Crowds / Marketing / Stadiums


New tailgating value

Author Brianne Creedon, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 24, 2015

Tagged: fans / marketing / stadiums

The ability to add value is a trait that all successful corporations need to possess. Without this ability, it is extremely difficult to satisfy one’s customers. There are two different types of value that make up a person’s perceived value of a product, which include acquisition and transaction value (McCarville & Stinson, 2014). In an article from the SportsBusiness Journal, the author discusses an interesting tactic to add acquisition value for college and professional football fans. The focus of this article is creating a hospitable and somewhat glamorous tailgating experience for fans (Muret, 2015).

With all the technology easily available to the public, it is becoming more desirable for some fans to watch games from the comfort of their own homes. However, the one experience that might be able to draw some fans away from this tendency, is the game-day tailgate (Muret, 2015). Normally tailgates consist of fans bringing their own supplies to a tailgate where they socialize with other fans either in a parking lot or another setting close to the field. However, the tailgate experience has been drastically changing over the past few years. For example, many schools have been focusing on adding value to the tailgate by hiring companies such as Tailgate Guys and Block Party Suites (Muret, 2015). These companies transform a previously basic tailgate into a more consumer-friendly environment by creating amenities such as “mini-mansions” to be available to willing-to-pay fans (Muret, 2015). This adds value to the tailgating experience by removing the hassle that a tailgate can sometimes create, such as bringing food and furniture to the tailgate site. This relates to the idea of delivery variables, which is defined as “those that minimize various costs for the consumer” (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 53). These companies are able to enhance the tailgate experience by providing a comfortable environment. McCarville and Stinson (2014) stated, “The most dominant delivery variable is typically the physical environment” (p. 55). By creating an environment where it is simple to attend a tailgate, fans may be more motivated to attend the pregame, and therefore attend the actual game.

In addition to delivery variables, experience variables also can be seen within this article. Experience variables focus on immersing a customer in an experience in order to add to their overall perceived value of an event (McCarville & Stinson, 2014). Muret (2015) discusses how companies such as Block Party Suites and GameDay Traditions are transforming tailgates into a luxurious and comfortable environment, by creating mini-mansions and other lavish environments for paying customers. These customers can spend their tailgate in a setting where they feel like they are in a premium setting with their own private bathroom, kitchen and flat screen TV. These are all examples of experience variables that seek to give the fans what they want, which is an experience that gives them the feeling of comfort similar to that of their home. McCarville and Stinson (2014) stated, “The sport marketer’s job is to help build connections between the client and the sport product. From connections come satisfaction; from satisfaction comes value” (p. 58). The amenities available at a tailgate now create the opportunity for connections to be made, and for the value of the game-day experience to be extraordinary.

Although these tailgate environments seem entertaining, one must consider the transaction value present. For example, the mini-mansions cost $5,000 per game (Muret, 2015). Transaction value, the assessment of the asking price, has the ability to stray some customers away. (McCarville & Stinson, 2014). Some fans may believe it is not worth the cost, and they still would rather experience the game from their home, and miss the tailgate. However, since the idea of these luxurious tailgates are relatively new, some fans may not have a reference price to compare. This has the possibility to be beneficial to the event operators, but only for a short period of time.


McCarville, R., & Stinson, J. L. (2014). Creating Value as Part of Sport Marketing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 51-65). New York, NY: Routledge.

Muret, D. (2015, August 17). Tailgating goes extreme. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(18). Retrieved from

About Brianne Creedon, University of San Francisco

Brianne graduated with a B.S. Kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire, and is completing her M. A. Sport Management from the University of San Francisco. She is a Business Development Intern at the LA Marathon, LLC, and is contactable at This article is an edited version of a paper Brianne prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by '1070 The Fan', "tailgate-01", Accessed via Creative Commons license.