The company that manages the British arena where a suicide bomber killed and wounded people leaving an Ariana Grande concert Monday night is based in Montgomery County.
SMG, which has its world headquarters in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, released a statement about Monday night’s incident at Manchester Arena that left 22 dead, including children, and 59 injured:
"On Monday evening at approximately 10:30 p.m. (BST) an incident occurred in a public space outside of Manchester Arena as attendees were exiting the Ariana Grande concert. Arena management continues to assist law enforcement officials in their investigation. Any questions should be directed to the Manchester Police Department. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of this tragic incident."
The Manchester Arena is one of dozens of properties in the United States — including Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center; Reading, Pennsylvania’s Santander Arena; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Sands Bethlehem Event Center and the Wildwoods Convention Center — Europe and the Caribbean managed by SMG.
"The fact that they hit a concert I think is more coincidental," said international security expert, author and Rutgers political science associate professor Wojtek Wolfe. "There are so many soft targets out there."
That doesn’t mean that larger venues aren’t taking security measures, like pat-downs and metal detectors, to prevent any weapons from getting inside. Attackers, however, can target people outside the security perimeter.
"What you're seeing both in the West and the Middle East is ... more and more bombers targeting outside the perimeter," Wolfe said.
No one at SMG or other Philadelphia-based event management companies would comment about specific security measures. AN SMG spokesman did pointed out that the bombing occurred outside the arena in a public space.
Wolfe said that the likelihood of a venue being attacked is "very slim." But there are measures you can take to ensure you are ready in case of an emergency.
"It's always important to practice situational awareness," Wolfe said. "Always know the details of the event that you are going to, always have an emergency plan of where you are going to meet people in your party if they get separated and always have a backup and alternative."
Live Nation, which operates various Philadelphia venues said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident."