Chase Field in Phoenix is one of the venues that has found success using e-parking service ParkWhiz. (Getty Images)

Company adds teams, venues to ParkWhiz roster with plan that eliminates a pain point and increases profitability

Josh Simon, director of ticket operations for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had been looking for a prepaid parking vendor for about three years. He was faced with a problem common in the industry — how to provide convenient, affordable parking for patrons of his venue, Chase Field.

“We run three garages and a lot with under 5,000 parking spaces, and parking is tight in downtown Phoenix,” he said. “We were looking for a provider that was adaptable and could work within our structure here.”

Simon reached out to Chicago-based Arrive to find out more about ParkWhiz, its e-parking service that allows users to book parking spaces before reaching their destinations.

“We implemented ParkWhiz last year, and for us it was a perfect fit,” said Simon. “Before implementing ParkWhiz, we had never sold single-game parking in advance for events at Chase Field, and this was a big miss in terms of revenue and growth for our revenue stream.”

Along with the goal of serving fans, offering prepaid parking has increased both area parking demand and profits.

According to Ed Lewis, Arrive’s senior vice president of business development, the 13-year-old company has sold more than $200 million in presale parking to U.S. sports teams and venues.

“In the last few months, we’ve seen standardization occur in how parking fits in with how teams and venues take care and serve their fans,” Lewis said. “We provide integration of parking presale into all ticketing platforms.”

For example, when fans buy seats for a game or event online, they are offered the option of adding parking to their purchase.

“This integration and ease of use saves the team or venue a lot of the investment (in time and money) and makes it easier for fans by removing a bunch of steps,” Lewis said. 

Arrive has developed a playbook that teams and venues can leverage. It allows the merchandising or selling of parking in the same way as tickets are sold — by location of the parking spot or event. Marketing is via the team or venue’s website or emails. The technology also integrates with stadium apps and has recently been incorporated into the Major League Baseball app.

“We’ve enabled this parking presale to be built into the way venues and teams already do business,” Lewis said. “For fans, this has removed the No. 1 complaint going to a game or concert, which is parking.”

With this technology, venues also can capture data before an event, determining more exact attendee numbers to preplan parking logistics.

It’s a win-win for venues, teams and fans; according to Arrive, patrons who purchase parking in advance spend 35% more on food and beverages as well as merchandise.

“Olympia Entertainment in Detroit has been working with us for three years, and they have not only used our playbook but scaled beyond it,” Lewis said. “They are pacing to grow their prepaid parking 240% year over year, and their egress time, or time to get outside the parking garage, has dropped 75%.”

Los Angeles FC of Major League Soccer began using Arrive’s technology in the middle of the 2018 season after opening play at Banc of California Stadium in April of last year.

“We’re part of an exhibition park, so a venue within a venue, with the expo owning just 2,000 parking spots,” said Tim McNeff, senior director of facilities for the club. “Parking wasn’t a big focus for us at first, but we wanted to see what our options were to improve the process.”

LAFC wanted to offer fans prepurchased parking passes that the venue could validate.

“Arrive came to us with a plan that encompasses everything we were looking for,” McNeff said. “We could sell passes for individual lots and incorporate directions to the parking spots.”

LAFC fans can buy parking passes from the club’s website, from email links, when purchasing tickets for individual games or directly from Arrive’s website.

Before using prepaid parking, LAFC had on average 12,000 fans in the stadium for kickoff due to parking delays; after prepurchased parking passes were made available, that increased to 16,500.

“The transaction time is greatly decreased, as we went from cash-only transactions to simply scanning parking passes,” McNeff said. 

The Boston Red Sox are on their third season working with Arrive’s parking tech and have added a ballpark app (see left).

“We’ve had a 30% conversion rate for prepaid parking use, which is more of a cultural transition and our ability to properly market it,” said Brian Shield, vice president of IT for the team. “Fans want one less thing to worry about when coming to a game, and we needed a partner to make the parking process as easy as possible.”

He added that, on average, Red Sox fans are booking parking spots five days in advance, which is a big benefit.

“There are three ways we leverage Arrive with fans,” said Shield. “First, prepaid parking is part of the Red Sox environment on the MLB website. We also have a ballpark app where it’s included. And the parking links are a component of our marketing campaigns.”

LAFC has heavily embraced social media outreach and word of mouth through its supporters to promote its prepaid parking.

The Arizona Diamondbacks include a widget on their mobile ticket buying app that provides the option. The team is concentrating on growing sales for this amenity.

“We noticed our pricing was too low, as we were selling parking passes like crazy,” Simon said. “We’ve played with the cost structure, adjusting the fee according to the days of the week and the team’s opponent, like we do with ticket pricing. After taking this more robust approach, we’ve seen an increase in parking revenue.”