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Reliant's New Tailgating Policy: My E-Mail To Management

As Kerns wrote here, there's been a sudden change in tailgating policy at Reliant Park. Many fans have written e-mails to the powers that be; my entry is after the jump.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I was rather dismayed to receive notification of the organization's sudden decision to change the tailgating policy at Reliant Stadium. While I understand the desire to curb the unfortunate behavior many of us witnessed last week, this strikes me as a reactionary move that hasn't been given the proper analysis it deserves. To wit:

1. Why are you making this change in the middle of the season? Have you considered the Texans fans who made plans to tailgate at Reliant all season (e.g., have already spent money contributing to a tailgate crew, whether it be for parking passes, food, drink, etc.) without having a ticket to any of the games? What are these people, who are just as big (and frankly, often bigger) Texans fans than the season ticket holders, supposed to do? By making this abrupt change in policy mid-season, you've essentially disenfranchised them.

2. How is this policy going to be enforced? Are you really going to have your parking lot attendants check to see that everyone in a car has a ticket? If the organization still desires to keep traffic moving, that sort of verification process seems doomed to cause a repeat of the disastrous traffic problems that plagued the organization during the 2002 preseason (before Texans officials realized that perhaps some sort of traffic direction/police involvement was necessary to ensure people got to the stadium in less than two hours).

3. The "Tailgate Guest Ticket Policy" appears to be little more than a short-sighted cash grab. As I understand it, season ticket holders can purchase a tailgating access pass (which would allow a person to tailgate without a game ticket, a/k/a what fans have been able to do for free since the franchise's inception) for $10.00 per guest per game, with a limit of four passes purchased per season ticket holder. With a maximum of 2,000 of these tailgate access passes available per game, I get the impression the organization is merely seeking to line its pockets while simultaneously claiming that it's cracking down on unruly behavior. Quite simply, the "Tailgate Guest Ticket Policy" is a horrendous attempt at compromise that completely undermines the general "No Ticket = No Tailgate" policy the organization has so hastily enacted.

4. As you know, the Texans faced the Dallas Cowboys last week. The visiting team's proximity to Houston, as well as the composition and attitude of their purported fans, resulted in far greater tailgating attendance and animosity than Reliant Stadium normally sees. The tailgating environment has not been, and will not be, as crowded and/or antagonistic as it was last Sunday. And yet, the organization has chosen to allow an environment that exists once every eight (8) years to dictate its entire tailgating policy. This is the very definition of overreaction.

My father and I have been fortunate enough to enjoy season tickets since the inaugural season, and I won't pretend to tell you that this change in tailgating policy will somehow affect our decision to renew our season tickets in the future. Any decision to renew will be based on personal finances and the performance of the team itself (the latter of which, if it hasn't run us off by now, seems unlikely to run us off in the future, though the team seems content to push its luck with the type of effort we saw last Sunday). It is disturbing, however, to see that the organization seems content to craft policy in such a reactionary fashion. In my opinion, this is simply the latest troubling chapter in the Texans' hackneyed attempt at fan relations. As the franchise did in creating the ridiculous 50/80 rule that governs Reliant's roof policy, the organization is again overreacting to the complaints of a vocal minority without thoroughly considering the ramifications.

As the editor of Battle Red Blog--a forum devoted to the Houston Texans and, more importantly, the fans that make the Houston Texans possible--I invite Mr. Rootes or any member of the Texans organization to contact me to discuss this matter further. It is entirely possible that there are factors and/or information to which I'm not privy, and I welcome the opportunity to learn more about how and why this new tailgating policy was created, as well as the analysis that went into forming this policy. While I sincerely doubt the organization will take me up on this offer, I nonetheless look forward to hearing from you.

Very Truly Yours,

(Contact Information Removed)