Verizon Center To Prohibit Fans Bringing in Food

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fans may no longer bring food or beverages into Verizon Center from outside the arena, according to a spokesman for Washington Sports & Entertainment, the facility's majority owner.

"We're one of the last arenas to do this," said Verizon Center spokesman Matt Williams , adding that the move was made to "add to the safety of our patrons and comply with current industry standards."

Verizon Center, which opened in December 1997, had allowed fans to bring in beverages and small amounts of food until this past Labor Day. The arena began searching fans' bags and packages following Sept. 11, 2001.

"We have changed our search procedures periodically and we continue to look at it on the advice of law enforcement," Williams said. "Concession sales did not figure into our decision."

Verizon Center is home to the NBA's Washington Wizards, the NHL's Capitals and the WNBA's Mystics, and host to numerous other events. The ban covers all events inside the arena, Williams said.

The Washington Redskins have prohibited fans from bringing food and beverages into FedEx Field since it opened in 1997. The Washington Nationals allow patrons to bring in small quantities of food and to carry up to one liter of water in clear, plastic bottles into RFK Stadium, according to a spokesperson.

-- Thomas Heath

© 2006 The Washington Post Company