Cutting Through the (March) Madness: How to Spot Legitimate Press Passes

March Madness is upon us and that means we’ll all be picking our favorite college basketball teams to make it to the Final Four and (hopefully) put a little cash our pockets, too. But, while many of us are busy picking brackets in the office, there’s another game that’s going on behind the scenes when it comes to covering the games.

Fake press passes are big business when it comes to major sporting events but, they can end up costing the holder big bucks and land those who produce them in some pretty hot water. Though most of those in possession of fake press passes tend to be enthusiastic fans, the consequences of letting the wrong person behind the scenes can be catastrophic. As an event organizer, it’s important to make sure your employees know how to differentiate legitimate media passes from counterfeit, even if you aren’t hosting one of the largest sporting events of the year.

PRESS Pass credentials

What are press pass credentials?

Press pass cards (also known as press badges or access passes) give journalists and other media professionals such as photographers, reporters and bloggers special access to events. The level of access can range anywhere from front row seating to backstage access. At sporting events, press pass holders can gain access to coaches and athletes for interviews, sound bites and behind-the-scenes coverage.

How are legitimate press passes identified?

The look and design of your press passes will probably vary from one issuing institution to another. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any industry standards for legitimate issuing organizations to adhere to. For instance, industry standard press badges are about the size of a credit card and tend to be made of hard, non-flexible plastic. One of the ways to deter counterfeits is by issuing holders with a custom press pass each calendar year.

What kind of security features should press passes have?

Many issuing agencies include security features and custom artwork on their badges to make them unique and harder to forge. Security features can include barcodes and RFID applications to help keep unauthorized visitors out of high security areas such as locker rooms, lounges and court-side seating areas.

In addition, if you are purchasing media badges for an annual event, you may want to consider changing the artwork each year. This makes expired and forged id badges easier to spot plus, many media professionals like to keep their press passes as a trophy. So, it pays to design your sporting event’s press passes to impress considering that they’ll be around long after the event.

So, hopefully we’ve cleared up some of the (March) madness around spotting legitimate press credentials. If you need custom access passes for your sporting or entertainment event, be sure to drop us a line – we design, produce and ship custom event badges all from our workshop located right here in the U.S.A.