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Sep102010

NFL Sunday Drivers: Why Fans Experience Life In The Not-So-Fast Lane

September 9, 2010: In the NFL, a game-winning drive can take just a matter of seconds off the clock and many times utilizes a no-huddle offense in order to speed up the situation.

However, regarding the process of actually getting to tailgate parties and the games themselves, many fans find that the process can often be mind-numbingly and excruciatingly slow. In fact, a majority of NFL fans must deal with traffic that is 30% slower on game days than at other times and many face traffic congestion that is 50% slower when their home team is in town.

According to a study by location and navigation solutions company TomTom, NFL fans heading to FedEx Field for Washington Redskins' home games, New England Patriots fans going to Gillette Stadium and fans of the Buffalo Bills attempting to reach Ralph Wilson Stadium are forced to drive 50% slower than typical speeds for the same roads. Slightly better off are fans in Jacksonville, Carolina, Miami, Tennessee, Green Bay, Atlanta, and Dallas, where Cowboys Stadium will host Super Bowl XLV in February, where in each case the drive is 30% slower on game days due to traffic and congestion.

Meanwhile, NFL game day traffic is least affected in Oakland, San Diego, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver, and Chicago, with slow-downs of less than 21%, according to Concord, Mass.-based TomTom.

Results from Arizona, Tampa Bay and Kansas City were not included due to limited sample size. Other teams not mentioned average a 30% slower drive time, per TomTom.

“On game days, or any day for that matter, drivers want to be able to get to their destinations faster,” Nhai Cao, senior product manager at TomTom, said in a statement. “With unique access to trillions of GPS measurements provided by our community of over 45 million drivers on an anonymous, opt-in basis, TomTom can consistently deliver our drivers access to the best possible routes via our IQ Routes technology – even on game days.”

In preparing for the 2010 NFL season, fans in their respective cities should also keep this information in mind, from the TomTom study:

• While one-third of the cities experience the slowest average speeds two hours before games start, fans in cities including Oakland, Miami and Cincinnati are heading to the stadium early as they experience the worst traffic four hours prior to kickoff.

• Eight of the ten professional football stadiums with the greatest game-time delays are based on the East Coast. "While fans on the West Coast contemplate East Coast biases, it looks like they have the upper hand when it comes to smoother traffic," according to TomTom.

• Fans in New Orleans and St. Louis can expect to experience the overall slowest speeds an hour before the game, as they drive at roughly 10 MPH.

"Fans in Oakland, Miami and Cincinnati are heading to the stadium early as they experience the worst traffic four hours prior to kickoff."

The TomTom study compares the average traffic speeds on the immediate major roadways leading to and around the 32 professional football stadiums to the average speeds on non-game days. Traffic patterns were analyzed over a four hour period prior to kickoff based in data from home games in the 2009 season.

The results of this study were calculated using data from the TomTom user community. TomTom compared anonymously contributed GPS measurements and data during the home games for each stadium for the 2009 season with data from TomTom’s historical speed database, Speed Profiles, which creates historical traffic patterns on both primary and secondary roads using data over a two-year period.

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