Fans attending Tuesday night’s NBA preseason game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors were urged to leave early.
University of Hawaii officials warned the public to expect increased traffic and parking at and around the Stan Sheriff Center.
This after many fans left Sunday’s preseason game upset and frustrated. Hundreds couldn’t get in until after the first quarter or later because of security.
Some said it took so long to get into the center, they missed the entire first half.
Eric Irwin was one of the fans who took advantage of AEG’s offer for a complimentary ticket to Tuesday’s game after experiencing what he described was “just a nightmare” to get into the arena on Sunday.
“We got here around 3:50 (p.m.) and we were waiting in line and it was backed up probably all the way to the parking garage, and so it was moving really slow. People were cutting and everything,” Irwin said of his Sunday experience. “There was absolutely no organization out here. There were no ropes, no staff telling us, ‘We opened up another gate,’ or maybe we should go this way, absolutely no direction. By the time we got to the gate, they were checking one person at a time. I’m sure it’s not their fault. The employees were very nice, patient, but there was no organization.”
Many were unaware of how tight security would be.
“We didn’t know there were going to be metal detectors, and we didn’t know the pace that they were going to be letting people in, but I did read something about backpacks, so my wife and I did leave those in the car so we were able to avoid that issue, but still it was just extremely slow and completely disorganized,” Irwin said. “I don’t think there was any thought put into what happened outside of the gates.”
With more than 8,000 people expected to attend Tuesday, fans started lining up at 3:45 p.m. for the 7 p.m. game.
Gates opened at 5 p.m. and there was extra security for ticket-holders, as required by the NBA.
No backpacks, hard-sided bags, and bags larger than 14″x14″x6″ were allowed into the arena. All bags were searched.
KHON2 reached out to the promoters but they declined to talk on camera. They did, however, issue a statement in regard to the changes made for Tuesday’s game.
AEG Facilities said additional measures were taken to avoid Sunday’s long lines and backlog.
“The Stan Sheriff in conjunction with AEG will have additional staff outside the venue to assist fans with their entry into the center,” it said in a statement.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, AEG also sent information to fans asking them to come early and to check the list of prohibited items.
Julianne Balais said she’d heard about what happened on Sunday on social media, so she was able to prepare for Tuesday.
“I was reading the prohibited items, so I did look to see exactly what to bring and what not to bring,” Balais said, “so I definitely packed light, brought whatever I needed. Whatever I did not need, I left at home.”
In addition to listing items that would not be allowed, event coordinators opened gates A and B for Tuesday’s game. On Sunday, only one gate was open for entry.
“Now we’re coming back today and I have my daughter with me,” Erwin said. ” We had a babysitter arranged on Sunday, but today was short notice. I’m grateful we got tickets, but at the same time, we’re buying another seat to bring our daughter.”