Who'd Pay $990 to Park at Super Bowl?
ARLINGTON, Texas – It doesn't look like the most expensive real estate in Super Bowl history. It's just a patch of black asphalt bordered with a couple of stripes of white paint.
If that sounds like the average parking spot, there's a reason. It is a parking spot, only there's nothing average about it.
This one cost $990 for one day. One game, actually, which leads to the obvious question:
What kind of moron would pay 990 freakin' dollars for a parking spot?
"I'd rather not give out their names," Hank Wendorf said.
He owns the lot across from Cowboys Stadium, and he was kind enough Thursday to let me briefly park my Hyundai rental car in the hallowed spot. I was nervous at first, feeling like a commoner sitting on Queen Elizabeth's throne.
I wish I could say it was a magical experience. Fact was, it felt pretty much like the million or so other times I've pulled into a parking space. Then I realized I was looking at this all wrong.
It may seem ridiculous to pay that much to park a car for an afternoon. So ridiculous that it became national news when Wendorf first advertised the spot a few weeks ago. In the sea of Super Bowl extravagance, this was the epitome of excess.
Tickets to Super Bowl I cost $6. Now it cost 165 times that to park?
There's no need for Wendorf to feel like a slum lord, however, or whoever bought the parking space to remain anonymous. You are merely exercising your inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of accessible toilet facilities.
And while I may not agree with your financial decision, I will defend to the death your right to spend the average yearly income of a Liberian on a parking spot.
Sure, it shows a certain lack of priorities. That $990 could have bought a few hundred malaria vaccines or paid for another hour's worth of rehab for Charlie Sheen. But there will always be worthy causes in desperate need of funding.
If we didn't allow ourselves to have any fun until every societal problem was solved, we might as well all go enroll at the nearest monastery.
Look at this way. Streisand tickets went for $1,800 the last time she toured. Frankly, I'd pay $1,800 if it would guarantee I'd never again hear "People." But I'm not going to make fun of the dopes who emptied their wallets for Babs.
They were just pursuing their passion. A much larger segment of the population is keen on the NFL. Sunday is when that passion peaks, and they've got to park it somewhere.
"The Super Bowl changes the market on everything," Wendorf said. "It's such a special event."
His lot is actually home to his business, Ticketsource.com. Wendorf's been selling tickets for 20 years in Dallas and moved his office here when Cowboys Stadium was being built. He figured it would be good exposure, and he'd make a nice side income selling parking spaces.
There are 32, and they usually go for $100 to $150 for Cowboys games. Wendorf knew the Super Bowl would bring a premium. He just didn't know how primo it would be.
His initial price was $500 a spot. People started snapping them up, so Wendorf's free enterprise instincts took over. Most of the usual parking around the stadium was being taken over by tents and trucks. Demand was so high because the supply was so down.
Wendorf started increasing the asking price. There were actually three spots available for $990. My guess is there will be three satisfied customers come Sunday night.
The stadium is maybe two football fields away as the crow flies. No crows are flying this week because they'd get sleet on their wings, then crash and die. Wendorf can't promise sunny skies on Sunday, but he can guarantee that cars won't be blocked in.
There will be three security guards keeping things safe. For $990 I'd want them to all look like Giselle Bundchen and give me unlimited foot massages, but that's just me.
Right across the street is the tent where Keith Urban will perform a pregame concert. Parking privileges include all the music you can overhear.
You don't even need to give the NFL any money to enjoy the game. For the first time it is selling Super Bowl tickets that don't actually get you into the Super Bowl. For $200, you can buy party zone tickets that get you onto the premises but not in the stadium.
You can stand outside and watch the game on a big screen. There's no tailgating allowed, so you'll have to pony up whatever Jerry Jones is charging for a beer these days. Oh yeah, you also have to buy a package of four tickets to get in.
There's no such problem at the $990 lot. You can show up early, break out the grill, roast a pig, empty a keg and then go to the game. You could even bring your own TV and watch the game from a TV set up in your car trunk. That sounds like a much better deal than the party zone is offering.
When the party is over, you can puff out your chest like Donald Trump and drive away knowing you owned the most expensive piece of real estate in Super Bowl history.
And one other thing. Unlike most parking spaces, this one comes with access to the bathroom in Wendorf's building.
So drink up, Mr. Parking Space Big Shot.
For $990, you deserve to wear that toilet out.