Tailgate motives

Author Logan Young, University of San Francisco

Posted: September 28, 2017

Tagged: fan motives

The Green Bay Packers have built a new $23 million-dollar tailgating facility to generate more revenue and increase game attendance. By creating this state of the art tailgating site, the Packers are influencing sport event consumer motivation, team brand relationships, and consumer attitudes concerning the team.


The Johnsonville Tailgate Village is a unique development that can be strategically marketed for the Packers. The team formerly had the “Tundra Tailgate Zone” which was a compilation of rented out white tents, that were not only costly, but they did not fit in with the Lambeau Field “look” (Muret, 2017, para. 6).  If an individual were to apply the motivation and decision making process to attend a sport event model, in order to analyze consumer behavior, team competitiveness (as sport attractiveness) could be identified as an external factor. Over the last decade, the team has performed exceptionally well, which led to the former tailgate area always being packed (Muret, 2017, para. 7); therefore, their elite performance greatly influences attendance to both tailgates and games (Pons, Giroux, & Mourali, 2014, p. 24).


Another external influence involves the environmental factor of the new tailgate infrastructure, which also serves as an economic benefit because it is open to the public, there are no cover charges, and it provides views of the stadium, which is good for people who cannot afford tickets, but want to be a part of the Packers environment (Pons et al., 2014, p. 24). It is possible that ticket prices could increase due to the costs incurred in developing this facility, but if Johnsonville Tailgate Village motivates more individuals to attend either the tailgate, game, or both, then the team could potentially keep their ticket prices the same.


Although the Green Bay Packers are not hurting in the consumer (fan) department, it is important to understand the laddering of team brand associations because “an attitude has both structure and function in sport consumer behavior” and these in turn frame links between a team and an individual (Funk & Lock, 2014, p. 43). Implementing this approach for the Packers would result in the following scheme: 1) venue excitement (attribute/benefit), 2) attending the tailgate and/or purchasing a ticket (consequence), and 3) belonging (value). In regards to venue excitement, fans will gravitate towards a tailgate facility, architected to look like a miniature Lambeau Field, that is tailored for the Packers and brings the community together (Muret, 2017, para. 8). The consequence of having this facility leads to fans and spectators attending the tailgate and purchasing tickets for the game. Finally, we arrive at the value of belonging, in which individuals feel that they are a part of something significant and associate themselves with the “cheeseheads” (Green Bay Packers fans).


Utilizing the conceptualization of sport team attitude, one would find that individuals’ attitudes regarding the Green Bay Packers are comprised of three elements: evaluation, entity, and tendency. By attending the new tailgate, fans and spectators could respond well to the atmosphere (evaluation), evaluative responses regarding the Packers can form (entity), and if those appear favorable, consumers can make the commitment to be Packers fans (tendency). In regards to Green Bay sport consumers, it is critical to understand their attitudes because it “enables the prediction of consumer choice” and sets the pace for how to proceed with developing strategies to influence behavior (Funk & Lock, 2014, p. 40). Overall, if Johnsonville Tailgate Village can initiate positive attitudes, this will be a great marketing tool for the Packers to use to help in transforming spectators into loyal fans.





Funk, D. C., & Lock, D. (2014). Sport Consumer attitudes: Formation, function, and effects on information processing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 37-50). New York, NY: Routledge.

Muret, D. (2017, July 24). Johnsonville steps up Packers support with naming rights to tailgate village. SportsBusiness Journal, 20(14), 5. Retrieved from www.sportsbusinessjournal.com

Pons, F., Giroux, M., & Mourali, M. (2014). Consumer Behavior and Motivation: Why are sport   event consumers so special? In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 21-36). New York, NY: Routledge.


About Logan Young, University of San Francisco

Logan Young is currently a graduate student in the University of San Francisco Sport Management Master’s Program. She graduated from California Lutheran University in May 2017, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an emphasis in Sport Management. While at CLU, Logan was a four-year varsity student-athlete on the Women’s Water Polo team and is currently a Graduate Compliance Intern for Cal State Northridge’s Athletics Department. This is an edited version of a paper prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Ryan Hartwig, "Plans announced for Johnsonville Tailgate Village," packers.com