2013 BCS National Championship and Silly Rules About Parking

Posted on January 5, 2013 | in Football, Lean Wastes, Overprocessing, Sports, Tickets | by

bcs national championship 2013 notre dame alabama

As a lifelong lover of all things Notre Dame (for example, using them as examples in previous articles), I cannot put into words my level of excitement for the 2013 BCS National Championship on Monday. Because it’s been 24 years since ND has played for the national championship in college football and because the game is about as close as it could possibly be, I’m heading to Miami for the game with the Notre Dame Club of Augusta/Aiken. Unfortunately I don’t have a ticket in hand, so my plan is to simply park and hang out in the gameday atmosphere at Sun Life Stadium with all the other Notre Dame faithful and hope ticket prices from scalpers start to fall.

Unfortunately, this email came down from the Orange Bowl yesterday, or three days before the game (just an excerpt):

College football fans are advised that you must have a game ticket to park at Sun Life Stadium. Vehicles carrying non ticket holding patrons will not be permitted to park at the stadium on game day.

Wait, what? Where did they get this rule? I understand that Miami will be an absolutely crazy mess on Monday due to the huge fan bases of each team, but the intent of this rule and its ramifications are extremely questionable.

The intent is to make sure ticket-holding patrons have space in the lot and to keep out tailgaters that will take up space unnecessarily. That makes sense but is there a problem with parking capacity? Has the stadium asked that question before putting the rule into place? Was this rule in place for this past Monday’s Orange Bowl?

However, how easily is this rule enforceable? Here are some scenarios that could unfold.

– What if a car without ticket holders didn’t get the email? If they are turned away from the lot, how will they get out through the expected crazy traffic? It’s like trying to deflect fire hose water back through the supply stream – good luck.

(Of all the scenarios, this one appears to be the biggest problem – this is the opposite of “preaching to the choir” – because the communication is going to the wrong segment of customers. Folks with tickets don’t need to be told they need a ticket to park. It’s those without tickets that need to hear the message. The Orange Bowl can expect to see a slew of turnaways at the parking gates because of ignorance of the “new rule.”)

– What if you already bought a parking pass for the game ahead of time without tickets? Parking passes were available online through the Orange Bowl website. Would that be money down the drain for those without tickets?

– What if you had a vehicle with five people but four tickets? I guess the fifth guy could get out and walk.

– What if you have your tickets at will call and don’t have a parking pass? Will the parking attendant radio up to will call to see if you do have tickets? And what if you have another friend with your tickets but they aren’t in the car with you?

– What if you have intentions of buying tickets but don’t have them yet?

– What about RV’s? Most RV riders will arrive without tickets and will plan to tailgate. Will the RV be disallowed?

Notre Dame Tailgaters


I think it’s entirely possible that the Orange Bowl put together this rule to dissuade non-holders of tickets from parking…which essentially makes the rule a farce. If you’re going to make a rule, it needs to be fully enforced. Otherwise, don’t have a rule.

And another question: why would the Orange Bowl want to enforce this? Every car they turn away is money out of their pocket. So what if a car wants to tailgate – is that a problem? Is the expectation that there will be significant car traffic in and around the parking lots? I don’t think so – everyone will be parked and having fun, and won’t leave until the game is over.

Enforcing the rule to cover all of the above scenarios would entail checking every car for tickets, radioing up to will call to confirm the car has tickets, making sure every patron has tickets, checking parking passes or taking money…it sounds like the Orange Bowl has added a lot of steps to an already congesting process. Sounds like overprocessing to me!

By putting in a rule they hoped would decrease traffic, they will essentially be making the congestion worse.

I plan on testing this process on Monday. I will report back.

(And Go Irish.)

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7 Responses to “2013 BCS National Championship and Silly Rules About Parking”

  1. Mark Graban says:

    As somebody NOT going to the game, I can understand the intent of the rule – making sure they have enough parking spaces for actual game attendees. The rule itself isn’t silly… but enforcing it would be a real bear.

    But, as you point out, there are many flaws. If they were selling parking passes to non ticket holders, that’s just ludicrous if they now want to deny those people from the lot.

    It could be that the “rule” and any public communication is just meant to scare off people and keep parking space demand down. I agree they should only create rules they want to enforce, but maybe this was the best they could come up with in a reactive problem solving situation.

    It would be better if they had been proactive and planned better… or hopefully the Orange Bowl and future BCS games learn from this.

    Good luck… hope you have fun and hope you can get in at a reasonable price.

  2. Chad Walters says:

    Thanks, Mark.

    I’m calling it a silly rule because of the actual enforcement. I genuinely don’t expect enforcement to be as tight as the email suggests, but I expect to be even looser as the day wears on because the parking attendants will see how much of a bear it is to turn away all these cars that didn’t get the message.

    The intent of the rule isn’t silly, but why have a rule that isn’t going to be fully enforced? Of course, I could be way wrong and they will have the process locked down tight.

    • Mark Graban says:

      I agree they won’t be able to enforce it. But why have the rule? Again, I think it’s to scare SOME people away… those who won’t think through how tough it would be to actually enforce. They want to keep demand for parking down, not keep out all of the non-ticket holders, I bet.

      The thinking might have been:

      1) Oh crap, we are going to be overwhelmed and some ticket holders won’t be able to park

      2) How we prevent non-ticket holders from getting in?

      3) We can’t

      4) OK, how do we scare away as many non-ticket holders as possible?

      5) Create a “rule” and spread it through the media

      You’re right that a message to ticket holders is silly… but I’d hope it’s just one prong of their communication strategy, including major local media and the schools to communicate to their fan bases.

      Just saying “My ticket is in will call” should be enough to get you past the gate.

      On another note, how much are they charging for parking? I’m sure it’s ridiculous. When my father-in-law attended the Fiesta Bowl last year, we had my wife and mother-in-law just drop us off and pick us up… to save time and money, I guess.

  3. Mike says:

    I’m in Miami from Canada. I’m with two guys that have tickets. We have a parking pass. I am going to grab my ticket while tailgating. This will be interesting if they choose to enforce this rule.

  4. Pingback: Tailgating at the 2013 BCS National Championship in Miami | Lean Blitz – Do it better.

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