On Thursday, in a news release announcing the start of single-game ticket sales, the Dodgers tucked this sentence into the last paragraph: "Parking at the gate day of game is $20."
That price was $15 last year, and $10 the year before that. In a city built by the car culture, with mass transit options slowly improving but still limited, parking prices can be a sensitive issue.
When Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Dodgers in 2012, its first move was to lower the parking price, which had been raised to $15 by former owner Frank McCourt.
"This Dodger ownership continues to look for ways to make a game at Dodger Stadium the best value for your entertainment dollar," Dodgers President Stan Kasten wrote in a 2012 letter to fans. "On day one, we reduced the price of general parking from $15 to $10, making your entry into Chavez Ravine and picturesque Dodger Stadium an even more enjoyable moment."
Guggenheim returned the parking price to $15 last year, but kept the price at $10 if fans paid in advance. The reason, Kasten emphasized last spring, was that traffic would flow into the parking lots much more smoothly if attendants did not have to handle payments.
"It's not a revenue thing at all," Kasten said then. "The best thing is if everyone could get their parking pass early. This is in the name of providing an incentive."
On Thursday, after the Dodgers announced the advance parking price would remain $10 but the day-of-game price would rise to $20, we sent Kasten the following questions:
1. Does the $20 day-of-game price indicate the incentive was not great enough? If not, and if this is "not a revenue thing," why not keep the day-of-game price $15 and lower the advance price to $5?
2. What expenses justify raising the day-of-game parking price 100% in two years?
3. What percentage of single-game customers (not season-ticket or mini-plan holders) paid for parking in advance last season, as compared with the percentage at the gate?
Kasten, through a team spokesman, declined to answer any of the questions. His statement: "In 2015, attending a Dodger game will continue to be the best value for a sporting event in Los Angeles ... and among the very best values in all of Major League Baseball."