Cleveland Browns Fans Charged $5 Each To Stand In Parking Lot

Given the team’s 1-3 start to the season, Cleveland Browns fans probably need a drink or two before settling in for a game at Browns Stadium. But that proposition just got a little pricier for those cheapskates who thought they could save a little money (and gas) by walking to the tailgate lot.

People who attempted to walk into “The Pit,” a lot where drivers already pay $30/vehicle to set up their tailgate parties, were greeted with a demand for a $5 fee.

From the blog clevelandsaplum:

when i was asked to pay the fee, i laughed, said no way, and walked away. but i didn’t get far… the attendant called a couple of cops over because there was a group of about 15 people (including my friend and i) refusing to pay.

Ultimately, people decided to pay up rather than spoil the festive mood by being forcibly removed from the lot.

Has anyone else experienced this sort of fee at other stadiums or events for just standing around the parking lot?

a $5 pedestrian fee to tailgate for a browns game? gimmie a break. []

Thanks to David for the tip!


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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Next thing you know, Russian airlines will ask you to stand while in flight. Ohh wait…

  2. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    A cover charge to hang out in a parking lot before the main event? Whatever floats your boat, I guess. If you pay it, I have serious doubts about your priorities in life…

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’ve never understood tailgating parties, but then again, I’m not a football fan.

    • spazztastic says:

      There are some venues in the NYC area (PNC in Jersey, Randall’s Island in NYC) where they tack on a parking fee to the ticket. So even if you walk to the venue (which is only possible at Randall’s Island, IINM) you are still assessed a parking fee.

    • danmac says:

      If you pay it, I have serious doubts about your priorities in life…

      Judgmental much? Many bars that have other activities (e.g. dancing, karaoke, etc.) require a cover charge, and I personally don’t believe it’s worth the cost (as I’m not a big dancer or singer), but I don’t begrudge people who think it’s worth the price.

      Also, it’s probably more cost effective to pay the fee and drink a six-pack of beer in the parking lot with your friends – not to mention cook and eat relatively inexpensive tailgating food – than it is to consume the same number of beverages at a local bar before the game.

      Finally, tailgating is a morning-long event for some people (there’s cooking, drinking, throwing around the football, meeting with people you don’t get to see often, etc.)…I’ve been to a few, and there’s definitely an enjoyable atmosphere of camaraderie.

      • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

        Yeah, I am. It has more to do with the preponderance of citizens wasting their time on professional sports when the money spent on the athletes would be better spent on education, or, you know, just about anything else.

        I wasn’t even a teenager when the baseball pay strike occurred in the 80’s, but even then I recognized how disgusting the greed was. I stopped watching baseball then. A couple years later I stopped watching basketball and football when I recognized the same greed.

        I live in a college town and I see people come from out of town each weekend throughout the various sports seasons and get plastered, litter everywhere, ignore traffic rules, urinate in public, etc. I see how inconsiderate sports fanatics are, and how rude they are to each other, so yeah, I’m a little judgmental.

        I also don’t appreciate that if I’m not attending a sports event and I want to spend time downtown, I can walk the 3 miles to my destination, or I can drive and pay $20 for “event parking” at a public parking ramp.

        Yeah, sports fanatics and profiteers can piss off as far as I’m concerned.

        • Illusio26 says:

          you do realize the most professional sports are self funded, not by your taxed. And the city makes tons of revenue off the fans.

          oh, and God forbid people take time in their life to do something they enjoy. You may be judgmental, but you are also just wrong, and bordering on an idiot.

          • apd09 says:

            You are not taking into account all of the tax free bonds they get to build the stadiums, plus the tax breaks they receive because of the amount of money they generate. yet each owner of a franchise is a billionaire who can afford to pay 600 million to build a stadium if they want but they would rather get it built by the taxpayers.

            I think the big thing in regards to this is the security and clean up efforts. All of the following numbers are a guess and not from a credible source but instead are made up to illustrate a point; If the Browns believe that 100 security guards can effectively manage an area where 300 cars with an estimated 1000 people will be tailgating (1 guard to 10 people is a normal ratio for bars and clubs) then if 3,000 people are in the lot and multiple simultaneous problems arise they do not have sufficient man power to handle the issues so they need more security. Then if the Browns anticipate it taking 3 hours to clean that area after the game based on 1,000 people and their mess, but 3,000 actual people were there then it will take longer which could mean paying over time or the entire cleaning process being delayed because more attention is needed on that one place.

            I am betting that this is all about the cost to control and clean that area, along with trying to find some additional revenue. As mentioned above most owners can afford it, but like any business if you can pass the cost along then why not?

          • smbizowner says:

            do you realize how many stadiums have been built with public tax money?

            Waite, tell me who many stadiums have been build solely with owners money.

            oh waite,

          • Blueskylaw says:

            New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had already been instrumental in the construction of taxpayer-funded minor league baseball facilities MCU Park for the Mets’ minor league Brooklyn Cyclones and Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the Staten Island Yankees. Shortly before leaving office in December 2001, he announced “tentative agreements” for both the New York Yankees and New York Mets to build new stadiums. Of $1.5 billion sought for the stadiums, city and state taxpayers would pick up half the tab for construction, $800 million, along with $390 million on extra transportation.[10] The plan also said that the teams would be allowed to keep all parking revenues, which state officials had already said they wanted to keep to compensate the state for building new garages for the teams.[11] The teams would keep 96% of ticket revenues and 100% of all other revenues, not pay sales tax or property tax on the stadium, and would get low-cost electricity from the state of New York.[11] Business officials criticized the plan as giving too much money to successful teams with little reason to move to a different city.

          • nonsane says:

            they’re not entirely self funded. They get tax breaks and other “grants” to build there.

          • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

            I’m a borderline idiot because I think it’s inane that our society holds more importance and value in “professional entertainers” than in education?!

            I don’t give a rat’s ass if they’re 100% self-funded when you can’t even call the athletes role-models anymore, because the ones that make the news are the ones breaking the law.

          • finbar says:

            While I do think Persistence is a little harsh in his judgment of sports fans, your counter that sports teams don’t cost taxpayers money is false; many pro sports teams play in taxpayer subsidized stadiums that have little or no net economic benefit to the community

          • Erik Hughes says:

            Yeah, except for those multiple hundred million dollar stadiums that the taxpayers always seem to wind up on the hook for.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I’ve actually never been around rowdy and obnoxious sports fans. As uptight as people can be in DC, as sports fans they seem to be pretty laid back. Hockey fans, in particular, are some of the most polite people I’ve ever observed at a sporting event. I know obnoxious fans exist, but my personal experience in life dictates that you can’t judge a whole based on a one.

      • dolemite says:

        Sorry…no one is charging me $5 for standing on some asphalt. Especially if your buddies ALREADY paid $30 to park a car on the same asphalt.

        A bar has electricity, plumbing, heating to cover. This company is simply ripping people off.

    • DanRydell says:

      It’s $5. FIVE DOLLARS.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      It’s a vain attempt in extorting more money from people. I would have told them to f-off and walked away. The ideas that these companies are coming up with are getting idiotic.

  3. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    The fee sounds ridiculous if those hosting the tailgating are already paying per parking space.

    • Griking says:

      Well, if you have one person pay for a parking spot and 20 people that walk in those 20 extra people will certainly take up more than one parking spot’s room in the lot. Besides, does a parking spot guarantee a person anything more than a place to park his or her car?

  4. NightSteel says:

    The vaunted free market at work!

  5. shepd says:

    If you don’t like it, don’t park there. Unless the signs went up AFTER you parked there, then there’d be an argument (the article says they didn’t charge people until about 10 am, but it doesn’t mention if signs were or weren’t up).

    I expect next party they won’t be getting the tailgate business they seem to hate so much. Hopefully they can survive it.

  6. Grogey says:

    So if they already have a ticket there having to pay to get to the gates?

  7. OnePumpChump says:

    If you don’t like it, you can go to the other professional football club in town!

  8. Yentaleh says:

    Don’t come up for Vancouver Canucks games. I’ve spent easily 50$ on parking and 20$ on the pavillion……(They said it was to help pay for the Winter Olympics……..)

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      In my country, the dollar sign occurs before the number.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      $50 for parking?! I feel bad for you Canucks fans. Verizon Center in DC is only $14 or $20, IIRC. Most people just take public transportation to get there, though.

      • SabreDC says:

        Well said. $5 for the Metro lot and $4 for the train. It might take an extra half hour, but it’s pretty cheap compared to parking at VC. In fact, if you have an extra 15 minutes on top of that, the Springfield mall allows Metro rides to park for free and walk less than the mile to the Metro.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          And you can save even more if you’re going on a weekend because it’s free to park at the metro lots during the weekend (and federal holidays, too). I didn’t know that about Springfield Mall. It must be convenient, but nothing on earth would convince me to leave my vehicle at Springfield Mall!

  9. FatLynn says:

    Okay, so these people were not tailgating themselves, but looking to buy beer from the tailgaters? I could understand why the Browns want to discourage that.

    • ttw1 says:


    • dolemite says:

      Heh no…a person with a van/truck shows up, pays $30. I believe whoever is with them is included in the $30 price. Say later on, a friend comes by to visit (that parked in a different parking lot0, and has to pay $5 to walk over and talk to his friend.

  10. Liam Kinkaid says:

    Offer $2-3 to a tailgaters driving vehicles to ride along through the gate. They’re already paying $30 to get in, so they’d probably be happy to mitigate that cost a little. Plus you’re sticking it to the man.

  11. Larraque eats babies says:

    Cleveland: We’re not Detroit!!

    • Joseph S Ragman says:

      No, in Detroit, the homeless charge you upwards of $20 to park on the street …

      • My Head Hurts says:

        They do it in Cleveland too. In fact if someone asks you to pay in a free lot downtown, I would either pay them or park somewhere else.

  12. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em pay cash!

  13. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    It’s a private lot, they can do it… But I bet they find a LOT fewer people willing to pay the $30 a space next time…

    Now what about someone who came by car, and left the lot for a few minutes? How will they know?

    • tmed says:

      They probably can do it, but not without registering it first. The pit will learn that a parking lot is not a bar, you can’t charge a cover charge for a parking lot.

  14. DeepHurting says:

    I guess Brown’s fans didn’t have it bad enough already.
    Then again, aren’t they the fans that boo’ed Santa?

    • sufreak says:

      No..those were Eagles fans..and they didn’t boo Santa so much as the drunk guy portraying him.
      (For the record, I’m neither an Eagles fan or a christian.)

  15. toddkravos says:

    The lot owner was totally scamming “the system”

    CLEVELAND — The city of Cleveland is looking into a parking lot operator who charged Browns fans $5 to attend a tailgating party.

    One of the fans who paid the fee on Sunday was Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone, who complained to City Hall. A sign called it a “pedestrian traffic” fee, separate from the $30 parking charge.

    The city requires that anytime a private entity charges an admission fee, it must register with the city. Law Director Robert Triozzi says the city is looking into the matter.

    The parking-lot operator tells The Plain Dealer in Cleveland that the fee covers expenses like security, liability, portable toilets and cleanup.

  16. thor79 says:

    Sounds reasonable to me. A lot of the fans no doubt leave trash behind, wear and tear on the parking facilities, etc, so there are expenses to cleaning up after them.

  17. Pooterfish says:

    Somebody had to pay to attend a party on private property?

    Why doesn’t government DO something?!?

  18. danmac says:

    If I owned and operated a parking lot where numerous non-paying pedestrians (there were 15 people in the OP’s group alone!) hiked in beer and food, littered up the place with their garbage, utilized the facilities, etc., I would probably want to charge them a fee as well. It seems that Network Parking, which owns the lot, feels the same…here is their rebuttal, buried in tiny text on the blog post:

    “The Pit is one of the premier Browns’ tailgating parking lots in the City. Network Parking welcomes all tailgaters and all pedestrian visitors attending tailgate parties. In an effort to continue serving our pedestrian visitors attending tailgate parties, we wish to address some of the additional expenses and current liability issues related to tailgating cleanup and crowd control, such as off duty Cleveland Police officers, porta-johns, large dumpsters, clean up equipment and clean up personnel. By implementing these required additional services and addressing the added costs associated with them will only make for a better environment and allow us to continue serving our valued tailgating patrons through the Brown’ remaining football season.”

    And that blog post is pretty ambiguous, by the way…first he rails that he shouldn’t be charged to walk through a parking lot on their way to the game – I agree with that. Later, he mentions his intent to hang out with friends who were tailgating in the lot. That’s a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT thing.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree. The distinction is that the person isn’t walking into the parking lot with the goal of just passing through it. The person was entering to attend an event in the parking lot, and that means that he’s occupying space there for a length of time. Parks wouldn’t charge people for visiting, but if 30 people want to sit there and host some kind of event, they might have to pay a fee.

  19. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I assume “The Pit” is a reference to the Municipal Parking Lot “The Muni Lot” here in Cleveland.

    The explanation is pretty simple: Cleveland and the Browns are trying really hard to clean up the stadium. Cleveland is a football fan, and our football fans are very… erm… passionate. There are horror stories about people getting verbally and physically abused (spit on, drinks dumped on, cigarette burns to their clothing) just for wearing colors that aren’t orange and brown.

    A lot of that has to do with the fact that, up until this year, the Muni Lot opened for tailgaiting at 4am, so people would drink till the bars close (2:30, kill some time downtown, go to the Muni Lot at 4, and start drinking again… by the time the game rolled around, the fans are thrashed and destructive (search Google for “Bottlegate”).

    Cleveland is hoping to change this behavior by toning down the tailgating.

    • WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

      I stand corrected, this is a private lot… either way, I feel they’re justified.

      And we may be 1-3, but it’s a good 1-3!

  20. SomeWhiteGuy says:

    So, in protest of the fee… you paid it? I don’t think that’s going to be effective.

  21. Hi_Hello says:

    sound fair. If people took their trash with them, maybe this wouldn’t happen.

  22. incident man stole my avatar says:

    Sounds like something Dan $nyder of the Redkins would do.. I’m surprised he hasn’t done this

  23. sopmodm14 says:

    i laugh at the fools who pay through their nose for “the experience”

    a sporting event shouldn’t come to this for a true fan, getting nickeled and dimed

    sooner or later, there won’t be any fans left !!!

  24. StevePierce says:

    It blows my mind they pay the fee and then complain. Don’t like the fee, don’t go to a Browns game.

  25. kgmoome says:

    So what’s next? 30 bucks for the car and an extra 5 per person in the car as well?

  26. gman863 says:

    Although not a football fan myself, I can see the issues with tailgating.

    Billy Bob pays $20 for a parking space – ONE parking space for his vehicle. Billy Bob sets up his creamatorium-sized BBQ unit, coolers and lawn chairs; now he’s taking up at least TWO spaces. Add an extra dozen or so walk-ins to the party, and we’re now up to an amount of rental space that would hold a minimum of three paying cars.

    As Billy Mays said, BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! The parking lot owner sells a number of parking passes equal to the number of lot spaces. Billy Bob and other tailgate trash (in addition to parking in the spot they actually paid for) have turned about 25% of the lot into a party zone filled with drunks and unavailable for parking. Finally, God Forbid the Home Team loses. If it does, dozens of blitzed tailgaters (who never had a ticket to the game in the first place) will start acts of fighting and vandalism.

    This actually happened two weeks ago in Houston.

    The Texans’ offer season ticket holders the option of a guaranteed parking spot (at a hefty extra cost) for home games in specific lots at Reliant Stadium. Before the Texans/Cowboys game, hundreds of guaranteed parking pass holders had to be diverted to areas up to a mile away due to thousands of non-ticket holding “guests” attending hundreds of tailgate parties. By the time Houston lost and everyone went home, police had made dozens of arrests for fights, public indenency and vandalism.

    To fix this, the Texans now sell tailgate tickes (allows one person in the parking lot if they don’t have a game ticket). 4000 tickets per home game at $20 each, available to season ticket holders only.

    Cops and security guards are checking everyone (in a vehicle or on foot) before they’re allowed into the stadium parking lot: No ticket, no entry, no exceptions.