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Comparing England’s Pub Culture and America’s Tailgating Rituals

 Comparing England’s Pub Culture and America’s Tailgating Rituals

As Fall taps on our shoulders and scatters around the corner here in the States, the impending chase to catch it can only mean one thing: College Football. I recently received another story idea from a reader of EPL Talk asking to take a glance at the rituals of college football, more specifically, tailgating in America and compare them to those of the Premier League and English football in general.

Easier said than done because my first trip to England is still a month away and we’re contrasting two totally different cultures, but the reader’s email got me thinking again about the sense of community pertaining to soccer here in the US compared to that of other mainstream sports. Tailgating is always going to be an American tradition, but one of the questions I want to pose is, will soccer in the US embrace tailgating? On some level I’m sure it already has (more on that later), so how do pre match traditions in England compare to those in the US, if at all?

If you’re unfamiliar with tailgating in the US, it’s likely you’ve never visited the south. I live in Lexington, KY which is just about the exact ending point of the US South and pretty close to what would be the starting point of the North. Lexington is the home of the University of Kentucky and subsequently an entity called the Big Blue Nation – UK’s rabid fan base for collegiate sports.

Largely known for it’s basketball program, UK still somehow turns out some 70,000+ on Saturdays in the Fall to Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Kentucky Wildcats football team and no more than a ten minute drive from my home. On a normal game day in September, October, November or December, fans will start to gather at Commonwealth as early as 7:00 or 8:00 AM to start tailgating.

Tailgating in America can last 8-10 hours and is as big or sometimes bigger than the actual football game itself that lasts somewhere between 3-4 hours. Think of tailgating as the main party where the game itself is only an after thought.

Once a spot in the massive parking lot is secured, some of the best food, appetizers, snacks and to some, most importantly of all, beer and alcohol start to emerge. As the hours tick by and kickoff approaches, tailgaters become more drunk, more boisterous (sound familiar? – there’s a similarity), and the parking lot continues to fill. People of all types, sizes, ages and backgrounds occupy a massive lot that just a day ago was reserved for UK students attending class.

Tailgating in American has become a national pastime that in certain areas can easily rival baseball, going to the movies or staying in to watch TV. Trust me on this, some people plan their entire Fall seasons – major purchases, work, time off, vacations, weddings – around tailgating. Tailgaters spend loads of money in preperation and the local economy thrives. Tailgating like any other American tradition has evolved over the years from a few guys sipping beer and warming hotdogs behind their car to lavish sets, thousand dollar tents, HD TV systems powered by generators, enough food to feed three large families and enough beer to drink until one falls down.

So, what does this growing tradition have to do with the Premier League and English football? Well, not much of anything really, but that’s why it interests me. Why is this tailgating phenomena only popular in the US? In England, the more ritualistic fans likely wake up to a full English breakfast if the match is an important one, meet with friends and later head to the pub for pig snacks and beers until a 3 PM kickoff.

Unless I’m mistaken, the idea of tailgating doesn’t exist in England or anywhere else in the world for that matter, but why? Maybe it’s because of the usually dreadful weather, maybe it would be a logistical nightmare, maybe English grounds, particularly the older ones, don’t have large parking lots, or maybe it’s likely because of the troubled past of English football. Would large scale gatherings full of rabid fans drinking large quantities of alcohol just outside the grounds be tolerated in England? Doubtful.

Are you now starting to see a trend develop through both cultures? Can you notice a semblance of a common denominator between the two?

The English were drinking in Pubs before and after football matches long before a ball was ever kicked in anger in the US. They’ve got it down to a science, no, an art, and I plan on joining them upon my arrival. So, realistically the two countries share only two major threads in common when it comes to how their respective brands of football are experienced.

1. Both like to drink &

2. Both spend a lot of money enjoying the whole experience.

It’s as simple as that. Alcohol and spending enough cash to make it all happen.

Think about the English fan traveling to away matches all year long. Although it’s less likely a college football fan will travel more than once away because of the distance, the money spent would definitely be more or equal to that of the English fan because of the tailgating materials, season tickets, parking passes and food & drink.

Whether or not soccer here in the US will embrace tailgating is yet to be seen. In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter. Americans have already, to an extent, embraced the pub culture the English have perfected. The college football faithful will continue to invent new and expensive ways to out do their neighbors in the parking lots of University’s across the country while the cash and alcohol continue to flow, as will the English in their own way.

In review, and at the end of the day, I guess the two cultures aren’t that different after all.

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55 Responses to Comparing England’s Pub Culture and America’s Tailgating Rituals

  1. EvertonfanKY says:

    The funny thing is I was watching an episode of Monk on DVD last night and there was an episode where Mr Monk gets tickets to go to a game but ends up finding a crime scene at a tailgating party. I was thinking this looks fun but I could never see this happening in England.

    1 The English weather (I don’t miss it)

    2 English Infrastructure most clubs don’t have the car parks to do this and the location of the clubs in England are often in built up areas.

    3 I can’t see many people traveling to an away fan.

    4 Security risk with rival fans

    5 Its just not in the English Culture.

    • Kick Racism out of Football says:

      “In England, the more ritualistic fans likely wake up to a full English breakfast if the match is an important one, meet with friends and later head to the pub for pig snacks and beers until a 3 PM kickoff.” WTF??? what a generalization i suppose i drink tea all day and live in a castle racist prick!! we do our tailgating in the pub and yes for hours…better than standing in a carpark all day like a moron. You’re just doing what english fans have done for years in a.. carpark??

      • Murphy says:

        Well sure we’re drinking our beer in a carpark. It’s far more practical: cheaper food and drink, the ability to avoid our rivals, spilling beer everywhere without worrying about the floor (essential during shotgunning), and games of catch or kick-around all while enjoying the out-of-doors. I’ll go to the pub if I can’t go to the game.

        And don’t knock drinking tea.

  2. Duke Fame says:

    As an American, who have lived in both countries, I can say that I prefer the pub culture of English football to the tailgating culture in the USA. This is not to say I do not like tailgating.

    I just find the pub culture to be a more relaxing and enjoyable way to start the sports day. Living in Noriwch, I’d take the bus to the city centre, grab an English breakfast, a few pints of bitter and then walk to Carrow Road.

    When I tailgate in the US, it’s a major production. Planning, food shopping, set up, cleaning, etc. It ends up being a lot of work for a little fun.

    A final note, in Philadelphia, the Union fans have already embraced tailgating. I was down at PPL Park a few weekends ago at a tailgated hosted by a few of Sons of Ben. Great spot to grill a few dogs and drink a few beers along the Delaware River.

  3. IanCransonsKnees says:

    The police would never let it happen over here, it’s a relatively uncontrollable environment and could only occur if there was guaranteed seperation of home and away fans. There’s still an undercurrent of a flashpoint at each match around the grounds if not inside them, despite the gentrification of the game over here. That said you will find some pubs that accept both home and away fans. Not wanting to put anybody off I’ve followed Stoke home and away for 15-16 years and have rarely seen any violence despite having one of the most renkowned and loathed hooligan followings. If it’s trouble you’re after if you go looking for it you’ll find it, if you don’t you shouldn’t.

    The weather’s shit which would also ruin tailgating for people over here.

    Most grounds from all league clubs are built in urban areas with plenty of pubs to pick from. The newer identikit stadia that are built on the outskirts seem not to suffer as many local pubs see it as an opportunity to cash in and run shuttle buses to and from the match for a couple of quid.

    All in all I’d say come and enjoy a different experience when you’re over here, it’ll be interesting to read what you make of it. Lastly when are you over, who are you watching, have you got tickets?

    • Jesse Chula says:

      IanCransonsKnees,

      Good question. I don’t have tickets yet, but have started that process. I’m spending the majority of my time in London, Manchester and possible Edinburgh, Scotland.

      From memory, I’m attempting England v Montenegro, Spurs v Fulham at the Cottage, some lower league London clubs, possibly Millwall, QPR, Palace and then Spurs v United at Old Trafford towards the end of October.

      I’m also up for suggestions and tips on how to do it proper but semi-cheap.

      • EvertonfanKY says:

        Don’t visit Manchester you should rather visit the best city in the Northwest that is Liverpool. Even if you go and see Liverpool play there is nothing like seeing atmosphere of an Everton and Liverpool game.

        As for semi cheap where are you staying?
        Are you going to be hiring a car?
        Using Train/Bus?

        • Jesse Chula says:

          Staying London w/friend, so the Underground when there, train for traveling, who knows what else.

          • EvertonfanKY says:

            If you gonna go up North book your train tickets in advance as it will save you a lot of money rather then paying on the day. British Train travel can be expensive.

            Bus can be slow and takes too long.

        • liam says:

          u give up the right to going on about how great lpool or england is the minute u bailed out

      • IanCransonsKnees says:

        Do QPR! It’s ace, my favorite away ground, compact and old school. They’re flying high at the minute so the atmosphere should be good. Why not try out Leyton Orient or Brentford too?

        Have a look on here, http://www.footballgroundguide.com/, it should help you navigate your way around.

        Edinburgh and Manchester are fantastic cities. Drop me an email if you want some tips on getting tickets, where to go etc.

        I’d guess the Fulham tickets will be gettable. Hibs or Hearts would be an experience too.

  4. SKMDC says:

    My local USL team, the Charleston Battery, has the best of both worlds. There’s traditional tailgating in the parking lot before the matches, but there’s also a pub AT the Stadium called “The Three Lions” that caters to a more traditional English football experience… and this is in South Carolina where soccer is seen as a commie-plot.

    • Sir Guy says:

      “…..and this is in South Carolina where soccer is seen as a commie-plot.”

      lol….”Lemme see that ball you got there, boy.”

    • The Gentleman Masher says:

      Saw Charleston play Bolton there…wasn’t that impressed with the stadium (I had built it up alot in my head, to be fair), but then I walked into the Three Lions! Wow!

      Quite the pub you guys have…I had so much fun I forgot my debit card there! Ha!

  5. Lenny says:

    The lack of tailgating was one of the laments heard when Red Bull Arena opened in its urban setting in Harrison after years of expansive Giant Stadium parking lots (and expansive empty seats). There are still some who break out the coolers in the adjacent warehouse lot, and RBA has a beer garden (fenced off area with a few taps) outside the grounds, but more folks are taking advantage of the local pubs & restaurants in Newark’s Ironbound section.

    Once the land next to RBA is developed with housing, retail, and hopefully several places to grab a beer, we’ll see more of the pub culture emerge as part of the RBNY game day experience.

  6. Yes, the Sons of Ben do it up right in Philadelphia. Registered members can RSVP for a $10 tailgate which includes three hours of all-you-can-eat/drink. All I have to do is show up and consume. It’s fantastic.

  7. DZ says:

    Looking at the terminology I think tells you all you need to know.

    ‘Tailgating’ refers of course to its origins when a pick-up truck’s or car wagon’s back end was opened to provide a place to set a grill or become the de facto serving area. The reason the tailgates of vehicles are present is because most people in the US drive to the games, requiring vast parking areas. Although I have no concrete evidence, I’d guess somewhere at 75% of attendees of a football match in England arrive by foot or public mass transit, because, as was said earlier posts, most English stadia were located and built within the major urban setting. The very early US stadia were the same, but with more land resources, many have been replaced to the outskirts where auto transit is simpler. I’d also add auto racing events to the sphere of tailgating as well. University stadia are rarely located in large urban settings so mass transit to most sporting events in the US is far in the minority and simply a function of how we arrive to the stadium.

    I’d also contend that as a nation, people in the US generally enjoy traveling by car and ‘staking a claim’ to property. Setting up the tailgate typically involves carefully selecting a chunk of ground that becomes (even if only for a few hours or on a weekly basis) ‘ours’. What we do on that ground identifies us as fans and people and most take great pride in showing-off their tailgates.

    I have seen several tailgates at Chicago Fire games (Chicago is a big ‘food’ town already), and no doubt the tradition will continue since the stadium is several miles away from the major downtown landscape and difficult to reach by public mass transit.

    Although the mode of arrival is different, each culture having evolved a different method, the spirit and desire to be social and share food and a beverage seems strongly common between the two and both can be appreciated for their own style.

  8. Matt says:

    For one thing, weather doesn’t affect tailgating in the United States. I’m from Boston, and we only have 2 months of tolerable weather during American football season, yet we tailgate every game. In fact, some of the most fun tailgates are when it’s snowing.

  9. nixforsix says:

    I think it’s just a matter of an urban setting and lifestyle. I know that Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs gamedays lean heavily towards drinking in the bars just outside the stadium. All three cities also feature far reaching mass transit.

    At a college campus, there is no mass transit and half the crowd is driving from hours away. And the early days of tailgating revolved around owning a truck and then later a SUV. The Brits can’t really tailgate out the back of a moped or Smart car.

  10. DC Josh says:

    I live in DC and have been a DC United season ticker holder for 4 years. There is no bar close by RFK stadium so tailgating is a must. Two DC United supporters groups hold huge tailgates. The Screaming Eagles have a very organized tailgate that people can pay for admittance before every weekend game with a huge buffet and at least a half dozen kegs. The Barra Brava has a spot close by where all of their members bring their own food/alchy and have one large tailgate with a block party atmosphere. I have always enjoyed this tailgating experience and like to get 3-4 beers in my belly before a match so I am extra amped but can still make out what is going on during the game. The drawbacks to tailgating is 1) the weather and 2) there isn’t an intimate feeling like being in a bar.

    I have also fell in love with watching games at a bar. During this past World Cup, the local bar has become THE spot to be for watching games. The atmosphere at a local bar in DC during the US games was the most intense I have ever experienced. I would love to have a bar near RFK stadium where I can eat if I wish and grab some brews, then head off to the match. Unfortunately it’s not safe in DC to walk from the nearest bar to RFK, but it is my go-to for televised US games.

    • Eric says:

      I live near RFK and if you wanted to, you can pretty easily walk from my favorite bar, Trusty’s. It is not even a remotely dangerous walk. It’s also only one metro stop away.
      The bars on H St are a bit further but doable if you’re motivated.

      • Simon Burke says:

        Didnt know about Trusty’s and will look into it. We always tailgate in Lot 8 as its the safest option though we have had 6 grills nicked in 10 years!

  11. Lyle says:

    A few years ago, while on holiday in New York, I was able to see the NY Red Bulls take on Barcelona at Giants Stadium. And there was, indeed, a very large (mostly Hispanic) gathering of tailgaters well before the game started. Coming from Canada, I hadn’t seen anything quite like it (its not easy to have a tailgating party before a hockey game in mid-January.) It definitely added to the match going experience, I loved it!

  12. TheSoccerSage says:

    As a graduate of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and longtime follower of English football (Arsenal supporter), I certainly believe that, of all American sports, collegiate football in the south has the greatest similarity — in terms of passion — to English football. My alma mater is more known for tailgating (The Grove) than anything related to academics. I’d guess that I have come across 20-25 groups of guys holding bachelor parties in Oxford to experience a weekend of SEC football. Similarly, the last time I visited England was in 2006 for a friend’s bachelor party in which we attended Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial match.

    The main difference between pre-/post-game festivities in the United States and England is the setting. In terms of area, the U.S. is so vast that rural fields or parking lots are relatively common and tailgating is possible. In England, it’s possible, but pubs are ideal because most stadia are urban. Either way, you can’t go wrong…

    • Brandon says:

      There is a difference between tailgating in the SEC for football and tailgating for a pro sports. I went to the University of Georgia(Just ranked no. 1 party school lol) and the tailgating is unreal. For the people saying there is no parking lots in England. There is not a parking lot around Sanford Stadium in Athens. The stadium teats 92,000+ and is in the middle of campus. So that means that the tailgating is all over campus. People find any grassy area they can to set up. It is definitely expensive and makes for long days if there is a night game. I think any Englishman that likes to drink and have a good time would love to tailgate before a southern college football game.

      • nixforsix says:

        You’re missing the point. Of the 92,000 people, only about 5-10,000 students walk to the game or tailgating spots. If you don’t think there is parking, check out the deck on North Campus by the library. Over 50% of the people there live in Atlanta or South and drive to the game, park, and then haul their stuff to the grassy area. If they were able to take a train from Atlanta to Athens, they would likely go to a bar instead of bringing a tent, coolers, tvs, food, etc..

  13. Howard McLaren says:

    Can’t imagine what they’d make of tailgaiting down at The Den.

  14. Word says:

    “Americans have already, to an extent, embraced the pub culture the English have perfected.”

    Please, such a silly comment. Tailgating is uniquely American and has absolutely nothing to do with the English. Another anglophile comment from this writer.

    • For real? says:

      Word,
      You do realize that this blog site is about the English Premier League, right? The majority of the readers of this site are “anglophiles.” They love English football. If not they would be frequenting the sister sites covering other leagues. I believe the author’s point was directed toward the comraderie that both cultures have developed relating to sporting events. Come on silly.

  15. Fee says:

    It’s a lot easier to replicate the pub culture in the US than it is to replicate the Tailgating rituals in the UK. That’s what I love about the pub culture, it’s quick, easy and spontaneous! All you need is a pub and some mates, done!
    Tailgating, while fun, is a production. There’s just not enough room for it in the UK. You need the space, a big truck and nice weather. Three things the UK is lacking.
    I’d love to see Tailgating for MLS games, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work, but not in the UK. Our equivalent are the hamburger and hotdog stands/caravans on the way to the stadium. And the bloke selling sweets “Two for a pound!”

    • Kick Racism out of Football says:

      Bloke selling sweets? whos that arsene wenger?

      • Fee says:

        I find it ironic that you have a name like “Kick Racism out of Football” to show how important it is to remove the ignorance and prejudice from the game. Then you talk about Wenger selling sweets?!

        …and no he doesn’t sell ‘em, he gives ‘em away!!

        • kick morons in the head says:

          i didnt realise pedophilia was linked to racism?? still sure its not

          • Fee says:

            Ignorance and prejudice I believe is the focus. Who said anything about a link? They are both shitty things to do if that’s what you mean…
            What I am referring to, for those who don’t like to use uppercase letters where grammatically appropriate, is that a bogus story about Wenger comes out when he arrived and from point on the ignorant (Tottenham and Man Utd fans mostly) keep making dumb little comments about it. People pre judge others based on the colour of their skin, and some folks pre judge Mr. Wenger based on shoddy journalism!

      • UpTheBlues says:

        No, he gives them away from the back of his white van.

  16. dkptiger says:

    i would say some “differences” are pretty clear, but there are some that are being called differences which are moot.

    first, most NFL or other major league stadia are not built within reasonable walking distance to the bars/pubs. heck, you ever show up late for a game and your parking spot isnt in reasonable walking distance. granted, there are SOME that have unique situations and can accomodate but id consider those the exceptions, not the rule. That said, tailgaiting was a case of necessity breeding invention… and eventually perfecting the art. tailgating can mean 4 guys who drove together having a few beers outside the car before walking in, to a RV/grill/tvs/yard games/and pretty girls with those little stick on tattoos on their cheeks… they never rival the passion for the game, but they are equal on the level of anticipation

    the weather thing is a non starter.. sorry. do you think nebraska cornhusker fans enjoy drinking cold beer outside in november? wouldnt we love to be wearing maybe just 2 or 3 layers of clothes indoors drinking and laughing, rather than shivering outside looking like the stay puft marshmellow man in 20 layers? i know the weather in the UK is crap compared to LA.. but we dont exactly have 1 climate in the US.. so no pity there. ive seen guys with their chest painted in 10 degree weather.. or men carfully tending to ribs over a hot grill in 100 degree weather. weather is a complete non issue

    so logistics aside, we have established its not the weather, and that it probably has a lot to do with the parking lots and a need to drink near the stadium. to the issue of rival supporters.. there is usually a friendly banter with rival supporters, depending on the rivalry or the region. at nebraska, everyone is welcomed like kin, we try and beat the snot out of you during the game, then we ask you if you need anything before you head home. however if some rowdy longhorns or sooners came up to a tailgate, believe you would see altercations. but granted, you would not see violence on a scale of whats possible in england. thats a totally different issue however because of the distance between teams and the police presense, the fact that games are usually on very well managed property and security is tight. some even utilitze testing stations for intoxinated drivers upon exit of the stadium. so the fear of firms meeting under a tent and fighting over the last braut is not going to be realized in america. likewise, it doesnt complete prevent it from being possible in england. so this one is sort of grey.. if introduced into the culture and managed, it would be acceptable.

    final thought.. in america, the tailgate is inclusive. and it certainly is not specific to nfl or soccer. any american sport has this friendly atmosphere where people offer you beer and food if you are likeminded and friendly. england however tends to be rather exclusive (at times) almost like a speakeasy.. to seperate the plastics.
    this is a fundamental issue.. if a fan like jesse (american) cant walk up and share in the atmosphere.. then its best to have an in crowded bar where only certain types can get in or know how to find it. if you want to accept all comers who share the love for the team, and they will be treated like your very own.. then its best to have a celebration of sorts outdoors at the stadium to invite one and all. its very much a literal seperation between spending time in a covered exclusive bar and an open aired, inclusive tailgate. i see neither side truly embracing the others.. because of the culture of sports in both countries.

  17. RayO says:

    Don’t tell people in West Virginia that the South ends just north of Lexington.

  18. Up the Chels!! In Chicago. says:

    What’s with the need for nice weather in order to tailgate?? I’ve tailgated Bears games dozens of times in the heart of winter. You just dress accordingly, fire up the grill and start pounding beers. No problems. As for tailgating in the MLS, go to Toyota Park for a Fire game. There’s hundreds of people tailgating for hours before the game, it’s been like that since the Fire played at Soldier Field. A few friends and I started our own supporters group a few years ago, we usually have 20-50 strong in the lot. Kegs, BBQ and whiskey. If you’re in Chicago, come join us. Large blue tent, Harlem end.

  19. I like the idea of tailgating, I’m bored with the whole go to the pub for a few beers before the game. It’ll never happen over here though. As already said, grounds in built up areas means if you drive, you already have to park up a long way from the stadium and walk.
    If I ever go to America though I’ll check out one of these tailgating parties, they sond like they would be good fun or maybe because it’s something different to what we have over here

    Enjoy your time in England Jesse, don’t be like everyone else and stay in London, it’s not a large country but there is more to it than the capital.

  20. John Gregory says:

    It depends on the area. Most sports stadiums in the US are accompanied by large parking lots, not bars. But if they are surrounded by bars (say, Wrigley Field where the Chicago Cubs play) then that’s where the fans congregate.

    Be advised that Cubs fans are complete buffoons and Wrigley is a dump.

    Anyway, the common thread is obvious: sports fans like to drink before games, matches, whatever. And it doesn’t matter where they do it.

    • Up the Chels!! In Chicago. says:

      You beat me to it Johnny, I was going to say, John must be either a sox fan, cards fan or brewers fan. Wrigley is a landmark, it’s nearly 100 years old so yeah, it definitely has room for improvement. No better place to watch a game( now we just need the Cubs to stop sucking). As for the fans, “buffoons” can be found at any ballpark, especially 8 miles south.

  21. Johnny says:

    Wrigley is in bad shape but it’s still one of the best. Nothing beats the atmosphere at a Cubs game. Fans are buffoons? I’m assuming you’re from the South Side or St. Louis

    Anyway, tailgating is one of my favorite parts of sporting events in the US. I haven’t had the whole pub experience, but thats similar to games at Wrigley where people will go to the Cubby Bear and such before the game

    • Duke Fame says:

      Went to Wrigley as a road fan this summer and had no problems with any of the fans. What a wonderful atmosphere in Wrigleyville.

  22. WindyCityChelseaWildcat says:

    This is a great post for me. As a Native Kentuckian (Go Wildcats!) that lives in Chicago and is a Chelsea supporter, I am loving all the references to my teams and home state. Up the Blues! Go Cats!

  23. olemissrebels says:

    i go to Ole Miss, recognized as the best tailgating in the country(world) and i can attest to the absolute dedication that some people have to the tailgating aspect of football Saturdays. instead of some stadium parking lot, we have an acre and a half field in the middle of campus, The Grove, reserved primarily for tailgating. every Saturday, 50,000 people cram into several thousand tents, and mayhem ensues. there is nothing like it in the entire world. it’s number 5 on the playboy “things to do before you die,” list. strangely enough, only liquor is allowed, no beer(you think it would be the other way around in most places. not to mention the fact that we have hands down(coming from most men, including Hugh Hefner himself) the most beautiful women in the world at this school. i cannot wait to go to England one day and see a few EPL games and take in that experience, as i am sure it’s incredible, but there is absolutely nothing like college football in the South, and i can confidently say that here at Ole Miss we have the best tailgating ever. everyone needs to experience this at some point in your life or you haven’t truly lived

  24. Kobashi says:

    The new owners of the Silverdome near Detroit are thinking of redesigning the Dome by put putting a pitch where the 2nd deck is and below that having a separate sports arena/concert venue beneath the futbol pitch in the sky. The Silverdome has a huge expansive parking lot that was known for wild over the top parties in the parking lot because more times than not the team frankly sucked so getting schnockred was a part of the game day experience. If the owners of the MLS team can renovate the Dome and bring a MLS team to town I would market the hell out of the parking lot of the Dome as a place to party especially on Saturday and Sunday afternoons especially with the nice weather most of the MLS season. Michigan and MSU are known to throw good tailgates as well rain or shine.

    Without expansive parking lots around Ford Field I have heard from Lions fans that the tailgate experience isn’t as great given the stadium is downtown and not in a place with lots of open parking space because of parking garages.

  25. Cord4Gooner says:

    Kind of a weak comparison. Makes American’s sound like they only like to eat and drink at the sporting events parking lots. Tailgating is popular, but so are bar…….

    America is HUGE in Comparison to the UK, in country Size. The US has a huge variety of sports with: Baseball, American Football, basketball, Hockey etc. There are all the pro teams, minor league teams and then the HUGE world of college sports ..Basically a large sports venue(s) in every decent size city… A large majority of these venues are surrounded by or have in them Sports Bars/Pubs- that are packed before the games, during the games and after the games…. All in all, the USA has a huge Sports Bar / Pub scene, in addition to the Tail Gating culture.

    I will probably end up going to 25+ San Francisco Giants game this season and the majority of them will require pre and post game drinks at one of the 100s of surrounding bars. Not once will I tailgate.

  26. Dave C says:

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned elsewhere, but I think maybe one of the reasons Tail-gating is popular in the US but not England (in addition to the weather, the size of trucks, the infrastructure of modern stadiums, the lack of any real hooliganism worries in the US) is the distance travelled by the fans.

    In England, most of the home fans have probably travelled from within a 1hr radius of the ground.

    In the US though, sports teams are so thinly spread throughout the country that even some of the “home” fans may have had to travel significant distances to get there. eg. imagine you live somewhere in Northern Connecticut. Your nearest “home” team in American Football is likely either Giants/Jets, or the Patriots. Either option is a significant car-ride away. So by time you get there, you want to stretch your legs a bit, get something to eat, etc etc…this lends itself better to a “tail-gating” environment than a pub/bar environment.

  27. the other robert says:

    here’s an interesting sociological question:
    In addition to being an epl fan, I’m an NBA fan (grew up in LA so it’s the purple and gold for me). Why is it that in basketball, tailgating isn’t allowed? I’ve been to several games in LA and Oakland and have never even been able to crack a beer in the parking lot for fear of getting busted by cops.

    hmmmm…

    right across the parking lot football fans (American football mind you) are partying it up!

    What gives?!

    • Kevin says:

      I think a lot of it has to do with the number of games and the timing. With the NFL there are only 10 home dates (including preseason) and with CFB it is usually 7. The lack of games and the timing mean that people travel from far and wide to attend. With basketball having 40 home games, the majority being on work nights the entire culture is different. The local authorities understand that tailgating is massive and organized and are willing to allow it with football. The clean up on the part of the stadium is massive as well, so allowing it 40 tines a year would become cost prohibitive.

  28. As an NFL loving Brit I am fascinated with the corss pollination between these two “drinking” cultures. I myself have witnessed both pre-game rituals. Yes I am more of an NFL fan than the Premiership, which may make me slightly jealous. And I think there is always an element of the grass is always greener.
    In 2008 I sold my flat in London to tailgate at EVERY NFL stadium in one season. (www.adamsfootballtrip.com) and I have to say the pre-game tailgate has a “wow” factor that surpasses anything at a pub. But that is just me. I know some Premeirship fans like to mix with the away fans, but on the whole the culture and history is that the fans are very much apart.

    In the NFL, the mixing of fans happens inside the stadium, so naturally it happens outside too.

    This is a good debate and some people prefer the intense pub atmosphere and other prefer the more laid back tailgate…Personally for me, I’m all about the tailgate. I’m not sure it would work for football games here in the U.K but a version of it certainly is present at our cricket games and to a lesser extent rugby.

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