Going to see your favourite sports team or band is a great experience, but it also often turns out to be an expensive one. On top of your game or gig tickets, other costs can start to mount up such as food & drink and accommodation if you’re staying over. But one that can be particularly tricky is parking.
Parking is often in short supply at stadiums and arenas with many not offering official car parks, and those that do often being expensive. While leaving your vehicle parked overnight in a stadium car park doesn't always affect your car insurance, the cost of doing so could be high.
With that in mind, which are the cheapest and most expensive venues to park at in the UK, USA, and Europe?
The most expensive UK arenas for parking
The 02 Arena, London - £29.00
Looking first at arenas, the most expensive to park at is London’s O2, at an incredible cost of £29 for the duration of your event. For this price, you can park on-site and avoid a long walk through the city to the stadium venue. The O2 Car Park 1 is the dedicated car park used for all events held at the arena, with over 2,100 parking spaces. The car park is open 24 hours, with accessible bays reserved for Blue Badge holders.
While £29 is a huge price to pay, The O2 is one of the busiest venues in the country. Therefore, by paying this rate, you have the convenience of knowing that you can safely leave your car close by.
There are a couple of caveats to this - if you book at least 3 weeks in advance you can get an ‘early bird’ fare of £25. You can also park at the smaller indigo at The O2 venue for £19. But if you don’t book in advance at all, then your event parking actually jumps to £36. Those spending £35 or more at Icon Outlet on the day of the event can park at smaller car parks 2, 3 or 4 for free.
The cheapest UK arenas for parking
Bolton Arena, Westpoint Arena, Commonwealth Arena, Braehead Arena, Derby Arena - All free
When it comes to the country’s smaller arenas, you actually don’t need to worry about paying for parking, with 5 different arenas offering free parking.
The biggest of these is the Bolton Arena, although it should be noted that you can only park for up to 3 hours here.
The most expensive USA arenas for parking
Little Caesars Arena, Detroit - $42.00
Over in the United States, the most expensive arena to park at is the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The arena is home to the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL and Detroit Pistons of the NBA.
There are 32 different parking locations throughout The District Detroit. But to park at the arena’s official parking garage, adjacent to the venue, costs $42.00 for the duration of the event.
The official parking garage at Little Caesars Arena opens for cars 4 hours before the event is scheduled to begin. Accessible parking spaces are available at the arena on a first-come, first-served basis. The garage then closes 2 hours after the end of the show.
The cheapest USA arenas for parking
Spectrum Center, Charlotte - $10.00
Spectrum Center is home to the Charlotte Hornets basketball team and also hosts college basketball games too.
Again, there are multiple parking options available here. But the 2 closest non-valet lots (both located around a minute away) cost just $10 to park at on game days. There are approximately 30,000 off-street parking spaces within 15 minutes walk of the value. However, the low cost of official parking saves the hassle of searching for a good deal.
The most expensive European arenas for parking
Accor Arena, Paris - €20.00
The most expensive arena in mainland Europe is significantly cheaper than in both the UK and US.
The Accor Arena in Paris is one of the continent’s biggest indoor venues and has a distinct pyramidal shape. Visitors to the venue can expect to pay €20 to park at either of the 2 official Accor Arena parking lots, with reduced mobility parking available at car park 1. Visitors should note the venue’s parking areas only permit vehicles less than 1.9m in height. Parking locations are accessible to visitors when the arena opens to the public, and for 1 hour after the scheduled event ends.
The cheapest European arenas for parking
O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall, Žalgiris Arena & Palau Sant Jordi - All free
Of the 20 biggest indoor arenas in mainland Europe, 3 allow visitors to park free of charge.
They are the O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall in Athens, the Žalgiris Arena in Kaunas and the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
The most expensive UK stadiums for parking
Wembley Stadium, London - £40.00
The country’s biggest stadium is also its most expensive to park at. Parking to watch an England football match (or perhaps a cup final if your team is lucky enough!) sets you back £40 at Wembley Park.
Street parking around the venue is reserved for local residents. So visitors are encouraged to park in one of the over 3,000 secure official parking spaces offered by Wembley Stadium.
The cheapest UK stadiums for parking
Anfield, Liverpool - Free
Liverpool’s Anfield stadium is one of many that doesn’t actually offer official parking at the stadium itself. But if you arrive early you can actually park for free at the nearby Stanley Park.
Stanley Park famously separates Anfield from the home of Liverpool’s rivals Everton, Goodison Park, so can also act as a good alternative car park for Toffees fans. Around 10 minutes walking distance from the stadium, the car park has around 90 bays including some available for Blue Badge holders.
The most expensive USA stadiums for parking
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford - $40.00
Two stadiums in the US both charge $40 for gameday parking. The first is the MetLife Stadium, home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets, both of the NFL. Those attending for NFL Game days must pre-book parking and print their parking permits in advance in order to use the facilities. Visitors without printed permits or pre-booked parking can park off-site around 3 miles away at 20 Murray Hill Parkway for $40.
The second is one of the country’s biggest college football stadiums, the Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn University in Alabama. RV parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and a number of nearby parking lots open for free parking on Fridays after 4pm.
The cheapest USA stadiums for parking
Bryant–Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa - $2.50
The Bryant–Denny Stadium, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is home to the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
Visitors to the university on a weekend pay just $0.50 per hour at the various parking decks, which works out at just $2.50 for five hours. Single game parking is available for $30, in the on-site parking facility less than 5 minutes walking distance from the stadium.
The most expensive European stadiums for parking
Stade de France, Saint-Denis - €29.00
While far fewer stadiums in Europe offer official parking spaces, the most expensive one that does is the Stade de France, just outside of Paris.
To park at this huge venue, which hosts many concerts as well as games of the French national football and rugby teams, costs €29.00.
The cheapest European stadiums for parking
Various - All free
Of the 20 biggest stadiums in mainland Europe, 8 actually allow visitors to park for free.
They include five stadiums built for Olympic games, including Berlin’s Olympiastadion and the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:
"For those that love attending concerts or sporting matches, you know that parking at arenas and stadiums can prove particularly difficult, especially with spaces typically being expensive and of short supply.
"To avoid overpaying for a parking space, be sure to plan ahead before your event. Most venues have information on their parking options online, so check these out to find the best rates. It may also be wise to see if you can book a parking space in advance, to ensure that you get the best rate and to guarantee a space for your car.
"Off-site car parks tend to offer cheaper parking rates, however, make sure to check the safety and security of these sites before leaving your car unattended. If you do choose to park off-site, make sure to avoid leaving valuables in the car, and park in a well-lit spot if you can. This increases the safety of your car and possessions, and also prevents claims for damage or theft which could eventually impact your car insurance quote”.
Taking the 20 biggest stadiums and indoor arenas (by capacity) in each of the UK, USA and Europe the cost of parking was sourced.
For each, the cost of 'event' parking was taken, or if this was not available, then the cost of parking for up to 5 hours was used. If the venue has different prices depending on the event, the cost to attend a sports match featuring the main team that plays at the venue was used.
In many cases, the venue didn't have its own official parking, so in this case, the cost of the closest major car park to the venue was used.