What is most fans' No. 1 worry as they approach a college venue for a major college football game?
Many people would say "parking," especially if it's a stadium they've never been to before.
A Granger family has set out to lessen a fan's anxiety quite a bit by creating iPhone apps for parking lots at Notre Dame, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State.
Included in the app is information on cost, distance from the stadium, tailgating availability and restrooms.
"We're really excited about it," said Celeste Ross, who, along with her husband, John, and with the help of their four kids, created the app. "We're just starting to get the word out. People have started to figure out that it's there."
Two years ago John and Celeste were attending a Notre Dame-Michigan State game in East Lansing and the proverbial light bulb went off over John's head when he found himself wishing he knew exactly where he could park, Celeste said.
He wondered if there was something available telling him where to park. After they returned home, the couple began to research that question and found, that no, there is not a whole lot of information on parking at various venues.
And that's when they came up with the idea for the GameDay Parking app.
Each app costs $1.99. At each venue, it shows all available, nonreserved parking for home games -- including yard and businesses that open areas for parking -- and whether the lot has restrooms and allows tailgating.
"Really, it's mainly for visiting fans to be able to figure out where the heck can I go after I get off the Toll Road here in South Bend," Celeste said, giving Notre Dame home games as an example. "Where do I go from there?"
Besides South Bend, the couple visited West Lafayette in Indiana, and East Lansing and Ann Arbor in Michigan to build the app.
Along with their four kids, currently ages 8 to 14, they visited parking lots, wrote down addresses, spoke to the parking lot providers and collected as much information as possible. The app provides far more information than the universities offer.
How it works
The result now is an app that can work for fans in a number of ways, whether they want just a list with costs and addresses, or would prefer picking a general area around the venue.
"You open up the app and it will take you to a map," Celeste said. "South Bend for example, shows you north, south, east and west in relation to the stadium. You can pick by area.
"Click on the east side. It opens up and there's pin-drops to all the parking areas. You can pick one that way or you can go to list function.
"The list function will give it to you either by cost or distance to the stadium."
Once a fan decides on what lot to go to, the screen gives all sorts of information.
"So you can click on Home 36 or Lot 24 and you get a screen that gives you all the information (for that lot), whether it's grass or asphalt, if it has restrooms, whatever information the provider wants you to have."