The League

Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Tailgating Hurts Owners Bottom Line, That's the Bottom Line.

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I'm not even sure there is a debate here. Tailgating is a part of the American sports culture. Some people who go to tailgate every weekend during football season don't even have tickets to the game. They just spend the $10 or $15 or $20 bucks it costs to park in a lot near the stadium, bust open a case of beer, a portable grill and the ol' transistor radio to listen to the game while hanging out with good friends. Heck, before the digital conversation took place, you could bring a TV with rabbit ears and watch the game on TV from the lot (I'm hoping at least one person just realized they are totally screwed because of the digital conversion and is leaving this fine site to go to DirecTV to find out if they sell portable car-battery operated dishes).

Tailgaiting is a part of America. I've had friends who specifically wanted to purchase a car because it had a tailgate good enough for hanging out outside a game and setting up camp. And he didn't even have any tickets! People just love grilling things on asphalt. People just love drinking beers in sub-zero temperatures while huddled around an impromptu trash can bonfire. Heck, we deserve at least that much for how expensive those spots are to rent.

And that's what this is really about, isn't it? Renting space. We rent our seats. We rent our parking spaces. To some extent, we rent the food we put in our bodies. The owners of NFL franchises will be damned if something happens within the parking lot radius of their stadiums that they don't make a buck on.

More beer in the parking lots means, in theory, less beer in the stadium. And more brats and dogs and turduckens in the parking lots means less of the stadium fare being purchased. Less money for the owners.

Sports owners want us to drive to the stadium, spend a ridiculous amount of money on parking and get out of our cars and right into the building. Some arenas even set up pre-parties for big games, usually sponsored by a big beer company or local restaurant, to get fans closer to the stadium before the game starts. That way, fans can still get the tailgate experience, but the owners get the money.

Don't think for one second that owners trying to curtail tailgating has some real safety issues at heart. Don't think for one second the owners care about family values in the parking lots or the hard footballs getting erroneously tossed into windshields. They care about our money.

Sure, if the morons next to me blow up their propane tank and my car catches on fire I'd be less likely to come back to the next game. And yes, if I come back to my car and my door handles are soaked in urine or my hood has a footprint on it, I'm not exactly sure I'd be eager to come to a game again. But those issues aren't about my quality of the gaming experience. To owners, the only thing they hear is that I won't want to come back... and that means less money for them.

By Dan Levy  |  June 24, 2009; 9:11 AM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , Roger Goodell , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: For Better or Worse | Next: Heed the Tailgation!

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