Football season is in full swing! Whether its Little League flag football, Friday night high school games, or NFL matchups in huge stadiums, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re not a sportsball fan? Well, you might still enjoy a good tailgate!

What is tailgating?

Parties in the parking lots are almost as popular as the game itself these days!

According to the History Channel, tailgating is an American tradition with roots in the fall harvest celebrations of ancient Greece and Rome. The modern-day tailgate has strong ties to the rise of automobile ownership in the United States when fans could more easily travel to football games. And, as the restaurants in college towns struggled to keep up with the crowds, more fans began to bring their own picnic lunches with them and dined outside.

Portable grills and plastic coolers became widely available in the 1950s. After World War II, suburban grilling culture and car ownership flourished, and as NFL teams began building stadiums with large parking lots, tailgating evolved and exploded. Today, football fans set up elaborate events in the parking lots before games where they eat, drink, and mingle with fellow fans.

Tailgating Stats

Have you ever hosted or attended a tailgate? If you have, you’re in good company. One study estimated that 80% of Americans tailgate annually! Here are a few more interesting statistics from the study:

  • 61% tailgate 5 or more times each season
  • 41% tailgate more than 8 times each season
  • 64% of tailgates are ages 25-44
  • 13 billion meals are eaten per year at tailgates
  • 93% of tailgaters prepare their food at the stadium or venue
  • Tailgating contributes $35 billion in food and beverage sales

Top Tailgate Foods

Tailgating can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. You can make your food at home and bring it with you to the game or keep it easy with chips and dip. Or, go all out and bring a grill to the parking lot!

Popular tailgating foods include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Chips and dips
  • Cold salads like coleslaw and potato salad
  • Wings
  • Deviled eggs

If you need ideas for more creative dishes to take to your next tailgate, Southern Living has a list of 51 tasty recipes including buffalo chicken dip and bacon-wrapped party poppers.

Don’t forget the condiments: depending on what your main dish is, you may want to bring ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise, relish, and other toppings.

It’s easy to get excited about the food, but you’ll need other supplies for a tailgate, too:

  • Coolers and ice
  • Matches, lighters, propane, or charcoal if using a grill
  • Plates, utensils, cups and napkins
  • Grilling utensils
  • Tables, chairs, and canopies

Panel Reminders

If you’re hosting or attending a tailgate this season, remember to scan the items you purchase and submit your shopping trip to NCP! It’s easy to overlook these items, especially if they aren’t part of your regular grocery shopping trip or if it’s a last-minute purchase on the way to the game.

Let me know in the comments if you enjoy tailgating and what your favorite tailgate foods are, I’d love to hear from you!


Blog comment reminder: If you have a panel-related issue that you need assistance with such as a problem with scanning or your rewards, please contact our Panel Support Center directly and they will be happy to assist you! You can reach them at 1-800-962-6700 or at [email protected]. You can also message them from NCP’s Facebook page. Please don’t enter panel-related issues or share any personal panel membership information in the blog comment section. Any issues will be addressed faster if you contact our support center directly. Thank you so much!

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