The Tigers took a big gamble this year by moving TigerFest to Comerica Park. Things were looking up with a generally mild winter, right up until this cold snap. While the event was a smashing success from a ticketing standpoint, most reviews suggest that if you’re going to host 12,000 people in January, an outdoor venue might not be the place to do it.
As I mentioned earlier, tickets sold out before I bought so I’m working off of what others have said. Reader Dave emailed to say that the cold didn’t bother him, but the event was very disorganized. He did however get a picture with Magglio Ordonez and the AL Championship trophy so his day wasn’t a total loss. But he conceded that while he was able to take his son to last year’s event at Joe Louis Arena, it just wasn’t possible with this year’s setup.
A thread at Motown Sports corroborated the congestion, and there were also complaints about the cold temperature. Despite attempts to keep areas heated, I imagine with the outside temperatures combined with the in-out of each area it was too much for portable heaters to handle. For those with young children the cold was probably prohibitive.
As for the complaints about the lines, well that is going to happen with that many people. There were complaints about the way that autographs worked, as there are every year. They were done with 6 stations with players changing every hour – but you didn’t know who was going to be where when. This is done to evenly spread the lines across the six stations, and with lines running more than hour it wouldn’t make that much of a difference if you knew anyways.
I give the Tigers credit for trying to pull this off, and I think the intentions were in the right place. But by all accounts they need a bigger indoor venue for next year. If they’ve outgrown Joe Louis Arena, then perhaps Ford Field might be a better option.