Sports Events: Recording or Filming

Date: 15.09.2017     Last updated: 15.09.2017 at 15.09
A Safety Guideline to the common risks and controls associated with filming and recording at sports events, including track- or pitch-side.

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Hit by sports thrown equipment, or struck by passing vehicle or animal
  • Trip or collide with sports competitor or spectator
  • Assault by individual or group of spectators becoming abusive or aggressive, throwing objects
  • Crowd disorder or uncontrolled movement eg surging
  • Hearing damage from exposure to excessive noise caused by crowds or sporting activity
  • Event fire or other emergency (including Terrorist incident).

Legal/BBC Requirements

Control Measures

General Controls

  • Plan your event with the venue in good time - make sure they understand what you intend to do and what you need from them, and vice versa. Obtain their site safety rules and location / event risk assessments. Use these to inform your own risk assessment process
  • Agree all filming/recording positions with the event organisers well ahead of the event, including any tracking or boom-operated activities - where needed for safety, place these behind competitor's sight-lines and out of obvious harms way (e.g. behind golf tee areas, javelin throwing areas, etc.). Consider using remote controlled devices or 'locked-off' broadcast equipment, but these must not pose additional risks to competitors or others
  • For ball/puck sports take up positions in designated safe areas, for example, at least 2 metres from edge of play
  • Comply with any track or pitch-side zone restrictions and instructions from marshals / stewards on the day
  • Be alert to warning horns etc and remain vigilant at track/runway crossing points
  • Do not place or leave equipment which could cause an obstruction or trip hazard pitch-side, or in any surrounding areas where competitors may inadvertently come into contact with them. Do not obstruct emergency vehicle routes
  • Wear personal protective equipment if advised by venue or determined by risk assessment (e.g. high viz vest, hearing protection, etc)
  • Noisy events - assess the risks from these to determine hearing protection requirements. Position the team away from the noise source where possible and/or reduce the time exposed. Crowd noise in stadiums and some indoor venues can present significant risks. Take appropriate hearing protection (available from Safety Equipment Stores). 

 Specific Controls at Motor Race Tracks

  • Plan filming /recording positions to avoid being on the outside of fast bends, or in areas without adequate barrier protection - agree these with the race organisers
  • Any filming in and around the grid or pit areas must be defined and agreed ahead of the event with the race organisers, and closely managed and montiored during racing and practice activities
  • Enter pits only after getting permission and complying with local rules
  • Observe instructions of track organsiers and marshalls
  • Wear high viz vest and hearing protection whenever trackside or in the pit area.

Aggression from spectators

  • Get intelligence from police, teams involved, local contacts or fixers on likelihood of violence and decide on safe position
  • If working abroad, seek information on likely police/security tactics in the event of disorder
  • Plan emergency fall back positions, including rendezvous points and communicate to all in the team - know evacuation routes
  • Wear BBC logo unless this raises the personal risk
  • Use back watcher/second person if conflict is likely
  • Familiarise yourself with the sports venue emergency procedures
  • Try to diffuse aggression if threatened, but stop recording and leave if you think violence towards you is imminent
  • Take and wear safety equipment (stab vests, public order kits) where need for these has been identified.

Division Specific Issues

  • No division specific issues.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • The UK government publication ‘Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds’ (the Green Guide) was first published in 1973 after the Ibrox disaster when 66 people were killed. Subsequent versions were published following the Bradford City stadium fire in 1985 when 56 people were killed and the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 96 people were killed. The current edition was published in 2008.

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About this site

This site describes what the BBC does in relation to managing its health, safety and security risks and is intended for those who work directly for the BBC.

It is not intended to provide instruction or guidance on how third parties should manage their risks. The BBC cannot be held liable for how this information is interpreted or used by third parties, nor provide any assurance that adopting it would provide any measure of legal compliance. More information.


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