I had a thought last night as I was researching Wrigley Field in preparation for a future E-Guide.
Like most classic ballparks (and many new ones), The Friendly Confines is shoehorned into a tightly packed neighborhood of Chicago, known to all who frequent it as Wrigleyville.
It’s a wonderful thing. What makes Wrigley special, even more so than Fenway Park or Camden Yards, is how the entire community for blocks around is connected to events at the local ballpark. People gather everywhere, not just inside the venue. On the surrounding streets, on the rooftops, in the local taverns, a Cubs game is a celebration like no other in baseball. If you want to know why Chicago is such a popular tourist destination, you need only to attend a game somewhere near Wrigley Field.
However, this creates a serious drawback…where to park one’s car. Parking at Wrigley Field isn’t non-existent, but it is sparse, difficult and often wallet-busting.
A problem like this is exactly why I do what I do. The purpose of Ballpark E-Guides is not to tell you that driving to and parking at Wrigley Field is impossible, but rather to tell you how you can with as little pain as possible. Let’s face it, as convenient as the CTA’s Red Line is to the venue, some people might not want to use it.
So I have been looking for places to park, and for free if possible, and on one website a reader left some good tips, but also stated that while he knows a good place to park for free, he wasn’t revealing it because he wanted it to remain “his spot”.
I’m not being critical of him. I understand this completely. But it’s my purpose to ferret out this sort of information wherever I can find it, because it’s my position that Ballpark E-Guides should contain as much information–especially hard to come by secrets–as possible. It has to be worth the customer’s fin.
So I expect I am not going to be popular with some people. I may give away a hard-earned parking secret that on the surface may make life more difficult for the person who found it on his own. So if that’s you, I hope you’ll hear me out on this.
Ballpark E-Guides would be doing very well if it sold guides to 1% of baseball fans who go to games. That is a loftier goal than it sounds, but it would be nice. The Cubs drew about 3 million people to Wrigley Field in 2010, so 1% of that total is 30,000. Of those 30,000, if 10% of them are driving to the game, that is 3,000. Divide that by 81 home games and now there are 37 people who read the guide that are driving to a game on a given day. At two to a car, that’s 19 cars. The E-Guide is going to list as many parking options as possible, so the likelihood of someone going for that secret spot because the E-Guide told them to is actually pretty small.
So chances are good that even if the Wrigley Field E-Guide sells 30,000 copies, which would be an awful lot, your secret will probably still be relatively safe. You may be upset with my revealing something, and I completely understand. But keep in mind that it’s not as though I asked the president to include it in a national address. Ballpark E-Guides are intended for a small, niche market. In fact they’re for people like you…people who want to make their lives easier, especially when it comes to enjoying a ballgame that is supposed to be fun. Hopefully, for every secret you had that Ballpark E-Guides has uncovered, you will learn a few things that you didn’t know about.
So I get it if you’re upset that others will know something you didn’t want them to know. Just remember that the knowledge won’t be as widespread as you think.
And hopefully, if I’ve done my job, you’ll have a better alternative!
See you at the yard,