Money matters in tailgating world

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Money matters in tailgating world

Dakota Ratley

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IMG_9524What do students, alumni and drivers with road rage all have in common? They all tailgate. 

Tailgating is a huge part of game day on college campuses all over the United States. Whether fans are there for the game, the alcohol or just to see friends, it seems everyone has a smile on their face.

A business is behind these smiles, however.  Brian Wickstrom, ULM’s athletic director, said that tailgating spots in the Grove run about $800 for a season. That price is in addition to the price of season tickets.

There are 524 spots in the Grove. At $800 per spot, that comes out to a total of $419,200. That figure does not include Heritage Park or the Pecan Grove.

 Wickstrom said it’s more than about the money.

“We just want to have the environment,” Wickstrom said.

That environment also helps boost sales of local businesses. Wickstrom pointed out that many people will hire caterers from places like Danken Trail or Waterfront Grill to bring food to their tailgating areas. 

Even if the tailgaters decide to not have a caterer and just cook their own food, other businesses still gain revenue.

Businesses such as Brookshire’s and Super One Foods will gain sales by tailgaters buying their supplies and food. It costs serious money to get enough food to feed everyone.

Tailgater Barbara Bailey said that it costs $1,200 to $1,500 to buy all of the supplies and food needed for her tailgate.

Her group tailgates every home game. There are five ULM home games. Five home games multiplied by the cost of the supplies and food bring the total cost to $6,000 to $7,500 a year.

However, not everyone will spend that much. Even if the average amount of money spent on each spot is only $500, this still comes out to a whopping $262,000 spent at local businesses. 

Even more impressive is that at the end of the year, at this given rate, over one million dollars will be spent—$1.3 million to be exact.

Wayne Brumfield, vice president of Student Affairs, said that the reason tailgating is such a success is because it brings everyone together. He said that because it brings visitors, alumni, students and faculty into one area and creates a “great environment.”

“My favorite part is when I come in the Grove people want me to taste,” he said.

Tailgating at ULM is more than just about having fun. Without the tailgating, the atmosphere would be much different on game day. That’s the point that Wickstrom reiterated. 

“If you don’t have tailgating, it’s all quiet around the stadium. I don’t think you get people energized when they’re coming to the game without having them,” Wickstrom said.

Tailgating may seem like just a  fun thing to do, but it is also a huge opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on the money involved. The school gets the environment, patrons get to have fun and local businesses make extra money. It’s a win for every party involved.