Basketball

NBA tightens arena security, changes beer policy

The NBA is limiting the size and number of beers sold during games as part of new security measures to take effect next week.

The changes are part of new league-wide arena guidelines issued Thursday, as the NBA aims to prevent another ugly brawl between players and fans.

The guidelines, effective for all NBA games starting with the Feb. 20 all-star game in Denver, deal with security, alcohol sales and fan behaviour.

The NBA deemed the moves necessary after the Nov. 19, 2004, fight that took place between players and fans in a game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The new guidelines prevent alcohol sales after the fourth quarter begins. It also restricts the size of drinks to 24 ounces and fans will only be able to buy two drinks at a time.

Arena staff will also receive training in effective alcohol management and designated driver programs will be introduced, according to the NBA.

The NBA Fan Code of Conduct, which sets forth expected standards for all fans in attendance, will be posted in all arenas.

The league says fans should expect to be treated in a professional and courteous manner and be respected and appreciated by the players. The league also states that spectators shouldn't display disruptive behaviour, which includes the use of profanity and obscene gestures.

The Pacers-Pistons brawl was one of the most violent confrontations between fans and players in sports history.

Indiana's Ron Artest raced into the seats after being hit by a cup tossed by a spectator. The incident started a melee that spilled onto the court and continued in the stands.

Artest was suspended for the rest of the NBA season, while other players were given bans as high as 30 games.

Ten players and fans were charged for fighting.

NBA commissioner David Stern called the Pistons-Pacers fight "shocking, repulsive and inexcusable – a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA."

with files from Sports Network