Starting this season, the Kansas City Chiefs are phasing in an Arrowhead Stadium tailgating policy that requires fans to exit the parking lot after kickoff.
The policy being put into place will effectively mean that tailgating does not continue within Arrowhead Stadium’s parking lot during the game. At the start of the game, those with tickets will be asked to proceed into the stadium, while those without admission will be asked to leave the parking lot.
The Chiefs say that they are following NFL best practice recommendations, and are planning to phase-in the policy. More from the Kansas City Star:
Chiefs President Mark Donovan said the team is following a best practice recommendation from the NFL and will phase in this policy throughout the season.
“We’re going to continue celebrating tailgating,” Donovan said. “It’s important to Arrowhead and important to the fan experience. And we’re going to transition into this. This is not going to be a hard stop.”
The Chiefs’ next home game is Thursday against the Green Bay Packers in the preseason finale. The first regular-season home contest is Sept. 23.
Donovan said over the next few home dates tailgaters who remain in the parking lot after the game has started and the toll and ticket booths have been cleared will be approached by team security personnel and informed of the new policy.
Five years ago, an incident took place in Arrowhead Stadium’s parking lot in which a man was killed during a game. The man’s wife later filed a wrongful death suit against the Chiefs, and the two sides settled out of court earlier this year (the terms were not disclosed). That incident is not necessarily believed to be the driving force behind the NFL’s recommendations, though general safety and security is a factor in the Chiefs’ decision to implement the new policy.
While it is moving forward in Kansas City, it is hard to see this policy taking hold across the NFL. Tailgating is central to the fan experience in many markets–Green Bay, Houston, Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and numerous others included–so it would seem difficult to push this policy in a league-wide initiative.
That said, the policy from the Chiefs is not entirely unprecedented, as MLB’s Royals–who play at Kauffman Stadium, which is located in the same sports complex as Arrowhead Stadium–require tailgaters to enter the ballpark by the second inning. However, Chiefs fans–like many around the NFL–view tailgating as a traditional part of the fan experience, so it remains to be seen how this policy will be received as the season unfolds.
Image courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.