A car slowly drives down Illinois Street 10 minutes before Kansas University's recent football game against Colorado. One of the passengers rolls down the window and asks one of the many people out selling parking spots, "How much?"
Thirty-five dollars is the going rate, this close to the stadium, this close to game time.
"That's a lot of money," the man says as the car pulls away looking for a better deal. But he's probably not going to find one.
The free market rules when it comes to parking on a KU game day.
And while for some a KU game day means a chance to spend time with friends and support KU, for others in the Oread neighborhood, a home game means an opportunity to make a few bucks - or even a few hundred bucks - by selling parking spots on lawns and driveways.
Stevie Crisosto, a KU senior, can make up to $500 selling about 25 spots on her lawn at the corner of Ninth and Alabama streets. Crisosto and her roommates all pitch in to work, and they split the money with their landlord.
Crisosto and her roommates are just one of many groups who team up on game day to sell spots.
KU senior Sagan Zavelo and some of his neighbors near Ninth and Maine streets pool their available parking spots and work together holding signs and directing traffic. Zavelo and his neighbors charge $20 per spot, and can fit up to 50 cars.
"It gets competitive," said Morgan Wood, who works with her roommates to sell the 10 spots in their backyard in the alley behind Maine Street. Wood and her roommates use the money to pay utilities.
Spots a few blocks away from the stadium go for a standard rate of $20, while those closer to the stadium can go for up to $35.
Under a city ordinance, people parking in front yards on any other day can expect to pay the city a $40 fine, but a provision in the city code allows the city to suspend the enforcement of the ordinance for 24 hours.
According to Lawrence Police Capt. Dan Affalter, that's the case on game days in the Oread Neighborhood, which is bordered by Ninth Street, West Campus Road, Tennessee Street and 14th Street.
While KU's Orange Bowl victory last year was a boost for the university and the community, those selling spots have also seen a benefit in how much they can charge because of the football team's success.
Michelle Kern, who sells spots with her husband at the three rental houses they own, said they could only charge $10 or $15 for spots last year. Now, they can get $25 apiece for the 70 to 80 spots they have available on Alabama and Illinois streets.
Despite having to pay for something normally taken for granted - a parking spot - it's worth it for Lawrence resident Norma Davis. Davis, who paid $20 for a spot she regularly buys at 10th and Maine streets, likes to be close to witness the game day environment. "We can people-watch," Davis said.
It's not all business for those selling spots, as sellers tailgate, grill and play Frisbee.
Zavelo said he and his co-sellers want to sell the spots as soon as possible to get to the game on time. For him, selling spots on game day is the best of both worlds.
"It's fun and it's making money," he said.
- Correspondent Shaun Hittle is a journalism graduate student at KU. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.