Beginning in 2020, Washington State season ticket-holders and Cougar Athletic Fund members who attend home football games will be charged a per-game rate to park in Martin Stadium lots, the athletic department announced Monday.
The large majority of Power Five schools have charged their high-level donors and season ticket-holders for parking, but up until now WSU had been a rare exception to the national norm.
The new parking rates won’t take effect until the 2020 season, giving fans time to account for and prepare for the changes before season ticket renewal forms are sent out this fall.
“The reality for us at Washington State as I come here, we’re looking at every revenue line and I’ll be honest, I was surprised that we were not charging for parking,” athletic director Pat Chun said. “I can’t even think of a sports entity – I know if I went to the majority of sporting events in our own state, I’d be shocked if there was free parking anywhere. So this is just, in our opinion, a standard in the business of sports.”
The new fees will be bundled into season-parking permits for fans who plan on attending every home football game, but Chun expects to introduce a “full menu of parking options” that will also cater to fans that require day-of-game options.
For the most commonly-used lots, parking rates will range from $20-25 per game. Donors parking in lots P (premium) and AA – those closest to Martin Stadium – will be charged $25 per game, which equates to $175 for the seven-game home season. Those in lots A and B will be charged $20, or $140 for the season.
High-level donors wishing to use the Reserved Garage will be charged $700 for the season and those using the Reserved VIP lot will pay $980.
In past years, fans using any of the GP (general parking) lots have been charged $20 per game.
Parking is one of the top three revenue sources for football, Chun said, along with concessions and ticket sales. New game day parking rates will also help to defray the expense of renting out spaces on game day – an expense the athletic department had already been shouldering.
“The hope is people understand as the world changes, as we have to be smarter about how we operate as a business, I understand there was a time and a place where this athletic department, this university was trying to incentivize people to come down to Pullman to come to football games,” Chun said, “and I don’t have a full understanding of why we never charged for parking, it’s just by the time we get to 2020, when you look at most of the major sporting entities in and around this country, ticket sales, concessions and parking are all three big revenue lines in terms of day of game revenues.”
The Cougars return to a seven-game home schedule in 2020, hosting nonconference games against Houston and Idaho, along with Pac-12 Conference games against Oregon, Arizona State, California, Washington, Oregon and Utah.
Season ticket prices will also increase starting in 2020. New rates and requirements can be found on wsucougars.com.