Many sporting events have become all-day spectacles. Just tune in on any Saturday for college football and any Sunday for pro football and see just how early you can begin getting your fix for the day. Major League Baseball stadiums also get plenty of tailgating action, although not quite as pronounced in a sport that plays 81 homes games.
But when it comes to Opening Day of the baseball season across the United States, you better believe those tailgaters are gearing up … likely about now on how to throw their party at their favorite team’s stadium.
Arlington, Texas, is home to the Texas Rangers and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be the scene for the team’s Opening Day contest on April 5 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The game will also mark the return of former Ranger Josh Hamilton in an Angels’ uniform in what is sure to be a charged atmosphere.
In anticipation of the frenzy of April 5, the Rangers announced that tailgaters must have tickets to the game to gain entrance to the parking lots. In addition, fans cannot stay in the parking lots past the second inning. Oh, and portable toilets will no longer be available.
“This has primarily been an Opening Day and post-season issue for us, but we will keep the rules in place during the season and enforce if needed,” said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of ballpark operations.
Indeed, just as people can plop down on the couch in the morning, turn on the television and watch sports non-stop throughout the day, so too do tailgaters act in much the same way, staking out their parking lot spot hours before the game starts and staying beyond when the game ends. Who is to say the day won’t come when new venue construction includes designated tailgating lots?
“I think it is very reasonable to consider,” said Matwick, “but there is a bigger issue. We’re doing this to try to maintain parking for our guests that have tickets to the game. If you have your tickets, there is no issue coming onto the lots and tailgating before and after the game. We’re trying to eliminate people who just want to pay to park and then carry on an all-day party in the lots. There’s a big difference and not because we’re opposed to tailgating.”
Matwick added that there are a number of other facilities that have similar rules in place. As for the Rangers, Matwick said that, “We encourage responsible tailgating on our parking lots for people that have tickets to our games.”
How does your venue deal with tailgating? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me the rules and policies you have in place.