46 US$. That how much you have to pay to park your car close to Soldier Field in Chicago when you are going to watch a Bears game. 46 US$. That what a lot of people earn for working half a day. The Bears lead US pro sports with this price tag, followed by the Cowboys and the Patriots, charging 40$ per car (to all those of you wondering: No, that does not include a game ticket).
How can they do that? Well, think about the parking lot as a product. As for any product, the price can be set according to the value created and the alternative options available.
On the value side, you can ask yourself how badly people do want your product. In the case of sports, it is clear that a game ticket alone does not help you a lot when you don’t make it to the stadium, and the parking lot is all about giving access (we could also mention bundled services like tailgating options, but access is clearly the most important topic). At the same time, the space is quite limited in the Chicago case, as Soldier Field is pretty much downtown. That helps to drive the prices up.
As far as parking is concerned, you don’t have too many alternatives around the stadium. There aren’t too many other offerings except for the official parking lots and if there are, they charge similar prices. So how about getting there without a car? First, from what I’ve seen in many US stadiums, the public transport options are limited and not very comfortable (looking for example at the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, which is in the middle of nowhere, they don’t even list public transport options on their homepage). Second, even if they are available around the stadium that does not mean that you have good options for public transport from your home.
I’ve recently been to a top league soccer match over here in Germany. They charged €5 ($7) for the parking and that is already one of the most expensive fees in the league. If you don’t want to pay that, you can easily take one of the many convenient public transport options, which are included in the match ticket and run in a very high frequency before and after the match. They care about creating good alternatives.
That reduces an earning option for the teams, but it makes the customers happy. You decide what’s more valuable on the long run in your case.