Illini football parking lots won’t be free this season, as many fans suggested in a recent Division of Intercollegiate Athletics survey.
But the DIA will promote free-parking options on campus, on lots that are rented during the week but not on weekends.
The North Campus Parking garage on University Avenue is open and free on game days, with an MTD shuttle to the stadium, said Cassie Arner, associate athletic director for marketing and fan development. The shuttle is free to anyone who has a UI identification card or an MTD bus pass, DASH card or veteran's pass, but otherwise costs $2 per round-trip.
The UI is also debuting a new mobile stadium ticketing and prepaid parking system, said Jason Heggemeyer, associate AD for ticketing and sales.
Fans have asked for the option of getting electronic tickets on their phones, as other venues have done, he said.
They will now have the choice of a paper ticket mailed to them or an electronic bar code delivered to their smartphones.
The latter makes it easier to transfer a ticket to someone else, he said. You can log into your account, type in an email address and send the code, which will deactivate it on your phone, he said.
“You can share tickets at the last minute,” he said, which is handy for season ticket-holders who live out of town and can’t make it to games.
Similarly, fans can now send their parking passes to someone else via smartphone, he said.
The UI will also be able to take credit cards at football parking lots on game day, he said.
However, the pricing has changed: Those who buy parking online in advance will still pay $20, but the game-day price will be $25.
“We’re trying to incentivize prepaid parking,” Heggemeyer said.
Simply scanning a parking bar code, as ticket-takers do for games, is much faster than collecting money on-site and possibly having to make change, he said.
“It’ll be faster, and you’ll save money,” he said. “Everyone gets into the lots quicker.”
And prepaying eliminates the worry of not being able to find an open lot, Arner said.
Fans can buy prepaid parking on fightingillini.com without having to buy a ticket to the game, if they have one already, Heggemeyer said.
Prepaid parking is available now and up until 11:59 p.m. the day before each game.