Die-hard sports fans will tell you that tailgating is just as important as the actual game.
It’s part of the tradition of watching a sports game.
If you’ve never tailgated before, you may wonder what it’s all about and why people do it.
Whether it’s being able to get to the game early, meeting new friends, or just enjoying a good party, here are a few reasons people tailgate.
Why Do People Tailgate? (10 Reasons)
1. Gets You To The Game Early
You’re not really tailgating unless you get to the parking lot several hours before the game even starts.
One of the benefits of tailgating is that you often get there before the crowd.
The only other people in the parking lot with you are other people looking to tailgate.
As such, you’re able to enjoy the benefits of arriving at the stadium early.
For one, it usually means you’re able to get a good parking spot.
Depending on how early you arrive, and whether the stadium has assigned parking or not, you get to have your pick among the spaces.
That can prove all the difference when trying to leave the stadium after the game.
It also ensures you don’t make it late to the game.
The last thing you want after paying good money for your ticket is to miss the first kick-off.
Arriving early also ensures that you’re first in line when it comes to entering the stadium.
You can get right to your seats and get ready for the game ahead.
While tailgating provides its own fun, having to arrive early at the parking lot to tailgate also offers its own benefits.
People tailgate because it encourages them to arrive at the stadium early and lets them enjoy the benefits of arriving early.
2. Make New Friends
Tailgating is all about meeting new people.
While you can certainly throw your own private tailgating party, you shouldn’t be too surprised if you get other party-goers as well.
Tailgating, at its very heart, is a social event.
You’re going to meet new people who support your team as well as those who don’t support your team.
You can have some fun with both.
You may even find a new, lasting friend from tailgating.
You might discover that you and this other individual have a lot of things in common.
You might share the same interests and hobbies.
Besides becoming a friend outside of the sport, you might also just make a new tailgating friend.
Any time you tailgate in the future, you can meet up with your new friends.
Friendships are also possible with the fans of the opposing team.
You can have playful rivalries.
Any time your two teams play against each other in the future, you can look forward to seeing your tailgating friend—or rival—once more.
People tailgate because it allows them to make new friends.
3. Show Off Your Love For Your Team
Anyone can put on a jersey and arrive at the stadium to cheer their team to victory.
Only those who truly love their teams will tailgate.
Tailgating gives you the chance to show just how much you love your team.
You can decorate your entire car or truck to match your team’s colors or logo.
When it gets closer to game time, you’ll also find it easier to prepare yourself for the actual game.
For example, if you want to paint your skin to match your team’s colors, then it’s a better idea to paint your skin just before going into the stadium than hours before.
That’s because the heat of the day can make you sweat.
The longer you’re in your paint, the more faded and streaky your paint is going to become.
If you wait to paint yourself before the game starts, then your paint will look fresh throughout the game.
The easiest way to do that is to tailgate.
You can quickly get what you need from your car and paint yourself in your car, in a bathroom, or just outside by your car.
Along with decorating yourself and your car, tailgating can allow you to create a total area devoted to your team.
Team-themed chairs, grills, and plastic cutlery are essential.
People tailgate because it allows them to show off their love for their teams.
4. Engage In Competitive Tailgating
Some people also like to tailgate because they’re competitive.
There are two types of tailgaters.
Some park on different sides of the parking lot, and some park right next to the opposing team.
Those who park on different sides of the parking lot like to congregate with their fellow fans.
They like to hype each other up and enjoy a more relaxed setting before the game.
Those who park next to a rival’s tailgating party usually like to engage in some friendly competition.
They might go all-out on decorating their cars or tailgating space.
A competition might start between the two on who can support their teams the most.
That rivalry might continue through the years.
It’s something both people look forward to.
They might even enjoy it more than the game itself.
It’s a bit of fun that both parties can have.
Some people like to tailgate because they like to trash-talk with others over whose team is better or whose tailgating party is better.
5. Spend Time With Friends
Tailgating also presents an opportunity to spend time with friends.
While you can certainly make new friends at tailgating events, it’s also a great opportunity to just relax with the friends that you have.
Tailgating with friends is popular since most friends tend to support the same teams.
You can arrive in matching jerseys and catch up before the game starts.
The problem with trying to catch up during the game is that it isn’t always the best environment.
Stadiums are loud and busy.
It can be difficult to focus on one another or the conversation with everyone screaming or talking around you.
By tailgating, you can catch up and bond before the game starts.
Then, once the game begins, all your attention can go towards the game and experience it together.
Tailgating can also be quite relaxing.
You can grill some food, then relax on chairs with your meal and some alcohol.
Some tailgaters even bring a TV.
It allows them to watch another game while they’re waiting for their game to start.
People tailgate because it allows them to catch up and bond with their friends.
6. Get Hyped
Besides being a social event, one of the purposes of tailgating is to hype up everyone before the game.
You can think of tailgating as a pep rally.
Like the pep rallies in high school, the music plays, and everyone gets excited for the game ahead.
It revs up the players and the fans.
In tailgating, the players usually aren’t around, but the fans are.
Everyone congregates to get excited for the game ahead.
It’s usually a positive atmosphere where everyone is just excited to watch what’s going to happen.
Even if you’re sure your team is going to lose, going to a tailgating party can get you excited about it nonetheless.
People tailgate because it helps them get excited or pumped for the game ahead.
Superstitions are alive and well in the world of sports.
From players to coaches to fans, almost everyone has some sort of superstitious habit or ritual they follow.
The firm belief is that if they don’t perform a certain ritual, then their team will lose.
If they do perform the ritual, it will make the team win.
One common example is wearing the same jersey.
Some will wear the same jersey to each game to ensure their team wins.
A few won’t even wash the shirt to ensure it doesn’t break the streak of good fortune.
Others will wear certain types of underwear or shoes.
Superstitions are also involved in tailgating.
Some fans believe that if they don’t tailgate before a game, their team will lose.
Tailgating also gives people the opportunity to perform whatever superstitious ritual they have.
It might be a toast right before the game starts.
It might be a dance.
Whatever it is, tailgating plays a key part in their rituals.
Some people tailgate because they’re superstitious and believe if they don’t tailgate, their team might lose.
8. Supports The Team
Tailgating also helps support the team.
This is especially true for away teams.
When an away team arrives at the stadium, they can look at the parking lot and see flags and cars decorated with their team colors.
It shows them that even though they’re far from home, there are people who came all that way to continue to support them.
That can give them the sort of encouragement and confidence they need to play a great game.
Although it’s very effective for away teams, it doesn’t hurt home teams either.
When the home team arrives at the stadium, they’ll also see cars and fans decorated with their colors.
That can make them feel loved and supported.
It will remind them that this is their home, and it’s up to them to defend it.
That might also encourage them to give a great game.
The result is that both fans end up watching a great game.
Fans also love to support their teams.
Showing up early and grilling is an easy way to tell their teams that they’re there to root for them.
Some people tailgate because it’s an effective way of supporting their team.
9. Saves Money
One of the most common parts of tailgating is eating food.
People arrive and open up a grill.
Some people use humble and modest grills while other people bring their huge grills from home and fire them up in the parking lot.
Meat is usually on the menu.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, or even whole roasts are common.
Along with meat, you usually find an assortment of other snacks and side dishes.
Water and alcohol are also usually in large supply.
Since people tend to tailgate all day, it makes sense that they bring a good amount of food with them.
This also helps them save money.
There’s no question that concession food is expensive.
The stadium inflates its prices because it knows most people aren’t going to leave the stadium to get food.
Their only choice is the various restaurants inside the stadium.
By tailgating, people can fill themselves up before the game starts.
They’re less likely to need to buy expensive concession food as a result.
That can help them save a good amount of money.
Some people tailgate because it helps them save money on concession food.
10. Party Scene
A final reason people tailgate is that tailgating is essentially a giant party.
There are food, drinks, people, and games.
Some people even come looking for love or just for a good time.
Games are also common at tailgating parties.
The most popular game is cornhole.
You have to toss bean bags into a hole to earn points.
Since it’s a party, there might be prizes or just bragging rights.
Some people might even place bets.
There’s also usually music playing.
Someone will inevitably pull out a stereo and start playing music.
It’s not uncommon for some dancing to occur.
With enough drinks flowing, the dance pool might even become quite large.
If you’re a social person, the party scene at a tailgating event can be quite fun.
There’s always something to do or just something to watch.
For example, some people will bring along some couches and a TV to watch a game playing elsewhere.
Others might bring along a gaming console and play some video games with strangers.
It’s a unique sort of party in that it starts with several small parties that end up merging into a larger party.
Some people tailgate because the party scene is a good time.
Tailgating is a popular practice that some fans do before every game.
Whether it’s because their superstitious nature demands it, they want to experience the benefits of arriving early, or they just love to party, there are plenty of reasons people tailgate.