What's popping on the Tailgating front this September? Well, for starters, Pop-Tarts. This fall, Kellogg's is introducing its iconic toaster pastries emblazoned with the logos of the Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, UNC and Michigan football teams. Hardcore Tailgaters (you know, the kind who are set up by breakfast) at these schools will now be able to nibble a little team spirit to greet the morning. Food retailers who cater to this crowd can build neat Tailgating displays around the colorful Pop-Tarts packaging...or scoot Pop-Tarts a little closer to the chips and dip as game day approaches. For the record, the flavors are Gator Strawberry, Tar Heel Blueberry, Razorback Strawberry, Bulldog Berry and Wolverine Go Blue Strawberry. Red filling for the Ohio State game? That might be a tough sell for Michigan fans!
Pubs and taverns don't have much to complain about on game days. When the home team is in action, business booms. Even so, some bar and restaurant owners can't help but feel that all that stadium and home Tailgating is somehow eroding their business. Among the more successful promotions aimed at bringing those customers back through the door is establishing a "koozie connection." Establishments purchase custom-designed koozies and hand them out to customers prior to a big Tailgating event. That turns their customers into walking billboards. And when customers return to the bar with the koozie, they get $1 off any canned beer.
This past weekend, more than 20,000 fantasy football players converged on Atlantic City for the first Fantasy Football Fest. The event celebrated the game, of course, and also the lifestyle of the millions of Americans who play. Home and stadium Tailgating were a big part of the proceedings, with Johnsonville's Big Taste Grill rolling into town for the event. Fantasy football generates about $550 million in business annually, much of which goes toward having a memorable draft. More and more retailers are merchandising around "draft day" parties, which bring together millions of passionate, hungry and thirsty football aficionados.
Among the featured speakers at the conference are IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard and Mike Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals.
"We'll have some of the best and brightest minds in the business at the conference sharing their knowledge, experience and research with conference participants for our national forum," says Dr. Lou Marciani, Director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), located at The University of Southern Mississippi.
In the race to cash in on Tailgating, the college football world has found an able and willing partner in TicketMaster. By selling packages that include game tickets and choice Tailgating spots, the company has created a revenue model that more and more schools are likely to take advantage of. Case in point—The Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis between Tennessee State and Jackson State on September 8th. A 16-ducat package that includes prime real estate on Tiger Lane outside Liberty Bowl Stadium starts at $447.50. TicketMaster also has an online store offering a number of Tailgating items geared toward sports and entertainment.
Just when you thought you'd seen everything, it's time to think again. Literally. At Comic-Con in San Diego earlier in July, Japanese biosensor firm NeuroSky introduced the Necomimi headband, which features "cat ears" that move based on the wearer's brainwaves. Necomimi retails for a hundred bucks and is certain to be a hot product as Tailgating season shifts into high gear this fall. You don't have to be a licensed sports marketing genius to see where this is going.
TIA Survey Highlights: Tailgating Industry Takes A Long Look in the Mirror Posted 7/7/2012
First Round of Research Initiative Yields Intriguing Results
The results of the initial phase of the Tailgating Industry Association's 2012 Research Initiative have been tabulated and analyzed. What emerged from this exercise is a picture of a dynamic and innovative industry that is frustrated by a lack of basic business information, and resources that are either overstretched or misdirected.
The frustrations are common to most industries of this size. With continued industry participation, TIA will continue its research, and generate data that will be helpful to its manufacturing members, as well as their current and prospective retail partners.
The goal of this first round of research was to hold a mirror up to the business of Tailgating and find out from industry professionals what they know and what they don't. As you will see, the results point in some very definite directions as we continue this project in 2012.
We thank the manufacturers and retailers who took the time to share their thoughts, and encourage you to participate in the next survey.
We tabulated results after over 100 industry professionals completed the questionnaires as instructed. Slightly more than two-thirds (2/3) of the respondents fell into the "manufacturer" category, while just under a third (1/3) identified themselves as retailers or industry professionals. The industry questions posed were identical for both groups in almost all cases; exceptions were made in cases where questions were specific to manufacturing vs. retailing.
Among the manufacturers, exactly half (1/2) said they owned (or co-owned) a company that makes products that specifically target Tailgating consumers, or that are often used by tailgaters. The other half identified themselves as employees of these companies.
Just under half (1/2) of these companies have annual sales of under $1 million. Companies with sales between $1 and $5 million made up 31.4%, while 20% have annual sales in excess of $5 million. By most accounts, this is an accurate snapshot of the Tailgating industry.
Among the retailers responding to the survey, 61.8% identified themselves as the owner, co-owner, or partner in the business. Another 23.5% were executives or worked in a management role. The type of retail establishment covered a wide array of categories—again, a fairly accurate reflection of the Tailgating industry—with Souvenir/Gift/Novelty, Sports Apparel/Equipment, Collectibles and Discount Retailers accounting for half of all respondents. Of the retailers, 41.2% reported annual sales of $2 million or more.
A STATISTICAL STARTING POINT
One of the big questions about Tailgating is the actual size of the marketplace. The total number of dollars spent annually on purchases related to Tailgating depends on the criteria one establishes.
Some of those purchases are self-evident, like a portable grill or cooler full of meat or pop-up tents and furniture. Some purchases, on the other hand, fall into a gray area. These range from game tickets to licensed apparel and accessories to car-buying decisions based on Tailgating needs. A certain percentage of those dollars can and should be considered "Tailgating dollars."
Then there is the emerging Home Tailgating marketplace. What portion of the new flat-screen, patio furniture, cookware and glassware gets apportioned to Tailgating?
The question posed was whether an annual figure of $20 billion is an accurate reflection of the total Tailgating marketplace.
Among the manufacturers surveyed, 69.0% agreed with the figure of $20 billion for the entirety of the Tailgating marketplace. In the same group, 12.7% disagreed. Roughly one in five manufacturers said they just didn't know. Comments ranged from "way too high" to "too low if Home Tailgaters are included." Among retailers, 76.5% agreed with the $20 billion figure, while 11.8% disagreed.
Several respondents pointed out the obvious—that the industry needs to get together and agree on what constitutes a Tailgating purchase, and what kind of metrics should be applied to—as one retailer put it—the bottle of ketchup used half at a Tailgating event and half at home.
This is what TIA is moving toward—and what the 2012 research initiative is all about. The focus of this first survey was to get a handle on how well manufacturers and retailers understand the marketplace, and whether there is a consensus on some of the basic numbers we hear tossed around every day.
ARE WE READY TO "DEFINE" TAILGATING?
So naturally, TIA was curious whether the industry agreed on a definition for Tailgating. We kept things simple and asked whether Tailgating could be defined as an outdoor event at which 5 or more people gather to share their passion for food and sports in a party atmosphere. On this point, there was general agreement—about 85% off all respondents said they were comfortable with this definition.
When the same definition was applied to Home Tailgating (identified as an indoor or backyard event), there was an interesting split. Four in five retailers were fine with this definition. However, among Tailgating manufacturers, slightly less than half (1/2) were onboard. Some of those weighing in against this definition said that this should be considered a barbecue or a sports party. This would shrink the $20 billion figure somewhat. Others questioned whether all barbecues should be considered Home Tailgating, regardless of their connection to sports—noting that this would dramatically increase the Tailgating number of $20 billion.
THE SIZE OF THE HOME TAILGATING MARKET
Not surprisingly, when asked to estimate the dollar breakdown between traditional stadium Tailgating and Home Tailgating, the answers fluctuated wildly. Two in five manufacturers said that traditional Tailgating accounts for two-thirds or more of overall industry sales.
Roughly the same number put that figure between one-third and two-thirds (basically a 50–50 split). One in five manufacturers estimated that Home Tailgating makes up more than two-thirds of all Tailgating sales.
Among retailers (who have more direct contact with consumers), more than half estimated that traditional Tailgating accounts for the lion's share of sales.
What the numbers tell us is that people whose jobs, careers and income are based at least in part on their understanding of the Tailgating business are nowhere near a consensus when it comes to the fundamental baseline numbers of the industry.
Getting a handle on the numbers is a crucial step for the Tailgating Industry to take. Major brands that want to increase their stake in Tailgating need to see solid numbers. When they do, everyone wins. That is why the TIA research initiative is so important.
SOCIAL MEDIA: TAILGATING FALLS SHORT
On the question of where they saw the most potential for revenue growth over the next three years, more than half (1/2) of manufacturers believed it would come from opening up accounts with brick and mortar retailers. More than a quarter (1/4) said they expected their greatest growth to come from selling direct to consumers.
Wherever those sales come from, product marketing will be a big part of the picture. With social media becoming an increasingly important tool in both consumer and business-to-business campaigns, we asked manufacturers to rate their own performance in the social media realm.
The results were surprising—72.9% admitted they were not doing enough in this area, with another 20.0% saying their effort was "adequate" considering time and resources.
Anyone who has spent any time around Tailgating consumers is amazed at how connected they are through social media. It is, in fact, one of their defining characteristics. From a marketing standpoint, this is a piece of "low-hanging fruit" for companies looking to stretch their resources and widen their appeal.
The fact that only 7.1% of the manufacturers answering this survey thought they we doing a very good job with social media points to a soft spot in the industry that TIA will be adding to its to-do list. We will begin looking at a social media "How To" webinar series for our members.
SHARPENING TIA'S FOCUS
The results of the first survey will sharpen the focus of TIA going forward. Given a list of options, manufacturers listed three key goals above all others for the Association to focus on:
1. Helping members connect with more retailers 2. Creating more opportunities for members to market their products 3. Working to make Tailgating a recognized retail category
About 20% of respondents also identified "Establishing business relationships with leagues, schools & stadium operators" and "Working to rebrand Tailgating and Home Tailgating" as worthwhile goals.
Finally, in the interest of collecting more information and opinions, we have reopened this survey. We encourage you to add your data to the information we have already collected...and consider participating in the next round of TIA research.
The Tailgating Industry Association recently welcomed celebrity chef David Burke as a new member. A former football player who owns restaurants in New York, Chicago, Connecticut and New Jersey, he believes tailgating is ready to go to another level. Burke is especially excited about the burgeoning Home Tailgating market. He recently authored an article on how to throw the ultimate gourmet football party—which he encourages industry members to share with their customers. "You must respect the food you serve during a game," he says. "Long after the final whistle blows, and the X's and O's are a distant memory, you want your friends and family to still be talking about your culinary playbook." Burke is also looking at out-of-the-box ideas to up the ante for stadium tailgating as well.
Self-Chilling Cans Return to the Market Posted 6/26/2012
How good is your memory? Back in the 1990s, Pepsi was set to revolutionize tailgating by introducing a self-chilling can...only to have it pulled from production over environmental concerns. The culprit was HFC134A, the stuff that replaced Freon. Now a decade of R&D with activated carbon—made from organic renewable vegetable materials and carbon dioxide reclaimed from the atmosphere—has this project back on track. A push of a button lowers the temperature by 30 degrees in about three minutes. Test marketing with West Coast Chill Pure Energy products began in April. The cans should eventually retail for about $3.
Tailgaters at Virginia Tech games this fall will be getting a very special delivery: Gourmet Cupcakes. A graduate of the university, Jill Justice, is opening Gobble Cakes in downtown Blacksburg this summer and plans to make Saturday deliveries to tailgaters. The concept of gourmet "pick-up" food for tailgating is not a new one, but delivering specialty items right to the parking lot is one that retailers might want to explore. Done with a little panache and fanfare, it's a clever way to increase sales and gain great exposure.
A&M Using Pinboard in 14 Days of SEC Campaign Posted 6/18/2012
With Texas A&M joining the vaunted Southeast Conference this summer, the school has launched an ambitious social media campaign to acclimate its fans with SEC traditions and history so they can hit the ground running in 2012. Needless to say, a big part of the campaign is identifying the primo tailgating spots on the different SEC campuses for road trips to see the Aggies play. The "14 Days of SEC" campaign is utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and also Pinterest—an online pinboard that tailgating manufacturers and retailers may want to bone up on ASAP. "Whether we're sharing the best tailgating location of an SEC school or highlighting its mascot, Pinterest is a great platform to help tell the story," says Dianne McDonald A&M's Director of Marketing and Social Media.
New Jersey Devils fans may be disappointed with the outcome of the Stanley Cup Finals, but they do have something they can tell their grandchildren about: a raucous tailgating party at Newark's Prudential Center (aka The Rock) prior to Game 2 of the finals against the Kings. The Devils Fan Fest paid tribute to the tailgating scene at the Meadowlands (their old arena) with great food, a live band and a sandy beach.
Tailgating Still in Plans for Vike's Stadium Posted 6/6/2012
Tailgating fans of the Minnesota Vikings are keeping a close eye on developments surrounding the new downtown stadium, which is slated for completion in 2016. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced that it has set aside $25.8 million specifically to acquire the patchwork of properties surrounding the proposed site, which is just east of the Metrodome. According to the Star Tribune, the surrounding five-block area will become "a public plaza, tailgating venues, a VIP parking ramp and additional "mixed-use" development."
Welcome to the first in a series of surveys aimed at gathering business data related to the Tailgating Industry. This research is being conducted by the Tailgating Industry Association (TIA). The results will help manufacturers, retailers and the media better understand the size and scope of the industry, as well as identifying trends and attitudes that are important to our business.
Good research is absolutely crucial to the meaningful growth of any industry. It is a major focus of TIA in its first full year as a trade organization. The results of this research will be made available through this web site.
You can participate in this survey by clicking on one of the links below.
When you have finished answering the survey questions, simply click SUBMIT. If you are not sure which survey to answer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a manufacturer, supplier, distributor or sales rep of a product consumed by Tailgaters.
Wouldn't you know it? Tailgating is beginning to creep into the vocabulary of the nation's leading architects. A mixed-use urban neighborhood planned for (Super Bowl host) Indianapolis will include a landscaped courtyard that will be designed with three uses in mind—private parties, outdoor meetings and Tailgating. The 14-acre project, called CityWay, will open this fall on land owned by Eli Lilly & Co. and is scheduled for completion sometime in the next five years.
Say what you will about the FOX & Friends crew, but they do know how to promote an idea. Among the many Tailgating-related activities at the Super Bowl was an appearance by the Feasty Boys on the FOX morning show touting the pleasures of RV Tailgating. "If you want to tailgate, this is the way to go," they told Steve Doocy and his million-plus viewers."You got your food, your beer, your bathroom—you don't even need to go in the stadium."
Football Annual Offering Bargain Rates to TIA Members
TIA media member Lindy's Sports is offering fellow TIA members the opportunity to reach a large tailgating and homegating audience through print advertising and web site marketing in its 2012 College and Pro football annuals. These editions are scheduled to go on press around May 1 for nationwide and regional distribution beginning late May. TIA members will have customized access to marketing initiatives at greatly reduced rates. For details contact Lyn Scarbrough, Lindy's marketing director and assistant editor, at 205-482-5729 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Due to the production timeframe, make that contact as soon as possible!
When most people picture college Tailgating, they imagine thousands of fans gathering outside towering 70,000-seat university facilities. The Tailgating tradition is just as important to small schools with tiny facilities. A case in point is Division-III McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. The school has a long history of pre-game parties, which will continue when it completes its new stadium this summer. School officials say the two-story brick and concrete structure has been designed to enhance the drive-in tailgating experience for football, field hockey, lacrosse and track and field events.
Okay, we can all officially be jealous of Purdue football fans. One of the better-kept secrets in Tailgating—the Boilermaker Butcher Block retail meat shop—is expanding its product line and beefing up on-campus distribution. The shop is actually part of Purdue's Meat Sciences Dept. The Butcher Block's popular apple brats, which are served in the campus dining halls, should take center stage this September when the Boilermakers' football schedule begins.
The$975 million stadium deal approved in March for the Vikings by the Minnesota Legislature and Minneapolis City Council includes a Tailgating area measuring a full city block. The downtown space is currently owned by the Star Tribune newspaper. Initially, team ownership wanted to build in Arden Hills, which would have offered more room for tailgaters. The fact that the new plan officially accommodates Tailgating is obviously a positive sign. Some voting and paperwork remains to be done, but if all goes as planned, the Vikings will vacate their current venue after 2014 and play one season in the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium before moving back downtown to their new digs in 2016.
Spring Football Offers Opportunities to Local Retailers
The advent of Spring Practice for many college football teams offers a unique merchandising opportunity for local retailers. Many schools are encouraging Tailgating at intrasquad scrimmages, extending the "season" into March and April. Some colleges are looking to make a tradition of this event, staging cooking contests, making players available for autographs, and launching regular-season ticket sales for the fall. One such school is the University of South Alabama, in Mobile. Their Red & White Game is in its fourth year; the Jaguars are actually reaching out to local Tailgaters, encouraging them to make March 24th "opening day" for 2012 tailgating.
Tailgating 'Pitch Tank' Starts Thursday in Las Vegas
The Tailgating Industry Association has forged an agreement with TVGoods, Inc. and its Chairman, Kevin Harrington, to produce a Tailgating Pitch Tank at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, which begins Wednesday, January 11th, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Harrington—one of the stars of the ABC show Shark Tank—will be among the judges on the Pitch Tank panel. The pitches will take place on Thursday and Friday.
Tailgating Pitch Tank participants will receive invaluable feedback from a panel of experts, as well as great exposure through attending media. The competition is open to manufacturers of any and all items related to tailgating, including:
On TV, the "winners" often walk away with a check in their pockets and a new business partner. At the Tailgating Pitch Tank, the winners will be among the companies invited to have their products sold on a TIA Tailgating Show, which will air on one of the major home-shopping channels.
"The home-shopping program is our ultimate goal from an industry standpoint," says TIA Executive Director Mark Stewart. "Imagine a retail space entirely devoted to tailgating, where people can tune in and see the newest products on the market—and get great deals on the products they already buy. The Tailgating Industry Association promised to hit the ground running in 2012, and this is an example of the kind of opportunities we have been working to create for the last six months."
What happens to the companies who pitch their products in Las Vegas but aren't selected for the home-shopping shows?
"Everyone participating wins," Stewart points out. "The judges we are assembling normally charge thousands of dollars for the marketing, design and product-development advice they give as consultants. Regardless of the outcome, the five minutes or so you spend pitching your product—and the feedback you receive—may turn out to be the most valuable five minutes of your life."
The ground rules for the Tailgating Pitch Tank are straightforward. The product must be related to tailgating—or appeal to tailgaters—in some way. The product must actually exist. A prototype is fine; a "concept" is not. However, products picked to populate the Tailgating home-shopping shows must be in production, with adequate inventories, before they go on-air. Slots were filled on a first-come, first-served basis before the schedule was closed out in early January.
The Tailgating Pitch Tank will be held at Mandalay Bay but is not part of the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. Admission to the show floor is restricted to exhibitors and registered buyers. 2) Companies do not have to be TIA members to participate in the Tailgating Pitch Tank in Las Vegas. Those companies invited sell on the TIA Tailgating Show later in 2012 will have to become members.
"This is not a membership-building program per se," explains Stewart. "TIA is focused on creating opportunities for tailgating manufacturers and suppliers to reach a wider audience. From there, everything else flows. Stronger retail relationships, a better dialogue with consumers, and an industry that runs more efficiently for everyone up and down the line."
"Tailgating is a dynamic, multibillion-dollar cultural phenomenon without a central purchasing point," adds Kevin Harrington. "There is no such thing as a 'tailgating store,' a convenient place where people can find the basics for a tailgating or home-gating party—or a place where they go to see the coolest new products debut. That is what we are going to build in 2102."
TIA is also presenting two lunchtime information panels for tailgating retailers—one on Social Media and another on holding Store Tailgating Events. Among the media attending are Sirius Tailgate Radio and NBC TV.
For years now, industry visionary Jack Smith (right) has been trying to convince tailgating manufacturers and retailers that stadium parking lots make up only a fraction of the potential marketplace for their products. Smith, who founded The Sports Authority and now works as an industry consultant, has been a longtime proponent of home tailgating, or "homegating."
"It's a term you will be hearing a lot more in the near future," Smith predicts. "Both the mainstream media and business publications are starting to run with it."
For many retailers Home Tailgating is an easier entry point into the tailgating market than going after the hardcore outdoors audience. Home tailgaters tend to buy products that can be used, worn or eaten between sports events. That gives retailers a lot of different merchandising options—and plenty of opportunities to expand the product mix they offer in their stores.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of home tailgating is that it involves women in more of the purchasing decisions. Since "homegating" items will be used and stored on their turf, their desires are likely to trump those of their significant others.
"Also, you see women more and more being portrayed as devoted fans," says Smith. "The message is clear—they are purchasers of licensed apparel, and they are wearing those caps, tees and jerseys in their living rooms, not just at games."
The NFL is all over home tailgating [nfl.com/gamedayparty]. The league has put a lot of oomph behind its licensed party collection, and is anticipating an uptick in sales of licensed apparel styled for female consumers. The league estimates that more than 70 million women are fans of NFL teams.
The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show just sent out another group of rebate checks to TIA members who have taken booths at the show. TIA has negotiated a 10% rebate on exhibit space, plus discounts on services offered by The Expo Group. In many cases, the rebate covers most—or all—of the combined 2011 & 2012 TIA membership fee of $500. If you are already an exhibitor and haven't joined TIA, contact Executive Director Mark Stewart at (732) 939-6099 or sign up online…and collect your check!
The mid-winter football party. Call it a tradition. Call it a cliché. Call it what you want, but don't call me if the menu features burgers, dogs and slaw. As a former running back and linebacker, I'm telling you that you must respect the game. And that means you must respect the food you serve during the game. Long after the final whistle blows, and the X's and O's are a distant memory, you want your friends and family to still be talking about their food experience.
Corona Extra™ is pleased to join the Tailgating Industry Association "TIA" as a sponsor for the 2011-2012 tailgate seasons. The brand has already made significant inroads in the tailgating category and aims to increase its market share among passionate, sports-minded consumers.
"Corona Extra is one of the world's top tailgating brands, you can't tailgate and not see its presence" says TIA Membership Director Marti Soroka. "The Association will work with them to further strengthen its presence."
Retailers Encouraged to Post Tailgate Food Safety Tips
Tailgaters sometimes let their enthusiasm get in the way of food safety. So says N2N Global, which recently released a list of do's and don't's for fall football fans. Food retailers might want to post reminders for tailgaters to help them avoid food-borne illnesses.
Meat in a cooler should be kept at a max of 40 degrees;
Keep hot food like soup and chili at a minimum of 140 degrees;
Buy a food thermometer;
Keep meats in a separate cooler from fruits and vegetables to avoid crosscontamination;
Hot take-out food should ideally be consumed within two hours of purchase—if the outdoor temp is over 90 degrees, then consume within one hour.
Why bother to remind customers of the obvious? If they get sick, they may blame your food safety checklist…not their own.
Earlier this month, longtime Big 12 member University of Nebraska made it official—the Cornhuskers will be joining the Big Ten. It's a win-win for the two main parties. Nebraska associates itself with some of the most prestigious public universities in America, and the conference gets one of college football's top "brands." The added exposure for Nebraska and the excitement generated by the move should put a charge into the tailgating culture in Lincoln. That's an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers of licensed sports souvenirs and apparel. Tailgating-related retail sales in general should see a nice bump for home games, as there are likely to be more fans celebrating new marquee matchups, such as Nebraska-Ohio State, Nebraska-Penn State and Nebraska-Michigan. Ditto the 'Huskers first visits to the various Big Ten schools. Big Ten commish Jim Delany concurs, adding that Nebraska fans should feel right at home when they accompany their team to away games. "I think they'll feel they came home in some ways," he says. Start circling dates on the schedule!
Emmy-winning TV production company—and TIA member—Engel Entertainment is brainstorming with multiple cable networks on a tailgating reality series. Engel Entertainment produces for numerous networks including History and Discovery Channel and has found success marrying strong personalities with intelligent-yet-off-beat plot lines. Needless to say, tailgating offers fertile territory in this regard. Multigenerational tailgating families could be the ticket, but there are other interesting possibilities: family businesses (think "Pawn Stars"), backyard inventors, tailgating gurus, stadium security, or other big characters. If you think that you or someone you know could be the basis for an entertaining reality show, please contact Engel Entertainment…but please don't call…email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Including photos is a plus!
Ever thought of advertising in a big-name national magazine…but were blown away by the cost? TIA is in the process of negotiating rates for regional buys in national publications that really will blow you away. This fall, we will start making these deals available to members—either as individual pages or as group "advertorials." Part of this deal will also include ways for members to convert excess inventory to barter credits that can be used for marketing services.
Unless you missed the jaw-dropping video of the MetroDome roof collapse last December, it should come as no surprise that the Minnesota Vikings are looking for a new stadium. In late May, the Vikes announced an agreement with Ramsey County to move forward with the project in the city of Arden Hills. The size and type of stadium are still being negotiated, but owner Zygi Wilf has told reporters that it will include more than 20,000 spaces for tailgating. Because it was an urban venue, tailgating near the MetroDome was squeezed into a handful of special lots.
A quartet of Walmart stores in Virginia, VA hosted parking lot tailgate parties that included racing simulator rides in the days leading up to the Crown Royal 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. The promotions were part of Walmart’s 2011 Race Time program.
“We wanted to provide Richmond race fans with unique Race Time experiences and unbelievable savings on NASCAR merchandise,” says John Schlegelmilch, Walmart Market Manager, adding that company research shows 9 in 10 NASCAR fans are Walmart shoppers.
Among the brands familiar to racing tailgaters at these events were Cheerios, M&Ms, Oreos, Pepsi Max, Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay. The participating Walmarts were located in Richmond, Ashland, Glen Allen and Mechanicsville.
Naming Rights Not Always What They’re Cracked Up To Be
One of the ways companies earn the loyalty of the tailgating public is to buy the naming rights to events or venues where they know parking area parties are an important part of the action. Generally, it’s been a productive strategy. However, as Washington DC-area Jiffy Lube owners found out this spring, it’s worth reading the fine print. According to The Washington Post, it turns out that the Jiffy Lube Live concert series—held in the Nissan Pavilion amphitheater—does not permit fans to tailgate before the concert…or even stand by their cars. The naming deal was made between entertainment conglomerate Live Nation and a local co-op for Jiffy Lube owners, and runs through 2016, but Live Nation alone sets tailgating policy.
New LA Football Stadium Could Play Host to 18 Games a Season
Los Angeles-area tailgating retailers are watching with great interest the maneuvering involved in building a new downtown football stadium. When the Rams and Raiders left town within in months of each other in 1995, the nation’s second-largest sports market found itself without an NFL team.
The hope is that a new billion-dollar stadium will lure two franchises to the City of Angels. The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are all being eyed as potential tenants. Each team is need of a new stadium. The project is likely to serve as the centerpiece of a thriving entertainment and commercial district. If two teams do relocate to LA—and the NFL schedule expands by two games—that would mean 18 regular-season home dates.
The May National Hardware Show in Las Vegas featured a Tailgating section for the second time. The area was set up in the Las Vegas Convention Center Silver Parking Lot and was as a tool for retailers to discover new vendors and learn more about the benefits of merchandising this category. The number of exhibitors in the pavilion more than doubled from the 40 who set up there in 2010. Among the sponsors of the Tailgating area were Coleman, Corona Extra, Blacktop 360 and EZ Grill.
Tailgating Merchandise Part of NASCAR's Biggest-Ever Retail Promotion
The 2011 NASCAR season ushers in with it the most ambitious retail promotion in the sport's history: RACE TIME, a partnership with approximately 1,500 Walmart stores. The rollout, which began in February, started with NASCAR licensed merchandised, but will eventually expand to include other brands and products.
There is already a healthy selection of tailgating items., ranging from food and beverage to racing flags and licenses apparel. The store promotions will be supported by wider selections available online at Walmart.com/NASCAR. As part of the RACE TIME promotion, NASCAR fans will also be able to purchase half-price ticket packages to select races.
"We know our customers are NASCAR fans, and we continue to look for ways to provide unforgettable family experiences as well as greater value in every aspect of their lives," says Stephen Quinn, Walmart's Chief Marketing Officer.
There's a new player in the online tailgating retail world. AllProCollegeSports.com launched in late February with more than 100,000 sports-themed items, including tailgating essentials ranging from college licensed aprons to grilling accessories and folding chairs.
AllProCollegeSports.com handles merchandise from pro teams as well. The site is operated by Jayhawk Holdings LLC and also links to a sports news blog, so fans can get their daily dose of news and views whether they're buying or not.
"My website offers competitive distinction through our superior customer service," says owner Robert Davis, "which includes fast shipping and a vast selection."
What's on your smart phone? For countless pro football tailgaters, the answer is NFL Red Zone. In parking lots throughout the league in 2010 this service, from Verizon's FiOS TV, became an indispensible way to stay abreast of every touchdown from every game. Now Verizon is extending its reach to serious football fans in partnership with Motorola Mobility with the Motorola Draft Day Experience Sweepstakes.
One lucky winner will receive a trip for two, including airfare, hotel and tickets to the 2011 NFL Draft as well as $500 in spending money. Another 10 fans will receive tickets to draft-day parties hosted by NFL teams. The promotion follows up on the successful Ultimate Game Day Access contest that sent two fans to the Super Bowl in Dallas.
"FiOS customers are also avid football fans," says John Wimsatt, Senior VP of Marketing for Verizon. "Verizon offers an incredible football offering that can't be beat, with TV, broadband and wireless services delivered over our advanced networks."
"Motorola is excited to once again join Verizon in promoting their FiOS NFL offering and highlighting the extensive range of advanced FiOS services available to consumers," adds Motorola Mobility Marketing VP Jean Pierre Le Cannellier. Motorola is proud that our products, such as DROID smartphones, help Verizon create a multi-screen entertainment experience that delights their subscribers."
Ever heard of Big Red Soda? If not, you will soon. The company was just selected as the official soft drink of the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Big Red Soda will be working with barbeque and tailgating events across America during 2011 in an effort to introduce attendees to the nation's "favorite red soda." The company will also roll out new programs for event directors to use to entertain crowds and engage competitive teams.
"We are very excited to be working with Big Red Soda," says Carolyn Wells, executive director and co-founder of KCBS. "Many of our members and cooks are fans of the soft drink because it compliments barbeque perfectly."
"Big Red consumers love to gather with family and friends at festive backyard barbeque cookouts," says Jack Pok, Senior VP of Marketing for Big Red, Inc. "Our partnership with KCBS will provide the perfect vehicle to bring together the millions of BBQ enthusiasts who love to accompany their barbecue with an ice cold, deliciously different Big Red."
A little background for the uninitiated: Big Red has been around for 75 years and is one of the Top 10 beverage companies in North America. More than 5,000 teams compete on the KCBS barbeque circuit. With more than 14,500 members, KCBS has been sanctioning events and training certified barbeque judges nationwide for 25 years.