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Friday, October 1, 2010

Ramble On: Reliant Punishes Tailgating Fans for Shoddy Parkmanship

I read the news today. Oh. Boy.  Last night while I was stinking it up at Palace Lanes (no, I have not been on some bean binge, I just cannot seem to bowl well, at all), I received an e-mail from KatieBelle.  No wonder I couldn't bowl for crap, I was highly disgruntled.  The Texans announced an immediate change to their tailgating policy on account of the Cowboys game was crowded and parking was scarce. I find this change to be completely ridiculous, my comments will follow.   Here is the change:

New Policy: The Houston Texans announced a new revision to their gameday ticket policy. Effective immediately the Houston Texans will require all fans who wish to enter Reliant Stadium or its parking lots to possess a gameday ticket. (Note to Reliant and the Houston Texans: You have not been checking tailgaters for adequate parking passes since 2002.  Perhaps you should be enforcing your own damn rules.  Maybe then, the issue would not be so great.  After all, you don't over sell parking passes? Right?).
Who’s affected: Non-ticketed guests, season ticket holders that bring guests to tailgate, season ticket holders that sell or give away their tickets and still plan to come to the game to tailgate.  (Note: if you have someone stoking the pit and cooking up some fresh boudin and chicken wings for after the game, that's kinda all over with)

Why the New Policy: Our tailgating environment is intended for the enjoyment of our game attendees and we invest significant time, money and other resources to make this experience exceptional. Non-ticketed visitors that tailgate on the Reliant Park campus put a significant strain on facility resources intended for use by game attendees, create increased traffic congestion for game attendees, setup tailgates in parking spaces without parking passes thereby displacing game attendees with valid parking passes and require the services of EMT, Police, and Parking Staff that should be focused on serving our game attendees.  (Note: The new policy is really going into effect because - and I've been a PSL holder since they were "NFL 2002" and had no name - the parking lot has not been properly "parked" in several years.  Why just this preseason Cowboys game, the attendants were not effeciently parking cars.  No one ensures that all spaces are filled and many were totally empty in the Orange Lot for the Cowboys game 09/26 when I arrived at 10:00 a.m.  No vehicle, no tailgate, no lawn chair - just wide open spaces.  While the parking attendants half-heartedly wave orange flags and play "kick the dirt")

When it’s effective: The new policy is effective immediately and will begin to be enforced starting with the October 10th Home game against the New York Giants.  (Hey, again, thank you for killing tailgating!!!  You took my joy.   I want it back.)

Where it is effective: All of Reliant Park property, including but not limited to all parking lots and the stadium.

What will happen to non-ticket fans: Any fan that does not have a gameday ticket will not be permitted to enter Reliant Park Property.  (Because they are selling limited edition guest passes, like we don't pay enough money, like the tickets for disappointing, winless seasons are not punishment enough. Note by "winless" I mean no wildcard, no remote shot at playoffs.)

How will we enforce this policy: Fans who try to enter Reliant Park grounds on Houston Texans gamedays will be required to present a ticket upon request. (So, the traffic that is usually backed up and snarled will be less like the 610 Loop at Westheimer around 5pm and more like an L.A. freeway at rush hour - hope nobody's car overheats and dies in the process)

To Summarize, you must have either a game ticket or a tailgate guest ticket to enter and remain on Reliant Park grounds on gamedays.

What if a Season Ticket Holder would like to bring a guest to tailgate for a game? We will make available a tailgate guest ticket to season ticket holders for $10 per ticket per game, via their online season ticket account manager. There will be up to 2000 of these passes available for each game. Each season ticket holder will only be able to acquire up to 4 for any given game until the limit is reached.  (Again, sucking even more money out of the fans who support the team? Seriously folks, that is not even one guest pass per season ticket holder? Really?  Nice reward for the proverbial best fans in the NFL.  Thanks.  'Preciatcha)

Can a tailgate guest ticket be forwarded or reprinted? No. These tailgate guest tickets cannot be forwarded or reprinted. They must be treated like cash and will not be replaced for any reason.  (Hell, these things must be "Golden Tickets", doopity do. Do you have another oompah for me too?)

Will the Season Ticket Holder be responsible for the actions of their tailgate guest ticket holder? Yes. The Season Ticket Holder who purchased the tailgate guest ticket will be held responsible for the actions of their guest. If a disturbance occurs the Season Ticket Holder will be subject to removal from the property, revocation of their season ticket and/or parking pass.  (Are we not all adults here?  In my world we are each responsible for our own actions and their consequences.)

Does this tailgate guest ticket entitle me to setup a tailgate in a parking space? No. The tailgate guest ticket only allows you to remain on property without an accompanying game ticket. You will not be allowed to setup any materials or equipment in a parking space unless you have a parking pass.  (This is not "new" it is a policy that has not been enforced or checked, even randomly, since the first year.)

What Reliant and the Houston Texans are telling fans, in summary and my opinion:

 "Thank you for supporting us.  We regret to inform you that we do not have parking staff that have actually been guiding vehicles with proper parking passes into the spaces in order to ensure that all of our paying customers have a place to park.  We had no idea that some fans buy parking passes in order to tailgate, though they don't hold season tickets.  To these fans we say, buy a ticket loser...this is not "your" gameday experience.  We have reacted in knee jerk fashion to the one busiest game day of the 2010 football season.  Although we knew fake tickets were even being sold to the game, we did not adequately prepare for the sheer fervor and popularity of this once every couple years event.  We were not staffed to handle a Texas Superbowl.  We had no idea there were so damn many people in Houston who were either Cowboy or Texan fans.  And we made no effort to park all of these fans properly. In the spirit of making more money off of our fans, who would rather tailgate and have affordable food and drink, we are supplementing our concession losses with guest pass gains.  Thank you for your support, we look forward to dotting your financial eye on October 10th."

Ask yourself this question people.  If there were no parking spaces available for people with valid parking passes, who screwed that pooch?  Just curious.

Now, as highly disgruntled as I am, I will continue to buy the dang tickets and the dratted parking pass.  But, you be forewarned.  That Tailgater of the Year contest is gonna consist of a bunch of table hibachis and hot dogs.

Ed. Note:  I have read a bunch of comments on the Houston Chronicle website.  Many address, drunken and disorderly.  Now, rather than sell guest passes and punishing those of us who just wanna have fun (yeah, I am a girl, btw), how about parking one of those HPD Paddy Wagons at the 'Dome and generating some county monies off these derelicts, instead?  It's like hearing people are gathering to protest, the likes of which are rather law-breaking, and not being there to haul them all to the clink.  Or, is that just too easy?

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