A third of Americans who tailgate don’t make it to the game

A third of Americans who tailgate don’t make it to the game
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77% of tailgaters consume alcohol at pregame festivities

On brisk fall mornings, you’ll find a healthy number of Americans in a parking lot participating in one of our country’s beloved pastimes. Tailgating is a subculture that has become nearly as excitable as the sporting events they precede and you’ll find some of the largest tailgates in college towns. New YouGov research reveals just how many Americans tailgate, their habits, and what they’re likely to bring.

The promise of beer, barbecue, and bourbon has 27% of Americans tailgating at colleges for hours before a game. 77% of respondents say that they drink alcohol at these events but 21% do tailgate sober. About a third of Americans say that they drink alcohol every time they attend a tailgate.

Fans of college athletics say they’re likely to buy Bud Light, Samuel Adams, Blue Moon, and Corona over other beer brands, and more likely to purchase Jack Daniels, Baileys, and Smirnoff over other liquor brands.

YouGov’s purchase intent data indicates that there will be bags of Frito-Lay chips, Johnsonville sausages on the grill, and cans of Campbells at pregame festivities. As for every day beverages, tailgaters are more likely to consider zero to low-calorie drinks like G2, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Mountain Dew, and Diet Dr. Pepper than the rest of the general public.


In regards to tailgating behavior, 1 in 3 respondents say that at least on one occasion, they didn’t make it to the game after a tailgate. YouGov also polled respondents on the reasons they would leave a game and found bad weather to be the biggest factor (41%). About a third would also leave if their friends and family didn’t want to stay and a quarter of Americans would leave if they were tired or their team was losing and it was a blowout.