New App Aims to Make Game Day Parking Easier

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Roderick Mack flags down drivers at his lot near Birmingham's Legion Field.

Janae Pierre, WBHM

If you’ve ever tried to find parking before a game, you know it can be stressful. Hunter Strickler, CEO of CLUTCH!, a new app developed in Birmingham, says it doesn’t have to be that way. His app helps fans find parking.

“We’re simply the marketplace that takes the existing market and modernizes it,” he says. “So the seller will set their own price and then the buyers will be able to shop around for the best price and value for the parking spaces they need.”

Hunter Strickler, CEO, CLUTCH!

Here’s the way it works: open the app, select the football game you’re attending and it’ll show a list of available spots within a 2 mile radius of the stadium. Those spots cost anywhere from $5 to $75 depending on the size of your car and how close you are to the stadium.

“You’re just really a couple of taps away from putting in your credit card information and reserving a spot,” Strickler says.

The app’s set to officially launch this weekend for Alabama’s first home game against Arkansas State. Developers tested the CLUTCH! app recently around Regions Field for the Birmingham Barons games. 

“It’s been really well so far,” Kimberly Culbreath, a lot attendant nearby on 1st Ave South says. “We’ve gotten the most response out here at Bakers Row. Most of the games since we’ve started have sold at least a few spots.”

Culbreath charges $10 to park at her lot. She says as a seller, using the app is easy because it expedites the transaction. There’s no fumbling around for cash on either side. And attendants know who to expect instead of having to flag people down.

“They just are able to pull straight in and go straight to their spot and go into the game,” she says.

Of course, this convenience isn’t free. CLUTCH! takes a fee from both the lot owner and the driver. It’s a sliding scale based on the spot’s listing price; On a $30 spot, that fee would be $3.75.

To Culbreath, it’s worth it. But not all lot owners are on board. Roderick Mack owns a grass and gravel lot near Legion Field. He was waving over drivers to park at his lot ahead of the UAB football home opener last week and says the app isn’t for him.

“I would not be interested in it for the simple reason that I don’t have the infrastructure set up for that,” he says.

His lot can only accommodate so many cars, and the number of available spots differs week by week. Sometimes he’ll even have vendors with huge trailers or dozens of SUV’s.

He says CLUTCH! is a good idea but he’ll leave the apps to the millennials.

“I’m old fashioned,” Mack says. “I’ve been doing this since 1990. And I like the idea of thanking people for their business and also refusing people when they have bad attitudes.”

After people have been circling the block over and over looking for a parking spot, Mack sees plenty of bad attitudes. He’d rather sell his spots with his charm and a cardboard sign.

Janae Pierre

Janae Pierre