “green room” area where prospects wait until their names are called.
Supovitz said the NFL has worked with acclaimed director Ivan Reitman to coordinate the filming. The movie, which also stars Jennifer Garner and Chad Boseman, is set for a 2014 release.
“What he was looking for is the authenticity of the draft in his film,” Supovitz said of Reitman. “We were sent the script a couple months ago. We had the opportunity to review it and met with him to give some pointers of things that happen on the draft floor that you may not see on television. I know he went to the various teams involved to talk about what goes on in war rooms and that type of thing.
“The level of authenticity in the script that I’ve seen has really evolved over the past couple of months. He really is going for something that looks and feels like the draft.”