Any basketball fan will know that strong ‘defense’ is the key to success, and it’s just the same with the sport’s biggest arenas.

STAPLES Center is not only one of the NBA’s most prestigious venues, playing host to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, but also among the most iconic arenas of any kind. All the biggest acts in music, from U2 to the Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift, have appeared there since the 19,000-capacity, AEG-operated venue opened in 1999.

Ensuring the safety of sports and entertainment stars, as well as the thousands of fans in attendance, is the responsibility of David Born, senior director of security for STAPLES Center. From leading a 400-strong staff at 250 events per year to liaising with LAPD and other agencies, Born, recently named the NBA’s Venue Security Manager of the Year, is undoubtedly the venue’s MVP.

Here he tells TheStadiumBusiness about developing a security strategy fit for one of the world’s most high-profile arenas… 

* Could you tell us how you first became involved in security?

David Born: “I first started in the industry 26 years ago, when I worked part-time with the San Diego Padres, while in college. Two days after my graduation from college, I started working full-time for the Padres.

“My role started in the industry on the facility operations side, but I had exposure to all facets of the operation, including security and guest services. I also spent four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“When I moved to St. Louis and took a position with the St. Louis Blues and Scottrade Center, I moved to the security operations side. I moved back to the Los Angeles area in 2008 and have been with AEG for the past 10 years. I have been fortunate to be part of the security team and STAPLES Center family for the past seven years.”


* What does your role at STAPLES Center entail?

DB: “At STAPLES Center, my department is responsible for all security aspects, including during events.

“Our security team at STAPLES Center is in-house. My department oversees security, police, medical services and emergency preparedness.

“We are fortunate at STAPLES Center that our management team places a very high importance on safety and security.

“It is the most important aspect of our operation.

“We have approximately 400 team members in the security department from our management team, supervisors, to our security officers.”

* What are the major concerns when formulating a security strategy at a major venue?

DB: “STAPLES Center holds approximately 250 annual events. With the events in our venue, it is essential to maintain our cohesive security and supervisory team.

“We invest in our team and our front-line team members with training and preparedness. We also place significance on our emergency preparedness, having held a number of emergency exercises in the past year.

“Our relationships with our LA LIVE campus entities and nearby venues is important aspect of our operation. What takes place at one of our venues affects each venue on the campus. We work closely with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Homeland Security, keeping up to date on current events and information-sharing.

“Maintaining these relationships is essential to our success. LAPD is our closest law enforcement partner and is present for all of our events.”


* How is success in security measured?

DB: “I am a believer that security is everyone’s responsibility. It does not matter what department our team members are part of at STAPLES Center. We embrace ‘If You See Something Say Something’ with everyone.

“It is difficult to say that I can be fully satisfied with where we are as there are always areas for improvement. In keeping up to date with current events, our law enforcement partners and new technology, there is continued room for growth in the security field.”

  • Lee Zeidman, President of STAPLES Center, is one of the latest speaker additions to TheStadiumBusiness Summit & Awards 2018, which takes place at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester from June 12-13

Images: STAPLES Center