On August 29, 2013 Paul Giblin of the Arizona Republic wrote a story about the Coyotes parking situation. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20130829free-parking-westgate-may-cost-coyotes.html . Hard core, dedicated Coyotes fans are well aware that this season there will be a parking fee for Coyotes games. They have already made clear that they are on board and comfortable with the new parking fees. They understand that it is part of their bargain to keep the Coyotes playing at Jobing.com Arena. Season ticket holders have already been charged for their parking – anywhere from $300 to $600 for the season.

What about the casual Coyotes game attendee? Giblin raised the specter of all of the free parking available in Westgate in lots not controlled by the Coyotes as an alternative that will impact expected “enhanced revenues.” I think his angst was misplaced and deliberately designed to raise an irrelevant issue.

Currently Westgate charges $10 Parking* on Cardinals Home Game Days at Westgate Entertainment District designated lots. Free parking for pre-season games.*Cash Only. Here is the link: http://westgatecitycenter.com/visitorinfo/parking/ . It is logical to expect Westgate to employ the very same system for Coyotes games. If it is not immediately instituted, it certainly will be after a game or two. If one is going to a movie, shopping or eating and not attending a game, look for some kind of rebate system. Westgate cannot allow its customer parking to be usurped by Coyotes fans looking for free parking.              

We can also expect the Cardinals to come up with a parking fee structure for Coyotes games. When the Glendale city council was considering the current ownership deal rumblings were floating that the Cardinals would charge to park (and perhaps undercut the Coyotes’ fees). The city council was well aware of those rumblings. Of course, the council knew about the proposed Coyotes’ parking fees. It was discussed publicly and in its presentation to Council estimates were made by the new ownership of how much revenue would be generated. After 20% is taken off the top by ownership for each game, the balance will become part of the “enhanced revenue” package promised to the city to recoup the additional $9M unbudgeted for the annual arena management fee.  Inevitably, all of the Westgate lots and the Cardinals’ lots will be fee for parking.  

The Cardinals include their parking fee into the cost of each ticket and assign parking lots, i.e., Red, Green, etc., to the ticket holder. A pricey ticket gets you the Red lot. A nose bleed seat gets you the Brown lot and a shuttle over to the stadium. As the former councilmember representing the Desert Mirage and La Buena Vida neighborhoods I raised the concern that fee for parking could push fans into those neighborhoods directly east and across 91st Avenue. The city agreed and established a Neighborhood Protection Program. All mega events (Cardinals’ football games, major concerts, etc.) with attendance of over 40,000 initiate neighborhood protection. Manned barricades are put up and residents have an ID placard identifying their residence in the neighborhood.  It is a system that has worked very well but even with it in place there is a small amount of fan parking that still occurs in those neighborhoods.                                                                    

Back to that casual fan that doesn’t want to pay any fee — $10, $15 or $20 to park. Coyotes’ games have a maximum attendance of nearly 18,000. That is far below the 40,000 needed to initiate the city’s Neighborhood Protection Program. If casual Coyotes fans park in large numbers in those neighborhoods there will be no manned barricades and no means of keeping those fans out of these neighborhoods. There is certain to be push back from residents.  No one wants to see that happen. Is Councilmember Chavira concerned about this issue? Who knows? He was the 4th vote of approval for the IceArizona deal. You would think he would have some clout with them. He should be asking the new ownership group to institute and to pay for the Neighborhood Protection Program for all Coyotes games. That kind of program would drive people back to the fee parking lots – resulting in a better parking payday. After all, part of being a good community partner involves protecting your neighbor from the unintended consequences of your actions. 

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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