Working with CSC: A unique experience

By Robert Riches
January 16, 2012

Imagine a crowd of over 60,000 people at one place, with nobody to point them in the right direction. It does not sound like it would end well at all. That’s where CSC comes in, as they help out with crowd management
You may see CSC employees in their distinct uniforms, consisting of bright yellow with dark black. CSC provides customer service as well as some security for spectators.
This past fall, I had the opportunity to work with Contemporary Services Corporation, better known as CSC. You may see them in person or on television, as they are contracted to work in various professional and college stadiums throughout the United States as well as Canada.
CSC’s office in Philadelphia is contracted to work in various venues in the area: Lincoln Financial Field, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University; all of which are located in Philadelphia. CSC’s Philadelphia office is also contracted at Princeton University in Princeton, Nj, PPL Park in Chester, Pa. and the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
My work with CSC mainly consisted of Philadelphia Eagles and Temple Football games at Lincoln Financial Field, as well as several Philadelphia Union soccer games at PPL Park.
For Eagles games, we followed a relatively simple protocol. We would report to the stadium five hours prior to kickoff and clock in. Shortly thereafter, we would congregate in the seating bowl, where supervisors would break down what to expect. From there, we would proceed to any of the four gates to perform security pat-downs.
Pat-downs are typically an all-hands-on-deck situation, as most fans try to enter the stadium within an hour before kick-off. Following a shooting outside of Candlestick Park in San Francisco after a pre-season football game between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, National Football League security requires all 32 NFL stadiums to perform full-body pat-downs prior to each game to try to find items not allowed into the stadium.
In addition to the pat-downs, we were also required to perform bag searches and try to find items on Lincoln Financial Field’s Prohibited Items list. Items on the list include weapons, alcohol, bottles of any kind and many other items. Bag searches were often the security check for non-NFL events, such as Temple Owls and Philadelphia Union games and no pat-downs would be performed for these games.
Security checks would begin when gates would open, which was generally three hours before kick-off. During the middle of the first quarter, when most of the fans were inside the stadium, we would be repositioned elsewhere in the stadium.
The work that I did inside the stadium variesdepending on the game. I have worked inside seating sections, written incident reports for fans ejected from the stadium, covered parking lots, and covered the field.
After being repositioned inside the stadium, we would stay until the end of the game, and all the fans have left. We would usually be at the stadium for 45 minutes to an hour after the referee’s final whistle. Games would usually be an eight or nine-hour affair.
Working with CSC also provided several personal interesting moments. During a game in September between the Temple Owls and Penn State Nittany Lions, I helped out ESPN with their coverage of the game. During an Eagles/Dallas Cowboys game in October, one of the most storied rivalries in NFL history; I assisted with the ejections of 124 spectators, the record for Lincoln Financial Field. Prior to the Eagles/Cowboys game, I assisted with the first-ever playoff match at PPL Park, a match between the Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo. I also bumped into former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham during a game in November; and as an Eagles fan, it was somewhat of an honor to meet “The Ultimate Weapon.”
While the Eagles and Union may not have had their seasons end in ideal fashion, it was still great to work with them. It should be even better to return to them for a second season, after what may feel like a long offseason.

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Robert Riches

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