Guidelines for Photographers and Camera Operators

Guidelines for Photographers and Camera Operators: All photographers and television camera operators must stay behind the field boards at all times, unless released by the on-site photo marshal.

The only exception to the field board rule will be when a staff photographer, a national rights-holder or MLS Films has a crew at a game. These entities will be allowed to shoot from the area between the field boards and the touch lines in the area bounded by the top of the 18-yard box and the end line.

Each photographer will be permitted to use one monopod - but no tripods. No seats other than "lawn-type" photographer seats will be permitted.

Stand-alone remote units will not be permitted at any time on or around the goal posts. Units mounted on the top of field boards behind the end line will be permitted at the stadium’s discretion, provided the equipment does not interfere with the clear display of the field board and does not impede the operation of broadcast equipment.

Live television crews located on the baseline or sideline will be limited to two people - a camera operator and a cable-puller - and ENG crews will be limited to one person. In either case, the crew must maintain actual possession of the camera and any other equipment during all game action. Cameramen and cable-pullers from all television crews must remain off the playing field at all times.

ENG crews are permitted to shoot from behind the field boards in the area bounded by the top of the 18-yard box and the end line. They are permitted to shoot the first 15 minutes of each half from the field level only. ENG camera crews may not shoot the match from elevated vantage points, including from the press box. Elevated positions are reserved for broadcast rights holders only.

Photographer Access to field: Photographers and camera operators shall be permitted in the area between the field boards and the touch lines in the area bounded by the top of the 18-yard box and the end line (a C-shape that extends from the top of the 18, back behind the goal, and to the top of the 18 on the opposite side of the field). Once situated, no movement between the two halves of the field shall be permitted until halftime. Changes in this policy will be allowed in cases where stadium facilities dictate alterations. No photographers shall be allowed to move from end to end on the bench side of the field.

Photographer Identification: In addition to their regular credential, it is strongly recommended that photographers and camera crews be issued with colored bibs or armbands. This makes them easy to identify, and they would presumably enjoy quick and easy access to their designated areas. This will necessitate a special area in or near the stadium where they can pick up their bibs, on presentation of their accreditation, either the day before the match or on gameday, at the time media gates are opened. If they are not to be allowed to keep the bib, then it should be exchanged for a press card to be picked up following the game, or else signed out. It is also recommended that photographers sign an agreement when they collect their bibs that documents their agreement to follow certain conditions (e.g. only operating behind the goal-lines, not to go on the pitch, etc.). The same system should be followed with the ENG crews from broadcast outlets.

Photography Work room: A work room should be provided for photographers, near the field where appropriate, with high-speed internet access, or special connections such as ISDN (on request). The size of the room may vary, but it should be sizeable enough for at least 5 - 10 people to work on desktops/tables. Like the press section of the stands, the photographers’ work room should have sufficient electrical sockets and telephone connections, compatible with the equipment being used for transmission.

Accreditation: Care should be taken when processing credential requests for photographers shooting for commercial agencies. MLS does not permit the accreditation of photographers shooting specifically for commercial agencies other than our official photography provider (USA Today Sports Images). However, since many agencies offer editorial and commercial sales options (Getty Images, AP, Reuters, etc.) this must be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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