Normally I am all for preserving the rights of tailgaters but this story needs a little bit of reality injected for my FedEx partying brethren. The Washington Post has an article about changes the Redskins are making in their tailgating policies.
“The most significant new procedure will have parking attendants directing fans who wish to tailgate in more than one space to the back of lots, where they will be allowed to occupy two spaces until required for additional vehicles,” the team said. “Fans who wish to only park, or tailgate within their single parking spot, will be directed to the front of lots, filling the lot from front to back.”
This caused immediate outrage among the Redskins tailgating community on message boards and local websites. Before Redskins Nation loses its mind, I think they need to realize a few very important things.
#1 Football is a business and those parking spaces are a commodity. As a regular Baltimore Ravens tailgater who has attended more than a few Skins games, I can honestly say that they have had it better than most NFL fans do at their stadiums. At M&T Bank stadium, parking spaces are next to impossible to obtain and when you are lucky enough, you are confined to that spot for all of your tailgating needs. You really should not be surprised that ole Danny Boy wants to take full advantage of his parking revenue.
#2 I work for a company with a luxury box at FedEx Field so I parked in the Purple Lot in front of the stadium. I have to say that I’ve never seen a bigger cluster f%ck in my life. One family can literally park their vehicle in one spot, put up a tent in another, chairs in another and games/grills in another. They also can spread out as much as possible so when you are driving through to find a spot, you get nothing but dirty looks because they have to move their grill from the middle of the road.
#3 People are paying good money to get decent parking but can’t because of the chaos this system creates. This has forces a situation where even those who aren’t tailgating have to arrive 4-5 hours before the game if they simply want to park. The guy showing up 30 minutes before a game can’t park in his lot because you have taken 15 spots.
Others see it a little differently. “It’s ridiculous,” said Ted Abela, who arrives at the stadium around 5:30 a.m. and hosts dozens of tailgaters a few yards from the stadium entrance. “People that arrive there first and get there early are being reprimanded and moved to the back of the parking lot. And some guy that’s not even a fan, that gets there 30 minutes before the game, gets to park right in the front of the lot? It’s absurd. We pay [hundreds of dollars] to park at basically eight games, and we can’t choose our own spot, we can’t park by our friends?”
The key here is “we can’t choose our own spot, we can’t park by our friends?” According to what I read, you still get two spaces towards the back of the lot or can tailgate up front if you just plan to use your single spot. This is still better than most stadiums, sorry if you have to walk a little bit friend. If you can’t have a decent tailgate in two spots, something is definitely wrong with that. Come up to Baltimore if you want to see how the rest of the world lives. An article in SI.com took fan feedback in ranking stadium experiences across the league. The list has the Ravens tailgate at #7 (with tight parking restrictions) and the Skins at #18. As good as DC thinks they had it, you can see the majority of the fans did not feel that way.
In a follow up article , the team clarifies the procedures. If you look at the bottom, you will see many fans who agree with the new policies because the current “multiple space” tailgaters have made the experience miserable for everyone else. Bottom line is that people will get accustomed to their new way of partying and make new friends to party with. It’s going to be ok everyone-the brats will still be hot and the beer cold.