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AEG to provide increased security at L.A. Live for any remaining Stanley Cup games

By Omar Shamout
Published: Friday, June 08, 2012, at 05:17PM

Fans can once again expect increased security at L.A. Live during any future Stanley Cup Finals games. Erika Aguilar/KPCC

General managers of both The Yard House and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at L.A. Live said Friday that AEG will provide increased security during any remaining Stanley Cup Finals games to better maintain crowd control at the entertainment complex.

Ryan Rossi, general manager of the Yard House, said AEG worked with all of the restaurants in the complex individually to figure out a more efficient way to control pedestrian traffic for Game 5 and beyond (if necessary).

“We’ve come up with a better game plan of how we’re going to maneuver the crowds and the lines. We’re going to work together as a team to try and control the lines a little bit better and control the walkways so they can be clear at all times,” Rossi told Blogdowntown.

Rossi said this would be achieved through an increased presence of AEG security officers known as “red coats,” and security guards hired directly by the restaurant.

“They [AEG] are going to control the entry into the restaurant, and I will also have security guards down here controlling the line and where it ends and when we’re going to cut the line off for capacity,” he said.

Tammy Billman, general manager of Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, said fans should expect a greater police presence in addition to more private security.

“I know they’ve upped LAPD officers and I know they’ve upped L.A. Live security as well. We are actually looking at – not for Saturday’s game – but for Monday, if we go another game, to bring in a couple of security assistants for ourselves,” Billman said.

LAPD Public Information Officer, Cleon Joseph said any decision to clear the plaza as they did on Wednesday will be a “judgment call.” He said officers have no plans to immediately vacate the area once restaurants reach capacity.

“We don’t predict the future. All those things have to be assessed as they happen,” Joseph said.

Both Rossi and Billman said their restaurants were filled to capacity hours before the puck dropped at Staples Center and stayed that way late into the night. They each said fans who couldn’t find a seat at any of the L.A. Live eateries gathered around the outdoor patios to watch the game on televisions set up for their patrons.

Rossi estimated that 300 people crammed into walkways surrounding the Yard House to try and watch the game, while Billman said a crowd of people 30-rows deep congregated directly in front of Wolfgang Puck.

As a result, LAPD asked all restaurants to turn off their outdoor televisions in order for the crowd to disperse.

Rossi said that put him in a tough position since watching live sports is a big portion of the restaurant’s appeal.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of our ambience and half our crowd is on the patio, so we did end up turning off our TVs in the intermissions and on some of the commercials,” Rossi said.

But Rossi said he made sure none of his customers missed any on-ice action.

“We didn’t have to turn them off for any portion of the game,” he said.

Billman’s guests weren’t as fortunate. She decided to turn off all of the televisions at Wolfgang Puck – both inside and out – for part of the game. Billman said the only other time she recalls having to do that was during the U.S. vs. Mexico Gold Cup soccer final last summer.

Billman said she doesn’t know whether she’ll have to do it again on Saturday.

“At this point, no, I have no idea. They are again leaving it up to us, but they will have a better control of the crowd this time around.”

Rossi was adamant, however, that the Yard House screens will remain on throughout the game.

“We are not going to turn off the TVs. This plan should be in place … where everyone is going to be able to watch the TVs that are on the patio,” Rossi said.

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