Going to the stadium to watch your favorite team play is a great past-time for many Americans. The other thing that makes that outing more fun is the festivities that happen before and after the game.
Fans don’t only start celebrating after the match if their team has won, as numerous have engaged in an activity called tailgating. This is an activity that mostly happens in America, where fans gather before and after a match at a stadium to consume alcohol and to grill food.
Tailgating parties happen in stadium and arena parking lots, before and after games and concerts.
People who attend such an event are said to be tailgating. If tailgating has proved one thing, it’s that fans don’t need the outcome of a game to go their way for them to have fun. After all, why does your team need to win in order for you to have fun?
Tailgates are perceived to be non-commercial events, so selling merchandise or other items to fans is discouraged.
Although tailgate events gained prominence at pre-American football games, it has spread to basketball, hockey, baseball, and even non-sporting events such as weddings and concerts.
Tailgating became popular after fans decided to set up a barbecue in parking lots of stadiums and fraternizing while drinking. Some stadiums have a better tailgating atmosphere than others, so we wanted to find out which stadiums are the best to tailgate.
The stadium fills up with 76,000 fans who aren’t afraid to party in the parking lot well after the game has ended. Gates open 3.5 hours before the game, and fans are allowed to arrive with trailers but will be charged for an extra parking space. They must park on the grass.
RVs and motorhomes are also welcome at the stadium. Fans said that they go well beyond preparing hotdogs for the tailgates. The Chief fans love bacon at their tailgates. They’ve referred to it as an edible currency.
Looking for a family-friendly tailgating event?
Besides providing tons of lots for tailgating, the Soldier Field Stadium includes family-friendly ones. Home to the Chicago Bears, the Soldier Field Stadium welcomes some of the most loyal NFL fans.
Rain or shine, Chicago Bears fans will always consider it tailgating weather. The city is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, but the specialty at the tailgate is the grilled Krispy Kreme donuts.
There’s another feature that makes the Soldier Field Stadium tailgate experience unique:
It’s Da Bus.
Tim Stanley, the owner of Da Bus, flies into town from Austin, Texas to tailgate in the 1974 renovated school bus, which is decked out with Chicago Bears memorabilia.
Now that’s a diehard Bears fan.
The stadium opened in 1924 but received a renovation in 2002. The renovation modernized the facility but decreased seating capacity, causing it to be delisted as a National Historic Landmark.
Fans are allowed to tailgate in all surface lots and at the top of the Waldron Deck.
The atmosphere at the FirstEnergy stadium is upbeat since Cleveland Browns fans are always enthusiastic, regardless of the final score. That’s what makes their tailgates one of the best.
Cleveland Brown fans are known for their quirky tailgating traditions, which make the experience unique. They offer the famous beer-can chicken, which is a whole bird roasted with a can of beer in its cavity. Other popular offerings include plum brandy and spiked cupcakes.
The stadium’s unique offerings and attractions don’t stop there.
A common sight at the stadium is a huge bus painted like a dog holding a keg of beer while wearing a helmet.
The fans also have a tradition of playing Thunderstruck by AC/DC and drinking every time the lyric ‘Thunderstruck’ plays, which is often.
The stadium is only twenty years old and cost just under $300 million to construct. Cleveland Browns fans enjoy themselves whether their team wins or loses, which definitely makes for an enjoyable tailgate. Good on them.
Lincoln Financial Field
Serving as the home for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lincoln Financial Field can accommodate almost 70,000 fans.
Construction of the stadium began in 2001, but the doors opened in 2003 and cost just over $500 million. Although the stadium is fairly new, the Eagles announced in 2013 that they would make major upgrades to the stadium totaling around $125 million.
If the practically new venue wasn’t enough to make the stadium one of the most alluring tailgate spots in the U.S., then the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich should do the trick.
The organizers have made tailgating available at most of the lots but have also banned it in certain sections. Although tailgating at the Lincoln Financial Field is a lot of fun, the mood dampens when the Eagles lose.
Fans have a tradition known as Savesies. That started with saving freshly shoveled parking lot space with chairs during the winter season, but these days, fans save spots regardless of the season.
They also have a tradition of burning the opposing team’s jersey, as well as climbing poles and playing Shotgun Shotgun.
New Era Field
Orchard Park, New York
Originally Rich Stadium, and also known as the Ralph Wilson Stadium, the New Era Field is home to the Buffalo Bills.
The stadium is located at Orchard Park, New York and is one of two NFL stadiums that’s situated in a rural town.
Here’s what to expect at the New Era Field tailgate...
The first thing is something called Hammer’s Lot.
This happens when a man called Pinto Ron cooks bacon on a saw when standing on his car. Pinto Ron also uses a helmet to make a stir-fry, not to mention dispensing shots by using a bowling ball.
Considering this is the birthplace of wings, fans can expect some of the best in the country. The other specialty is a Kummelweck - a special Kaiser roll that people of Buffalo use to serve their burgers. Other offerings include a white pizza and plenty of ketchup.
The designated area is called the Tailgate Village, and the cost for a 20-person vehicle is $300.
Formerly known as the Reliant, NRG Stadium opened in 2002 and features an 80,000-seat stadium.
The stadium cost just over $350 million to construct and has since become a haven for Texan fans, BBQ lovers, and beef connoisseurs.
Houston Texans fans know how to barbecue, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they love tailgating and are really good at it.
What’s the specialty at the NRG tailgate?
All the beef.
As much beef as you can imagine.
Don’t be surprised to see elaborate mobile smokers and fancy beef briskets when you attend. Meat lovers will enjoy Texas since it’s the meat capital of the United States. Perhaps that’s why so many people consider the NRG tailgate as one of the best barbecues in the NFL.
The stadium offers four massive concourse levels for special events. It has an indoor/outdoor retractable that configures to utilize the 125,000 square feet of space, not to mention the 196 suites.
It seems that nothing can stand in the way of New England Patriots fans from tailgating.
They will brave blizzards to cheer on their team and to enjoy some of the best clam chowder in the world. Just don’t expect to see Tom Brady’s wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, out in the cold at a tailgate.
Besides the clam chowder, fans will be treated to some of the best seafood. They can expect fresh oysters, lobster, and scallops.
Make sure you don’t miss out on meeting Billy Burrows, who won Fan of the Year.
Well, if you’re nice to Billy, he might have something for you. Burrows gets to the stadium early and cooks up a feast to give to anyone who is interested.
Who wouldn’t want to go to a New England Patriot tailgate knowing there’s free seafood and other snacks to grub on?
Green Bay, Wisconsin
When you talk about tailgating, there’s one stadium that you cannot leave out. That is Lambeau Field. Green Bay Packers fans fill up that stadium parking well before the game has gotten underway.
Here’s what makes the stadium so special.
Many people consider the Lambeau Field a historic landmark in the NFL. They also believe that the Green Bay Packers coined the term tailgating.
The stadium is famous for its Tundra Tailgate Zone, an area next to the stadium that provides live music, beer, food and huge monitors that show the game. That area became so popular that it evolved into the Johnsonville Tailgate Village.
The popular attractions at the tailgate are the cheese and the bratwursts. The stadium can accommodate 81,000 fans and gates open four hours before kickoff.
Not only can you enjoy the electrifying atmosphere at a packed stadium, but the fun begins way before the game starts. Tailgating has proven to psyche fans up for the game and provides a platform to meet people while enjoying good food and drinks.
Every fan group has their way of enjoying tailgating and certain traditions that they abide. Although the fans are different in some ways, they share the joy of enjoying good food, drinks and friendships, not to mention the love for their team.
Tailgating is the pre and after-party to the games. To get a closer look at just how true that is, we also dug into some raw data to show just how seriously some people take tailgating. Check out the infographic below for all the gritty details!