By: Alyssa Crowley
What do you get when you combine a festival and a carnival? That is easy: a vestival. A vestival celebrates household values, dramatizing them in a public space and publicly proclaiming the importance of a shared sense of culture. One example of a vestival is tailgating, where fans gather to display their shared interest of sports and show their support for their desired teams. As years pass, tailgating is becoming more than just tents and grills. Fans are beginning to enhance their tailgating experience with customizations. There are five main practices of customization, which are householding, personalizing, mimicking, upgrading and expanding. The main concept I want to focus on is householding.
Householding is where you take a public space and transform it into a personal space. As the viewing experience at home continues to grow in popularity, organizations are beginning to create ways to bring their fans back to the stadium. Georgia Southern created tailgate mini-mansions to help differentiate the experience at their stadium. The mini-mansion can accommodate about fifty guests with almost 400 square feet of indoor entertainment space. Inside the mansion includes four flat screen HD TVs, a wet bar, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. Are you sick of being inside? No worries. The mansion allows you to move the party outdoors where you have access to a satellite TV, outdoor furniture, a fridge and a propane grill. On top of all the amenities, you have the option to supply your own food and drinks or pay an additional fee for a pre-stocked fridge. These new innovations to tailgating are helping organizations draw in larger crowds to help increase their profits during each season. In this example, the school is beginning to attract a larger crowd during their football season. They want to give fans an at-home experience. How much do these mini mansions cost, you may ask? This tailgating experience will cost a fan $5,000 per game.
How successful do you think these new tailgating ideas will be? I am sure there are many fans willing to spend money on this type of tailgating experience, but when focusing on college football I do not know many students who have the budget to cover these expenses. Some feedback I would present to specifically collegiate sports is to focus more on who your main target is. In addition, you could create different cost packages to better meet the needs of potential customers.
Enhancements in tailgating have only begun. There are many opportunities in this market and much improvement can be made. Organizations will not only have to continuously compete against the at-home experience, but also the traditional form of tailgating. In conclusion, organizations are beginning to see that, with their advancements in hospitality, they are drawing in bigger crowds, which leads to a greater return on investments. Only time will tell which creative ideas will be profitable and continue to draw in a larger fan base.