The Growing Threat: Drone Incidents Over Crowded Stadiums

A chilling hush descended over the State- college football game when a drone was spotted ominously hovering above. With the safety of players and spectators at stake, officials took immediate action, pausing the game and evacuating the field. Fortunately, the ended without catastrophe, as the device left and its operator was arrested. He claimed he had simply lost control of his newly purchased drone, according to NBC News. However, this event wasn't isolated, marking the latest in a series of drone-related concerns over stadiums.

A Security Vulnerability Exposed

This incident has cast a light on an alarming security flaw, which has left the likes of the NFL, other major sports leagues, and Congress members deeply unsettled. The potential for drones to be weaponized and cause significant harm is no longer a hypothetical situation.

“We're concerned about somebody who would use (drones) in a nefarious way and drop a grenade that would do considerable damage and possibly kill individuals,” voiced Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.

Despite the extensive security measures surrounding stadiums, a drone's ability to fly overhead virtually unchallenged presents a significant security gap. The FBI and the (DHS) are the sole authorities capable of intercepting these rogue drones. Yet, their resources are stretched thin, only ensuring drone security for major events like the Super Bowl.

A Cry for Help

The NFL's Chief of Security, Cathy Lanier, emphasized the severity of the situation, highlighting that there had been an overwhelming 121,000 requests for drone mitigation since 2018. Shockingly, only 77 of these were approved. And, if that's not worrisome enough, this authority is at risk of expiration by November 17.

Lanier reveals, “They enter that restricted airspace, they are violating the law. All we're asking for is the ability to take control of that drone and move it out of our airspace.”

Lanier further underscored the escalation in drone incidents, noting a jump from 1,300 to 2,500 incursions over NFL stadiums within a year. These aren't just minor disruptions either. In 2018, a drone even dropped leaflets over NFL games in .

“That could have been anything,” Lanier remarked.

The Tangible Danger

It's not merely the risk of that raises alarms. The mere sight of a drone could spark panic in a crowded stadium. A hasty evacuation could lead to injuries or even fatalities. “We have 70,000 people in these stadiums and arenas,” Lanier mentioned. Introducing panic to such a packed venue poses significant risks.

In 2017, spectators at a MLB game in San Diego experienced a near miss, as a drone crashed inches away from an audience member. Another alarming instance occurred during the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta when a drone was spotted just moments before an Air Force flyover.

The Broader Issue

The threat isn't exclusive to sports venues. Almost 2,000 drone sightings were reported near US airports since 2021, revealing an underlying nationwide security concern. Sen. Peters even noted the increasing use of drones by drug cartels to transport narcotics across borders.

“A wall doesn't stop a drone from flying over with narcotics,” he pointed out.

Drone Incidents: A Call for Action

As technological advancements surge ahead, the gap between policy and reality is widening. Lanier concludes with a pressing call to action: “We've got to stop kicking the can down the road. Policy is not keeping pace with technology, and that's a problem.”

The drone incident at Ohio has thrown into stark relief the pressing need for stricter regulations and enhanced security measures to prevent potential tragedies.

Follow on your Google News feed.

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us here.

FTC: is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 2584

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
%d bloggers like this: