DETROIT -- What was looking like potential gridlock downtown with Tigers and Lions games starting at the same time on Monday, Sept. 8, has now become a Tigers-Lions doubleheader. Now, the two teams will try to work out the parking setup for what could be one of the bigger sports nights downtown in years.
The Tigers originally had scheduled for a 7:08 p.m. ET first pitch that night to open a three-game series against the Royals at Comerica Park. However, the National Football League announced two weeks ago that the Lions would open their season at Ford Field that night with the early game in a Monday Night Football doubleheader, a 7:10 p.m. kickoff against the New York Giants. That put Detroit on track for an unprecedented test, playing two games at the same time across the street from each other on a weeknight.
The closest they've come to such a setup happened the day Ford Field opened Sept. 22, 2002. The Tigers played their home season finale early that afternoon against the Yankees, followed by the Lions' home opener against the Packers at 4:15. Since then, the two teams have tried to avoid playing home games on the same day, or to schedule them as far apart as possible when they do in an effort to stagger the traffic.
Except for Lions preseason games, when the two teams have played on the same day, they've always done so on the weekend.
Because the two stadiums are so close together, they use some of the same parking structures to accommodate fans. Such situations have caused conflicts in other cities in recent years. In Detroit's case, Tigers spokeperson Ron Colangelo said the teams will work together to find ways to get fans in and out.
When the Tigers schedule weekday matinees in advance, they almost always start them at 1:08 p.m. In this case, however, the Royals are traveling in that Sunday evening from New York and a three-game series against the Yankees.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.