How To Adhere To Stadium and Festival Bag Policies


It’s that time of year when weekends are packed with football games, tailgates, concerts, music festivals, and many, many other outdoor activities we missed last fall.

As you toss your sunglasses and wallet into your bag ahead of the next big weekend event, you may want to double-check whether that tote or backpack is allowed in the stadium you’re going to. Many stadiums and event spaces limit the size of a bag attendees are allowed to carry in, as a means of providing a safer environment and expediting fan entry into the space.

Consider the NFL, which a few years ago implemented a clear bag policy that limits the size and type of bag that fans are permitted to carry in. Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” in size. Small clutch bags that don’t exceed 4.5” x 6.5” in size are allowed. 

Fans are allowed to bring in items normally allowed in the stadium, such as phones, cameras, and binoculars, as well as blankets when it starts to get chilly. The rules are more focused on bag type than on specific items you’d usually bring into a game or concert, so if your keys, wallet, makeup, and credit cards fit in your pockets, you’re good to go.

Why the change? The Committee on Stadium Security and Fan Conduct “strongly believed” it made sense to adjust its policies “to enhance public safety and make stadium access more efficient by limiting the size and style of bags carried into the stadium.”

If attendees’ bags are clear, security officials can more easily see what’s inside and ensure nobody is bringing anything dangerous or illegal into the venue. Of course, stadiums have exceptions for medically necessary items, which if needed in a larger bag can be inspected and tagged to bring in. What happens if you show up with a non-compliant bag? The NFL says you’ll be turned away, though it’s encouraging stadiums to provide bag checks for these situations.

It’s worth noting these are general rules, and you should double-check the specific guidelines for your specific venue before heading out. But the NFL isn’t the only organization with bag policies, and many major venues will limit the size of the purse you bring in. New York City’s Madison Square Garden, for example, says bags must fit comfortably under the seat and oversized bags larger than 22” x 14” x 9” are prohibited. 


For quick reference, our Original SPIbeltLarge Pocket and SPI Crossbody are a great choice for stadiums, festivals and the like because they are small, discreet but not clear so you can bring in items without everyone staring at what you're carrying around. (Especially if you need personal items like tampons.) Plus, you can be hands-free to cheer on your favorite team or throw your hands in the air to groove to the music.