Jun 30, 2016


Designation also conveys to Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena

The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) is pleased to announce that Joe Louis Arena, managed and operated by Olympia Entertainment, Inc. and home to the Detroit Red Wings, a member of the National Hockey League (NHL) is the first professional sports facility in the nation to earn the prestigious Sport Event Security Aware (SESA) designation. The designation will also carry over to Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Detroit Red Wings currently under construction.

Joe Louis Arena is a 20,058-seat arena along the banks of the Detroit River.  The arena hosts hundreds of annual attractions including Detroit Red Wings hockey, college hockey, concerts, special events and family shows.

Little Caesars Arena is on schedule to open in September 2017, and is seen as the cornerstone of The District Detroit – a $1.2 billion live, work and play development fueling city’s redevelopment.

“The SESA process was not only equally challenging in terms of its comprehensive review of our policies, procedures, security technology, and training, it was also enlightening and informative because of the extensive on-site evaluation of our operational practices during an actual NHL game,” said Richard Fenton, VP, Corporate Safety and Security, Ilitch Holdings Inc., an affiliate of both Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings.

“It's one thing to have a review conducted that is primarily process driven, but to have actual evaluators on site reviewing the operational application of our security program in its totality meant we could plan for both Joe Louis Arena and for our new world-class venue, Little Caesars Arena. We received feedback on the spot, which resulted in revised operational procedures that reflected the SESA assessors’ excellent observations.”   

NCS4's comprehensive training and assessment process provides institutions with a set of scalable standards for assessing risks, identifying vulnerabilities, developing appropriate plans, policies and procedures, and providing training and exercises to facility staff.

“Receiving the SESA designation for both Joe Louis Arena and Little Caesars Arena is a significant achievement and a tremendous honor for Olympia Entertainment,” said Lou Marciani, director of NCS4. “The rigorous process reflects the collaborative commitment among their security staff and local, state and federal agencies, to meet the highest of standards.”

Additionally, Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, completed the DHS SAFETY Act Process for its professional baseball venue in the fall of 2015, and received SAFETY Act CERTIFICATION — one of only two Major League Baseball (MLB) venues to receive this approval.

NCS4 offers the SESA designation to all professional, collegiate, and amateur organizations that own or operate sports venues. Organizations will attain a set of scalable standards for assessing risks, identifying vulnerabilities, and developing appropriate plans, policies, and procedures. The result is a continual four-year cycle to review and upgrade safety, security and incident management programs.

For more information about SESA, visit or contact Elizabeth Voorhees at 601.266.6099 or [email protected].

About NCS4
The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), at the University of Southern Mississippi, supports the advancement of sport safety and security through training, professional development, academic programs and research. NCS4 collaborates with professional leagues, open access events, intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics, along with professional associations, private sector firms, and government agencies.  It is a critical resource for sport venue managers, event managers, first responders, and other key stakeholders.

About Olympia Entertainment
Olympia Entertainment, a Detroit-based company owned by entrepreneurs Michael and Marian Ilitch, is one of the country’s most diverse sports and entertainment companies and the largest organization of its kind in the Midwest. The company owns and operates Detroit’s Fox Theatre, the intimate City Theatre and also books and operates Joe Louis Arena and books Comerica Park. Olympia Entertainment also handles business operations for the Detroit Red Wings, an Original Six member of the National Hockey League and collaborates with the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise and other Ilitch companies.

Other Ilitch companies include: Little Caesars Pizza, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Pizza Kit Fundraising Program and Olympia Development. Additionally, Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers, and Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino Hotel.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi and through Online at Southern Miss.

Since 2006, Southern Miss students have collected seven Goldwater Scholarships, three Truman Scholarships and 16 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Our Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions.

As one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at