As fans swarm KC for Big 12 Tournament, parking becomes difficult to find

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Big 12 basketball action is bringing a lot of people to downtown Kansas City this week, so it’s no wonder parking is at a premium.

“I was lucky to get a spot that I have here, but trying to get into event parking lot has been a real challenge, and it’s only getting harder every year,” KU fan John Brumbaugh said.

Some fans speculate it could be because more people are driving in to watch the tournament this year. Others say new developments downtown are to blame. Construction on new high rises and other projects has wiped out areas that had been designated for parking.

So many fans are having to plan ahead and get creative.

“Because of all the chaos and all the traffic, I just decided it would be easier if I got an Uber,” Travis Brown said.

“I ended up just walking the whole way. I walked about a mile,” Claire McGovern said.

Others have gotten just plain lucky.

A group of West Virginia fans say their parking struggle resulted in a funny story and an experience they’ll never forget.

“We had borrowed a church van to drive the family up for this, and it needed tires, and there’s a Firestone three blocks away over there," John Sitckman said. "So we went over there and bought tires and donated them to the church, and in exchange they’re letting us park there tonight and for the rest of the tournament for free."

Kansas City leaders said there is an easier option for parking that people might not have considered.

“We have nine municipal garages around downtown, and we encourage folks to use our reservation system we have. It’s called Park Mobile,” said Beth Breitenstein, public works spokesperson for Kansas City.

“To eliminate having to circle around find a spot, it's a really good idea to sign up for Park Mobile," she said. "You can find it in your app store and reserve a spot before the game even starts, so that way you know where you’re going.”

The Park Mobile app works for the nine municipal garages that are near downtown, but not all private lots are connected with this service.

Most parking areas near the Sprint Center charge about $20-40 per day.