Stadium Drone Detection

Stadium Security Risks

Stadium drone detection

Outdoor stadium security teams have an enormous responsibility. They need to protect tens of thousands of guests and prevent disruption to stadium events. The rise of drones presents new challenges. From fans taking selfies in the parking lot, or illegally filming events, to activists dropping leaflets over stadium seats. Someone could even drop a bag of flour, for example, just to cause mass panic.

The Solution

Locate the Drone and Pilot

AeroDefense’s stadium drone detection solution, AirWarden™, detects and locates both drones and controllers simultaneously.

The system detects and locates most manufacturers’ devices, including home-made kit or modified drones, and does not rely on a product library (can detect devices the system has never seen before).

Alert the Appropriate Personnel

Once located, the system sends alerts to security personnel via command console, text or email. Alerts can also be sent to local law enforcement for a coordinated response.

Review Detection Events

Users with access to reporting functionality can easily select and download information about a specific detection event, any number of detection events, and a summary of all devices detected.

Users can also create an incident report of multiple detections with only a few clicks.

Does Not Violate Federal Privacy Laws

AirWarden uses Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum sensing to monitor frequency bands and identify the presence or absence or drone signals.

This means the system does not intercept or view the content of any private radio communication, not even a drone time stamp.

Proven Effective in High RF Environments

Stadium drone detection, like in any urban environment, can be difficult. It’s cluttered. Other moving objects, like birds and trash being carried on a breeze, make radar ineffective. And the amount of radio frequency (RF) background noise can be intense. There are signals from cell phones, wireless networks, metal detectors, dashcams, and during NFL tailgating, even WiFi enabled grills. Which makes it hard to isolate drone signals. And the many obstacles (like cars and buses in a parking lot) change the behavior of drone signals and make it particularly difficult to detect and locate the pilot.

What’s more, most drone detection systems were developed in wide open spaces, like the desert. They weren’t designed to detect drones and controllers in a busy urban environment

Because AirWarden was developed in New Jersey, it’s designed to filter out other signals in the environment. So the system can detect and locate, even in urban areas where there are many competing RF signals.

AirWarden has been commercially deployed at MetLife Stadium since 2018.

Drones present a huge challenge to us every single game.’’

Cathy L. Lanier
NFL Chief Security Officer, former Police Chief for Washington, DC MPD
Source: UAS and Critical Infrastructure – Understanding the Risk, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Stadium Drone Incident Examples


German professional sports club accused of spying on opponent using drone (December 2018)

Property Damage

Drone crashes into Las Vegas stadium causing $10,000 in damage (November 2020)

Game Delay

Drone landed on the field during a Cubs/Indians game (September 2020)

Fan Injury

Drone crashes into stands at Padres/Diamondbacks game (May 2017)

Item Dropped

An unauthorized drone dropped Swastika flyers outside an Ariana Grande concert (May 2019)