New Tailgating Rules At The Rose Bowl

Add the Rose Bowl to the growing list of stadiums that are cutting back on tailgating times and implementing stricter rules regarding alcohol consumption.

Last season at the USC vs. UCLA game at the Rose Bowl an estimated 75 person brawl broke out in the parking lot which resulted in two people being stabbed. The catalyst that sparked the brawl was not the heated rivalry between the cross-town schools but merely an errant throw during a game of “catch”. A football was not caught and hit someone’s Mercedes Benz (WTF? Who brings a Mercedes Benz tailgating?) thus sparking an argument that quickly escalated into punches being thrown. Take a look at this local Los Angeles news report on the tailgating changes coming to the Rose Bowl.

Of course, right on cue, the Rose Bowl officials immediately found excessive drinking in the parking lot to be the main culprit. Much like all of the other stadiums that have had bad publicity as a result of violence either inside the stadium or outside in the parking lot, tailgating has become Enemy No. 1 these days. Some of the new tailgating rules for the Rose Bowl in 2011 include:

  • Alcohol consumption will be prohibited in all tailgating areas after kickoff. (In years prior, alcohol was only banned after kick-off in the Brookside Golf Club area.)
  • Tailgating hours reduced from eight hours to six hours.
  • Tailgaters can not participate in drinking games like beer pong of have rapid alcohol delivery devices like beer bongs.
  • “Tailgating Ambassadors” wearing green uniforms and riding bicycles will patrol the lots to ensure the new guidelines are followed.
  • Tailgaters are also encouraged to call or text police if they see a potential altercation situation brewing in the parking lots.

Whenever a stadium authority or a city council steps in and wants to regulate tailgating, I tend to look at the new rules with a closer eye. Sometimes I will agree with the rule changes and think they are needed. Other rules and restrictions I find to be ridiculous and overreaching. So let’s take a look at each rule change one-by-one:

Alcohol consumption will be prohibited in all tailgating areas after kickoff. (In years prior, alcohol was only banned after kick-off in the Brookside Golf Club area.)
– Opinion = Mixed. It might not be a bad idea to encourage people to stop drinking once the game has started. It might be a good idea to encourage them to make their way into the game. On the other hand, if a fan wants to still be a part of the action and could not get or afford tickets and has a designated driver, who is to say he can not enjoy a cold one while listening to the game on the car radio?

Tailgating hours reduced from eight hours to six hours.
– Opinion = Dumb rule. I know where they are going with this rule. It is commonly thought that if you give fans eight hours to tailgate they will use all those hours to binge drink. But apparently six hours of tailgating isn’t long enough for people to get drunk and unruly? All reduced tailgating times do is create more traffic congestion and does not curb binge drinking. If someone is determined to drink a 12-pack of beer before the game, if they really apply themselves, they are going to get it done in an hour.

Tailgaters can not participate in drinking games like beer pong of have rapid alcohol delivery devices like beer bongs.
– Opinion = Dumb rule. This rule is highly unenforceable. Who is going to be the ones coming around and telling people to put away their beer pong tables? These new “tailgating ambassadors”? And what if someone refuses to put it away or ignores them and continues to do beer bongs? What is done then? Is the person’s car towed? Is the person arrested? Is the person issued a ticket and will have to pay a fine? The ambiguity and potential enforcement of this rule makes it another dumb rule that looks to be a positive gesture in making a difference. In the end this rule will do nothing to improve tailgating safety.

“Tailgating Ambassadors” wearing green uniforms and riding bicycles will patrol the lots to ensure the new guidelines are followed.
– Opinion – Dumb idea. Who are these “ambassadors”? Are they alumni walking around in green windbreakers? Are they private security? Are they off duty cops? And what is their role? Will they help someone get their grill started if they need help? That sounds more like a tailgating ambassador to me. But apparently these ambassadors will be nothing more than snitches and narcs looking to squash someone’s good time.

Tailgaters are also encouraged to call or text police if they see a potential altercation situation brewing in the parking lots.
– Opinion = Good idea. Most people do not alert authorities when something is happening for fear of repercussions from the people they are reporting to authorities. With everyone now having a cell phone of some sort and text messaging available, this technology has allowed responsible tailgaters to report a potential dangerous situation anonymously. This type of reporting system has been implemented in stadiums across the country and many believe that it has prevented fights in the stands from escalating out of control. The true test of utilizing this text messaging system would be how well distributed the contact number is and how quickly police or these ambassadors can respond to a potentially volatile situation. If people do not know the proper number to text or police arrive too slowly, this suggestion will fail miserably.

So yet again, the results of bad behavior and society lacking manners has resulted in an indictment of the entire tailgate party lifestyle. You can now add the Rose Bowl to the list of stadiums and venues who are now blaming tailgating for all the bad behaviors fans sometimes exhibit.

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