I was heading to a hockey game recently, meeting up with a friend at the arena. On my way to the arena, I obviously had to figure out a parking strategy. Parking is one area where team fans and concert goers pay on a sliding scale, based on the event. Fortunately in this case, since it was the middle of the work week, and the event was a minor league hockey game, I estimated parking prices should be somewhat reasonable and reduced from the standard costs for the major league sports games. Although I realize it is a necessary evil for most sporting events and concerts, paying a high premium to park my car while attending an event always bothers me. The costs of event parking can be reduced if you take a few variables into account.
You face better odds of reducing your parking costs if you know the area. If you are familiar with the area where the event is taking place, you may be able to find a parking lot that has a reduced rate. In addition, parking your car farther away from the venue and walking an extra block or three can help you save significantly on parking fees. Parking lots closest to event venues are able to charge higher fees due to the perceived convenience of proximity. This convenience can be lost due to longer wait times when exiting the parking lot after the event. Of course, please take safety into account – never sacrifice personal safety to save a few dollars. If a parking lot does not look safe, it’s better to pay a higher cost for a well-lighted lot and pedestrian traffic.
Ascertain the logistics of the event. Is the event a major league event? If so, you will most likely pay a higher premium than if it is a minor league game. My experiences are that when it comes to professional football games, parking lots are all consistent – and consistently higher – in their costs, versus a major league baseball or basketball games, which have a tendency to vary more by lot due to the length of the season. Parking for all of the major sports, of course, can be affected by the time of the season and playoffs. Opening Day or Opening Game parking costs are generally higher than the middle of the season, and playoff games always draw premium parking prices. Are you attending a concert? How prolific is the artist? Lesser known artists perform at smaller venues, which may be provide a lesser parking fee. Is the event during the week or weekend? These factors can all affect your parking costs.
In the case of the hockey game, I was able to cut my parking costs in half by parking one extra block away from the venue, and enjoy the extra few minutes of walking. The added bonus was that exiting the parking garage after the game didn’t take much time, since fan attendance during weekday games is reduced dramatically. Please know that for major events, sports or otherwise, you will not always be able to avoid the high costs of parking. If you have lived in an area for a while, odds are you have a place you like to park. It is possible save money on parking costs if you pay attention to the area and event logistics.