As Marlins Park nears completion many fans are securing ticket packages and are attempting to make transportation plans for the upcoming season. This year marks the beginning of a new era of Marlins baseball for the fan as symbolized by the new ballpark eliminating rain delays and allowing for greatly increased ticket sales. With an increased demand and much more limited supply of tickets many fans must adjust their mentality from years past in order to secure seats. However, this is not the most significant issue for a Marlins fan looking to make a trip to Marlins Park. For a non season ticket holder a major issue that remains is parking.
The ballpark provides for 5,700 spots divided among four parking garages which are limited to season ticket holders. To reach maximum capacity about 11,000 spots are needed. David Samson has repeatedly said that in order to get fans to come to the ballpark more than once people need to have a pleasant experience in regards to parking before and after an event. This struggle for parking generally seems to present fans with two options if they want to frequently come to games. They must arrive earlier and stay later than preferred or leave before the end of a game.
Such issues may be common when considering other new ballparks, but usually parking concerns are generally alleviated with the prevalent use of public transportation. Neither the team nor the city government has set up convenient public transportation to the ballpark. The only option available to fans from Broward or Palm Beach who don’t want to deal with the parking crisis is to take the tri-rail, connect to the metro-rail to be dropped off a mile away in the heart of Little Havana. While this system may be viable, no measures have been established to ease fans safety concerns. Although a trolley system has been created to ease transport to the stadium, it seems that it will be irregular and at best serve no more than 1,000 fans per game. According to an unnamed sales executive, the team is concerned that the absence of efficient public transportation and a parking gridlock will serve as the main detriment to further ticket sales for fans north of Miami-Dade County.
With uncertainty and no concrete plan from the Marlins or the City of Miami to solve this issue, fans outside of the Miami area may come less frequently due to their frustration. It seems that fans will be forced to come early, stay late and spend more money than one is willing to on food and entertainment as a result of a subpar parking situation. Unless a concrete parking and transportation plan is created, it is possible that the amount of time in parking gridlock may equal or exceed the amount of time waiting during a rain delay at Sun Life Stadium. Fans were promised that rain delays would be extinct, but that effect will be negated by the horrendous parking and transportation situation.
While garage parking is ideal for the 5,700 season ticket holders who will be only steps away from the gate, ordinary fans will see parking as a major detriment to what should be an outstanding original experience at Marlins Park. Without a doubt, this will cause a great deal of fans to not want to return regardless of how great the ballpark is. After all the entire experience is only as good as the parking situation.