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2010 Tailgating Predictions Revisited

Posted by Dave On December - 29 - 2010

crystal Ball mediumEarly in January of this year I put together a Predictions On Tailgating for 2010 post trying my hand at predicting the future. So as 2010 comes to a close in less than a week I thought it might be fun to take a look back and see how well we did at predicting the future.

PREDICTION NO. 1Tailgating times will get smaller and restrictions will grow.

Verdict = True
Probably the biggest and most controversial proofs of this prediction came in Cleveland this year. The famed Muni Lot in Cleveland has been home to some of the most famous and infamous tailgate parties for decades. Browns fans get there early to get their favorite spot and even though the team has been a disappointment more than it has been a city treasure, the tailgaters in the Muni Lot revel in the fellowship and atmosphere that is pre-gaming before a Browns game. The Muni Lot gates would open at 4 am and many Browns tailgaters would be there waiting for the gates to open. This year, sadly, Cleveland announced the gates to the Muni Lot would open at 7 am and on top of that the parking fees would be going up. Yup, you guessed it…. they claimed the fee hike was to cover rising costs in providing services; services that were now being provided for three less hours. The Browns fans were so outraged they even started a petition to get the Muni Lot to reopen at 4 am to avoid traffic congestion and basically to allow the fans to enjoy the tailgating longer.

Another example of how this prediction came true was the New Tailgating Rules For College World Series. No longer could you save spots for friends or even pick your spot where you wanted to park. CWS tailgaters were directed to areas of the parking lot by staff and lot attendants. Another example would be “Pinto Ron”, the famous Buffalo Bills tailgater was told by the league he could no longer hold his rowdy and sometimes irreverent style tailgate party in the Bills parking lot. Upon threatening to move his party across the street, the Bills management asked him to stay but told him he needed to tone it down including not offering shots of liquor out of the thumb hole of his famous bowling ball.

Tow Hitch Stripper Pole bikini girlPREDICTION NO. 2More tailgating products will be introduced utilizing the 2″ tow hitch.

Verdict = True
As much as we tailgaters love to party in the parking lots, gear manufacturers love to produce goods that use the tow hitch receiver on the backs of our vehicles. In 2010 we discovered more tailgating gear designed for use in the 2″ tow hitch including the Tow Hitch Stripper Pole, the Auto-mo-brella and the Fan E Flag just to name a few.These products were added to the long list of already existing tailgating gear such as grills, flagpoles, tables and shelter that already used the 2″ tow hitch.

PREDICTION NO. 3Struggling college football programs will make tailgating more enticing in order to attract more fans to the games.

Verdict = True
We saw it in 2009 with Baylor offering tailgaters increased parking lot amenities like electricity and cable TV. Coincidentally their football team was invited to a Bowl game in 2010 for the first time in a long time. We’re not sure if they are related, but tailgaters should take the credit for the team’s turnaround. 2010 saw more football programs embrace tailgating as a viable and desirable asset to a positive college football experience. UC Davis started test driving limited tailgating to see what kind of a response they would get. Georgia State just started up their football program from scratch but the university and alumni embraced tailgating outside of the Georgia Dome as a regular part of the game day experience.

binge drinkingPREDICTION NO. 4More tailgating games will come out that target binge drinkers.

Verdict = Neutral
There’s always going to be binge drinking games that target tailgaters but I did not see an inordinate amount of products introduced in 2010 that targeting the binge drinking tailgaters of the world. So because there was no increase nor decrease this comes out a neutral score.

PREDICTION NO. 5Companies will introduce products that are specific to tailgating and not just products that can also be used for camping, fishing and other outdoor activities.

Verdict = Neutral
In today’s down economy, companies are trying to market to whatever demographic will buy the most of their product. We did see some products that were far and away aimed at tailgating but they also had other functions. For example, the RACC is clearly a tailgating canopy that extends off the rear of your vehicle making it ideal for tailgating. That said, it could also be used to go fishing and camping or at a picnic in the park if you can park close enough. There are other examples out there but we did not see a ton of products that only had tailgating uses and were not versatile enough to be used elsewhere.

PREDICTION NO. 6Major Fortune 500 companies will target the tailgating consumer with expensive ad campaigns.

Verdict = True
2009 proved to be the year that Madison Avenue embraced tailgating as a viable way to market and sell products. That trend continued in 2010 although new companies jumped in with both feet this year. Most notably was Ford Motor Company with their BCS Tailgate campaign. Ford advertised heavily the opportunity to enter and win a tricked out Ford F-150 complete with a pull out grill and folding flat screen TVs along with tickets to all four BCS Bowl Games. Kingsford Charcoal teamed up with sports programming monolith ESPN to present “Tailgate Week” which encouraged fans to tailgate in their backyard even if they didn’t have tickets to the game. Clearly these companies are attempting to tap into the popularity and appeal of tailgating beyond just the hardcore few that do it week in and week out in the stadium parking lots.

Dodgers SuckPREDICTION NO. 7One NFL Stadium will ban any consumption of alcohol in the parking lots after an ugly incident covered in the media occurs.

Verdict = True… sort of
Instead of saying “NFL Stadium” I should have just said “sports stadium” and I would have nailed this one too. If you recall, I stated that this was a prediction that was going out on a limb and I was hoping I was dead wrong on. Unfortunately I was right on this one although it happened in Major League Baseball and not in the NFL.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have completely banned tailgating altogether and this policy was implemented on opening day. Not only was tailgating banned but LAPD Officers were issuing tickets for those who lingered too long near their cars after parking.

Although tailgating was not banned at an NFL stadium this year, it was severely limited and restricted down in Houston. Following some ugly alcohol soaked fights between Texans and Cowboys fans showing up on YouTube and local TV stations, the Houston Texans management decided to restrict tailgating to those who had tickets to the day’s game and also issued tailgating passes. Tailgaters without a ticket and without a tailgate pass were not permitted to enter the parking lots at all. So although there was not a complete and total ban on tailgating at an NFL stadium, an ugly incident that occurred in the parking lot severely changed the landscape of how tailgating was treated moving forward.

After taking a look at how we fared on predicting the future, I think we went 5-0-2. Now if only I could have that kind of success rate on predicting college football games against the Vegas spread I might have a career in sports betting. But then again, I think I will stick to tailgating predictions where losing my life saving is not in jeopardy.

Weekend Wrap-Up #116: Don’t Be That Guy Edition

Posted by Dave On October - 18 - 2010

We’ve all had one too many while tailgating. But I am not sure if we all have tried to take a nap in our tailgating chair. And I highly doubt that any of us have ever been so hammered we have been dumped out of said chair and not been able to figure out if we were pushed rather than figuring we fell out on our own. Or maybe this guy knew Ohio State was going to lose their No. 1 ranking after only having it for a whole week and decided getting blasted was the better option. Links follow the video:

• Join us on our Tailgating Ideas Facebook Fan Page (If we can get 300 fans by Halloween we’ll give away a free Drill Blender to one fan selected randomly.)
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• Houston Texans new policy keeps lots free of nonpaying fans — but not gripes
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Cover Your Bass

Video: Texans Tailgate Trespass

Posted by Dave On October - 17 - 2010

I think I made it abundantly clear my feelings regarding the new tailgating policy the Houston Texans instituted a few weeks ago. If you are new here or just missed that day, you can read about it HERE.

I found this video today that is a Texans fan documenting his attempt to tailgate at Reliant Stadium despite not having a ticket to the game nor a tailgating pass. I won’t ruin it for you by telling you if he is successful or not but I will encourage you to visit his blog post about it on his blog, JamesWreck.com

Weekend Wrap-Up #115: Canadian Thanksgiving Edition

Posted by Dave On October - 10 - 2010

Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving. In America it is Columbus Day but in Canada they will stuff their faces with turkey and potatoes and give thanks for all of their good fortune over the past year. Celebrated on the second Monday in October, does anyone else find it coincidental that the hockey season tends to open up around the same time? I am sure one of the things Canadians are thankful for is hockey season and a mention of that probably sneaks its way into the pre-dinner prayer. Just be thankful that hot Canadian hockey fans like to sports their favorite team’s colors even if you aren’t Canadian. Links follow the image:

Hot Montreal Canadiens Fan

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Cover Your Bass

Houston Texans Tailgating

Instead of basking in the afterglow of opening the NFL season with a win over the Indianapolis Colts, having a truly legitimate playoff contender in Houston and starting the season 3-1, Texans fans are still fuming over a change in tailgating policy.

Houston Chronicle: Texans’ new policy has mixed reviews
Galveston County Daily News: New tailgating rules punish Texans fans
HoustonTexans.com: Tailgate Guest Ticket Policy Information

The major outcry in regards to this new policy change is two fold. 1) Houston fans are crying foul because they believe this new policy was in direct reaction to the events that occurred surrounding the Texans’ game against the Dallas Cowboys. 2) Many fans in Houston that can not afford season tickets or can not get tickets because they are sold out just want to be a part of the game day atmosphere and now can’t. Add to it the fact that the Texans organization is now selling “tailgating passes”, many believe it is yet another money grab fleecing the tailgaters for more cash.

Although requiring tailgaters to hold a ticket to the event is not new, the way in which the Texans are doing it is short sighted and wrong. For years, many concert venues hosting Jimmy Buffett concerts require proof of concert tickets before entering the parking areas. Jimmy Buffett tailgating has become so legendary that many would show up just to tailgate and gobble up all the parking spots and later arriving, ticket holding tailgaters would not get to park. This is not a new concept but the way the Texans are going about it is all wrong.

First of all, if there was a strain on resources like a lack of parking attendants, overused portable toilets, smaller police to tailgaters ratios, etc. the Texans management should have seen this coming before the 2010 preseason started. The Texans are no longer a struggling expansion franchise that had to win back a fan base still angry over the departure of the Houston Oilers to Tennessee. The team has been showing steady improvement and with winning comes an increase in tailgating. So this issue has been building and apparently the rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys brought it to a head.

Many fans contend that an abnormal increase in fan altercations in the parking lot the day the Texans played the Cowboys was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Texans’ management had had enough and they implemented this policy swiftly. My problem is that this problem did not happen overnight. It had been building and it came to a head on the Dallas game. Had these executives been doing their jobs, they should have instituted some sort of a policy change that was not done hastily or as a knee jerk reaction in order to gain some positive PR.

Here is what I would have proposed had I been in the Texans’ executive offices. Make the requirement that all fans possessing a game ticket are allowed to enter and park and tailgate. Instead of selling tailgating companion passes for $10 a piece, (clearly another money grab by a greedy NFL franchise in a crappy economy) I would offer season ticket holders the option to apply for non-ticketed, companion tailgating passes that are uniquely bar-coded and limited to four passes per season ticket account. If the limit was set to only 2,000 companion tailgating passes, those who have been season ticket holders the longest get first crack at the passes. Loyalty and seniority will be rewarded just like it is rewarded when it comes to priority in assigning new seat locations for the following season. I would also add in that any tailgating companion passes being sold on eBay, Craigslist, in the local classifieds, via a ticket broker, etc. would be voided for the remainder of the season. This would ensure that long time season ticket holders would not just take the companion passes in an attempt to make money for themselves and would be truly used for friends and family that can not get tickets otherwise.

Anyone that has read this tailgating blog over the years knows that I am a huge proponent of responsible tailgating. But I am also a realist in that I know not everyone is going to drink responsibly and act responsibly while tailgating. Some people who are ill-mannered and the product of poor parenting think tailgating is an excuse to behave inappropriately. Certain games and rivalries tend to bring out this behavior more than others. I hate to use this example but every year when the Raiders visit the Chargers, police and security presence inside and outside the stadium is beefed up. The Raider game is the only game on the schedule where alcohol sales inside the stadium are cut off at halftime whereas other games those sales stop at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Texans management team is smart enough to already know which games on the schedule may require more security or will draw a bigger crowd and they can adjust accordingly.

A question I would ask the Texans management that implemented this policy, what about a fan who is coming to the game with another group of friends but an earlier arriving tailgating has their ticket? I have seen it millions of times in the parking lot where a tailgater will get to the lot after a friend or family member has already staked out a spot. There in the parking lot is where they get their ticket before heading into the game. So with this new policy does that mean the ticket holder will either have to mail or drive over the friend’s ticket prior to the game day to ensure they will be allowed in if they are joining the party later? I’m sure Al Gore would take issue with the increased carbon footprint around Houston because a season ticket holder has to drive all over town to give that week’s game tickets to the appropriate people.

This policy change is a prime examples of what happens when those in powerful positions make decisions hastily and in the interest of appeasing the media. Sometimes the making a change quickly to show you are aware of the problem and you are handling it does not always prove to be the smartest or best solution.

Come on guys. You’ve had years to fix this problem. Fleecing the tailgaters for more money isn’t helping solve the problem or deter bad behavior in the parking lots. All it does is line your overstuffed pockets with money from those who are the most loyal. You still have time to rescind this reactionary policy make things right for the remainder of the season.

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TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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