Know the tailgating stats and what to stock for this great American tradition
Updated 08.06.19 More than 50 million Americans a year tailgate at least once per season. Tailgaters stake their claim hours and even days before the game. They share their favorite creations to cheers and high-fives long before the action on the field kicks off. Tailgating supplies are a must have for these diehard fans.
And although National Tailgating Day is always the first Saturday in September, diehard football fans celebrate throughout the season! Tailgating is such an important part of the college football culture that 46% of their tailgaters would stop attending games if tailgating was prohibited! Let’s break down some important tailgating stats so you can know your customers.
- 79% are male
- 73% have a college degree or higher
- 95% prepare meals onsite
- 59% use a combination of grills, stoves and smokers
- 51% set up 3 to 4 hours before the game
- 42% spend over $500 a season on food and supplies
- 46% tailgate 6–10 times a season, 21% tailgate 11–15 timesand8% tailgate at more than 16 games in a season
Know the tailgating demographics
Football tailgaters are not alike. Who tailgates and why varies by which type of team they support—college or pro. This can make a big impact on the kinds of tailgating supplies you carry. Also, be sure to offer several tiers of products, so both cash-strapped students and more prosperous adults can find what they need in your store.
- Extraordinarily passionate about their team and vocal about rivalries with other colleges.
- Almost always attend the game itself. Bragging rights are at stake!
- Are multigenerational, as both students and loyal alumni attend games year after year.
- Those under the age of 21 attend about 12 tailgates a year. Those 61–70 years in age average 16 a year.
- Are more likely to turn out in greater numbers if the school has a very successful college football program.
- 49% travel less than one hour to the stadium while 15% travel between 2 to 4 hours.
- Modest setups rub shoulders with more elaborate ones.
- Even set up on boats and docks! 3 universities are known for “Sailgates”—Baylor, the University of Washington, and the University of Tennessee.
- Over-the-top fans generate excitement, but there’s a more laid-back atmosphere with comfort and relaxation as key components.
- Some prefer to stay in the parking lot, making the tailgate the main event—especially if the team is having a bad year.
- Conversely, more than 90% of NFL fans say the crowd in the stadium can influence the outcome of the game.
- Gen Xers are most likely to attend a game with a spouse; 48% of millennials and 46% of Baby Boomers are most likely to attend games with friends.
- 30% of NFL fans believe game day rituals and superstitions can influence the game’s outcome.
- Most popular game day rituals are wearing a lucky piece of clothing and tailgating.
- 43% plan to attend an NFL game and 24% of NFL stadium attendees tailgate about 3 games a season, spending an average of $196 at each tailgate party, with nearly a quarter of that spent on non-food items.
- 30% of fans would miss a parent’s birthday party to see a favorite team play in the Super Bowl; 13% would miss their own wedding.
- Nearly 30% are willing to travel 100 miles; over 20% are willing to travel more than 500 miles.
- 71% believe being at the game is better than watching it on TV.
Food, fun, and camaraderie
While the game might be in the stadium, the lifestyle begins in the parking lot. Although the tailgate culture can vary from region to region, all seasoned tailgaters have one thing in common—they never skimp on food or other staples! Retailers within a several-hour drive of universities and pro teams should stock these tailgating supplies:
- Ice or ice substitute
- Folding wagons
- Folding tables and chairs
- Portable fire pits for chilly days
- Portable grills
- Sauce mops
- Food gloves
- Griddle accessories
Don’t forget game-day entertainment options! Tailgaters don’t have to leave the comforts of home at home. Portable TVs, speakers, and more make it easier than ever to follow the action from across the country from the comfort of a tailgater’s favorite parking spot.
And finally, be sure to tout the benefits of power inverters so tailgaters can power crucial electronics from their car’s battery!
Eat, drink, and be merry
According to HardwareRetailing.com, tailgating is a $20 billion industry and growing. Help fan the flames by holding a store tailgate in your parking lot. Set up tents, grill, and host fun games with store merchandise as prizes. Incorporate a truck tailgate if you can. Even if you don’t have a college or pro football team nearby, you can hold store tailgates celebrating high school teams. And definitely consider renting out tents, grills and chairs to tailgaters.
Millions of Americans tailgate every year. Tap into their passions and get the football tailgating supplies they need from Petra!