12 Unexpected Things That Were Banned From Sports Stadiums

Heading to the big game? You may need to leave these items at home.

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Think grilling and drinking before the big game is half the fun? MetLife Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLVII, decided to ban tailgating from the parking lot this year. Visitors will be able to eat and drink in their car, and within the boundary of their individual parking space. But grills, lounge chairs, and taking up more than one parking space is not allowed. 


The University of Michigan banned marshmallows from its football stadium after rowdy students began throwing stale versions of the candy at each other. Officials said the practice is dangerous, especially when multiple mallows are mashed together, resulting in a concoction that can be “as hard as a golf ball."

Certain Songs

Certain SongsiStock/Thinkstock
In 2012, football giant Penn State University decided to ban the song "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond from playing during their football games. (Some fans suspected the school felt that certain lyrics were inappropriate, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal; school officials claim the ban has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song.) Other bans have included the song "Rock and Roll Part 2" in stadiums as diverse as North Carolina public schools and Super Bowl XLVI.


AlcoholRyan Pierse/Getty Images
In Brazil, host country to the World Cup in 2014, there is an existing ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in soccer stadiums, and there have been discussions to enforce similar laws across Europe. However, according to the Moscow News, Russian lawmakers have started talks about relaxing the country's ban of selling beer in time for the World Cup 2018, which it will host.


According to Reuters, certain baseball games have sections that are designated peanut-free, to accommodate attendees with allergies. "[A] peanut-controlled game day means offering an isolated section of around 100 seats that have been thoroughly cleaned, banning the sale of nuts nearby, posting signs and ushers around to make fans aware of the nut-free zone and keeping medical staff close for emergencies." Other stadiums have dedicated areas across the season, reported the Huffington Post.

Paper Airplanes

Paper AirplanesiStock/Thinkstock
In 1974, Cleveland Browns fan Dale Cox personally petitioned for a ban on paper airplanes at the Browns' stadium. “It appears that one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes," Cox wrote. "There is risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes…It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated…” The Browns' attorney wrote back: "Dear Mr. Cox, I feel that you should be aware that some [jerk] is signing your name to stupid letters." 

Cow Bells

Cow BellsiStock/Thinkstock
In 1974 the Southeastern Conference banned cowbells, a traditional noisemaker used at Mississippi State University sporting events, calling the clanging a "disruption." However, the SEC revisited the topic and voted to allow MSU fans to ring bells during pre-game, timeouts, halftime, and after the team scores.  


So that’s why ponchos are so popular! Almost all large sports stadiums ban umbrellas because they disrupt the view of other spectators, and can be dangerous when used incorrectly.  

Beach Balls

Beach BallsiStock/Thinkstock
Beach balls are banned from most stadiums because of their potential to interrupt games and distract players when the inflatable inevitably lands on the field. Fans have also been injured by other attendees leaping across seats for their chance to give the ball a swipe.


Parents, be prepared to carry your kids. Many sports venues prohibit the use of strollers inside the stadium. 

Laser Pointers

Laser PointersiStock/Thinkstock
Experts say laser pointers can cause eye damage if stared at for several seconds, but the rays of red, blue, yellow, green, or violet light are more likely to distract athletes during important moments. In April 2012, a teenager was arrested at a St. Louis Cardinals game for shining a laser on the field; and the Russian Football Union recently banned the devices after fans tried to shine light into the goalkeeper's eyes during a game. 


The NFL's Stadium Bag Policy bans any bag larger than four-and-a-half inches by six-and-a-half inches. Visitors are encouraged to carry their items in a small clutch, their pockets, or clear plastic bags.

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