Tailgating change still the buzz around Reliant

HOUSTON The Houston Texans are no longer welcoming all football fans on game day. While the new restrictions on tailgating are making some people very angry, others say it's long overdue.

"The last game we had to have driver drop us off," said season ticket holder Robin A.

Robin A's family are Texans season ticket holders and while they live about a mile from Reliant Stadium, getting there on game day is downright frustrating.

"It's gotten to the point where we don't even get excited to go to the games anymore because it takes about an hour to get to the stadium," said Robin.

She says by the time they get in, the parking spaces closer to the stadium, which they paid for, are gone, occupied, in some cases by tailgaters who arrive hours early and don't necessarily have tickets to the game.

"Big trailers, they have the tents they set up, barbecue pits, so you know it's 2,3, 4, 5 spaces and there's not as many spaces left for people who have tickets," she said.

The new restriction announced by the Texans Thursday night should alleviate that. Starting with the team's next home game, fans who enter Reliant must have a game ticket or tailgate ticket and only 2,000 of those will be available.

With roughly 26,000 parking spaces for a stadium that seats nearly three times that amount, the Texans insist they had no choice.

"Our season ticket holders have said this is not the type of experience I've had in the past and this is not the type of experience that I'm looking for," said Texans President Jamey Rootes.

On Thursday night, the phones lit up as scores of angry fans called into sports talk radio, criticizing the Texans and the new policy.

Robin A. understands their concerns, but says something had to give.

"Its great that people who don't have tickets want to park and tailgate and support the Texans, but there's bars or other places to watch as well," she said.

Season ticket holders are welcome to sell their tailgating tickets. Those fans who have a tailgating ticket and not a game ticket can still tailgate, but they won't be able to do it in a designated parking area. The team says they'll have people at the parking lot entrances to enforce the new policy and they fully acknowledge there may be some issues to work through.

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