The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they will now be offering free parking, during the remainder of the 2013 postseason, to any car with four or more passengers. This is amazing news to every Dodger fan that has had to deal with the expensive parking prices over the years.
There are many reason to why the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to offer this promotion. The main reason is that after the NLDS series, they realized that accommodating the cars of nearly 55,000 fans (20,000 cars) is impossible. It’s a simple capacity problem for the stadium. There just isn’t enough room to park the cars and anyone who has been to a game knows that it could take 30 minutes to an hour to get out of a full parking lot at Dodger Stadium.
Another reason the organization is doing this is because they want to help promote ride-sharing and carpooling. Recently there has been a big push in Los Angeles for carpools and ride-sharing. Los Angeles is known by many as a place of bumper-to-bumper traffic and intense smog. The city is trying to push for a better environment. This requires less private transportation on the roads in order to reduce the smog as well as congestion on the freeways.
But the most interesting reason I can see behind this promotion comes down to money and the term “house money”. When you go to a sporting event you know that the money spent on the ticket is just the beginning. In addition to money spent on the ticket, you also expect to spend money on parking, food and merchandise. Now that one of those additional costs is removed, you, as a fan, realize that you are able to spend more money. This is what many gamblers refer to as “house money”. Many casinos offer promotions that are match plays. This is where you can bet $25 of the casinos money as long as you also bet the same amount or more of your own. The casinos like this because it gets you to the table and they know that the majority of people will not play just one hand. “House Money” is also used by gamblers to rationalize staying at the tables longer than they know they should. When a gambler has won money, they figure that they can continue to play longer because they are playing with the casino’s money.
This “House Money” way of thinking will also apply to fans who take advantage of this promotion at the upcoming playoff games. Fans were expecting to spend a certain amount of money at the game and now they have more they can spend inside the stadium. A fan who saved $10 on parking is going to be more willing to buy that second beer ($13.25) than a fan who had to spend that money before they got into the stadium.
It will be interesting to see how much fan satisfaction, because of a less stressful parking situation, and concession sales, because of “house money”, will increase during the postseason. My guess is that both will increase moderately. But don’t expect to see this promotion to continue past the 2013 postseason. The Dodgers are making way to much money on parking to stop charging all together and they will not face the capacity problems during the season. Oh and they also owe former owner, Frank McCourt, $15 Million for the rights to use the parking lot.
For the original article written by Steve Dilbeck in the LA Times, click here.