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Dodgers deserve no love letters over parking increase

Highway and Road TransportationServices and ShoppingTravelHoneymooningFrank McCourtDodger Stadium

Ah, such a charming valentine. A regular Hulk-sized blow to the gut. Like most romances, things seemed so much sweeter during the honeymoon. You know, last season.

But a new season beckons and the Dodgers have decided to welcome it by raising the cost to park. It’s going from $10 to $15, which is what it was before when the team was driven into bankruptcy by Frank McCourt. Who, it should be mentioned, is still half owner of the parking lots.

One of the first things Guggenheim Baseball Management did when it took over the team was to drop the cost of parking back to $10. It was a smart move, heralded by all and helped to partially separate the owners from the bitter taste of McCourt.

Now as they begin their second full season of ownership, they are immediately going backward. If you don’t purchase your parking in advance at $10, it will now cost you $15 at the gate.

The absurdity of all this is how team President Stan Kasten wrapped it around the guise of improving traffic flow. I will now pause 10 seconds to allow you to stop laughing.

The thinking is that with an incentive to purchase parking in advance, all those who do will just wiz through the gates and avoid the actual time-consuming transaction of exchanging money. Of course, if that was actually the incentive, they could have achieved the same result by just reducing the price to park for those who bought parking in advance and left the fee at the gate at 10 bucks.

It just can’t be worth the bad will generated with fans every time they drive to the ballpark and have to look up at the fee increase. Dodger Stadium holds approximately 16,000 cars. Most season-ticket holders also purchase their parking in advance. And if you figure at least some will buy in advance and on a game-day basis, how many cars are we really talking about?

If the Dodgers make an extra $5 on say 6,000 cars a game, they would generate an additional $2.4 million over the course of an 81-game regular season. In the grand scheme of their $2.15-billion purchase, that hardly seems worth the ill will the fee increase will generate.

The cost of tickets has gone up and now they have all these different pricing tiers depending on the day and opponent. And they don’t want to mail out physical tickets, which for many – particularly older fans – is causing angst.

And now a parking increase. A really bad idea.

Unlike most every other new owner, Guggenheim has done everything it said it would since it purchased the team – payroll, stadium, farm system. But now you have to wonder whether that time of laughter and roses might be nearing an end. Everyone knew the day would come when the cable bill would rise, but an unnecessary increase in parking?

Come on valentine, say the honeymoon’s not over.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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