The evolution of tailgating
Sporting events are natural social events. Pregame and post game activities have become just as much a part of the game day experience as the match up itself. A good pregame party sets the mood for the fans who will soon be cheering wildly inside the stadium nearby.
Originally the tailgate party was just a couple of fans gathered at the rear of a vehicle enjoying simple snacks and even a few drinks. Over the past few decades, the tailgate party has evolved into much more, often eclipsing the sporting event as the center of attention. The actual party can come in many different forms. Some continue to embrace the simplicity of an open truck tailgate with a modest menu. Others have morphed into multi-day events which include every amenity imaginable.
Types of tailgating
1. The simple tailgate party. In its most basic form, the tailgate party is an onsite pregame festivity that gives fans headed into the game the opportunity to enjoy some food while they discuss their favorite team and the opponent of the day. The majority of tailgating that occurs prior to a game resembles this type of setup, although many add grills, coolers, music, and generators to the equation in order to create a more enhanced party atmosphere. The first tailgaters arrive in their car and trucks at the crack of dawn so that they can secure a desirable parking spot. The parking lots vary as well, including private and public lots ranging from a few dollars for spots far from the stadium to several hundred dollars for spots in the shadow of the event.
2. Corporate and Alumni tailgate events. Companies and organizations often rent out halls or banquet facilities located within walking distance to sporting venues. This allows for a controlled environment and poses little risk of cancellation due to inclement weather. These events are more formal affairs with pre-planned menus and speaking appearances by former coaches and players. A cover charge is usually incurred or tickets are purchased ahead of time. A catered event like this greatly reduces the amount of effort and planning on the part of those in attendance but still allows them to enjoy pregame festivities.
3. RV tailgating. RV tailgating has developed into a new subculture that combines the sporting event itself with another American pastime - camping. It is not uncommon to see a fleet of motor homes and trailers parked in close proximity to the stadium or arena. College and Professional sporting teams have embraced these avid supporters and even constructed specialized parking areas to cater to their needs and desires. RV tailgaters enjoy all the comforts of home and can extend their celebration by showing up to the day before and staying until the day after the big game.
Other tailgate information
Tailgating can be good for the wallet as well. Once inside the stadium or arena, a spectator can expect to pay high prices for food and drinks. The benefit of tailgating is you get to eat and drink prior to entering the game thus being less likely to spend a small fortune at the concession stand.
People who would otherwise not be interested in attending a sporting event find themselves participating in the social aspect of game day by attending the tailgate party. In fact, some people don't attend the game at all, opting to stay with friends outside the stadium while the contest goes on inside. Then, after the game, they catch up with those who did attend and the celebration continues.
Tailgating is longer limited to NFL football either. Partygoers and their tailgate setups can be found outside all major sporting events no matter what the sport. In fact, college football not professional football, has some of the most extreme tailgating to go along with some of the most passionate fans.
No matter what form of tailgating you participate in, a good party will surely make the game day experience more memorable.