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A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Associated Press
Be warned – the next time you step into PPL Park, it could be your last visit for an extended period of time.

The folks at PPL Park are trying out the use of a “fan conduct class” to encourage improved behavior and safety within the confines of the Union's stadium. Should a fan be removed from PPL Park due to poor behavior, his or her admittance for later dates would hinge upon the completion of an online anger-management course.

“Fortunately, we haven't had to use it or implement it this year because PPL Park is a fun place and a safe place to go,” Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz told me recently. “We want to maintain that it's a safe place to go. Arenas around the country and world use this and it's very comforting. We've had a great experience at PPL Park for two years and we'd like to keep it that way, as a safe and enjoyable place.”

“We've had great success with it,” said Ari Novick, and anger-management expert and the president of AJ Novick Group, which runs “We've not had a single repeat fan go through the class.”

(For the sake of this post, I tried to take the conduct class online. However, I was stopped in my tracks by two elements of the exam: its price – $75 – and its duration – four hours.)

The fee alone would be enough to keep most fans on their best behavior. Here's some more information you'd need to know: The class covers the code of conduct at your particular team's stadium; alcohol abuse; defining disruptive behavior; “gaining control of ourselves”; and communication skills, stress management and resources for finding help. That is, among other things.

Only the Union's PPL Park and New York's Red Bull Arena require the course, among Major League Soccer teams, according to the Web site However, Sakiewicz said it's a league-wide initiative that applies to all 19 franchises. Eight NFL teams use it, as well, and the Eagles are being pushed by the league to become the ninth.



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