Blog/Beyond Texting

The Best U.S. Cities for Tailgating

In this study we take a look at the best, and worst, cities for tailgating in the U.S.

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Nothing brings people together like college football! Every fall, campus parking lots are crowded with fans, alumni, and students, ready to drink, grill, and celebrate with the community in support of their favorite team. However, not every city has the best college football stadiums or the most favorable weather for turning dogs on the grill. In fact, a successful tailgate depends on a multitude of factors including stadium capacity, ticket cost, and more.

So where can U.S. football fans expect to have the best time tailgating?

Methodology

To conduct our study, we pulled data on every division 1 college football team and determined the U.S. cities associated with them. We did not collect data for Liberty Flames, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, or U.S. Navy due to lack of available information for these programs.

For each of the 117 cities in our analysis, we collected data on the following five factors that affect the quality of a tailgating party. Then we weighted each factor based on how much of an effect it has on the overall success of a tailgate.

  1. Stadium Capacity
    • Source: Collegegridirons.com
    • Weight: 1.00
  1. Ticket Cost
    • Source: blog.ticketiq.com
    • Weight: 1.25
  1. Number of bars
    • Source: Yelp
    • Weight: 0.75
  1. Total Annual Precipitation
    • Source: currentresults.com
    • Weight: 0.50
  1. Enrollment (Number of full-time undergraduates at local college)
    • Source: ope.ed.gov
    • Weight: 0.75
  1. Revenue by Team (Total revenue for local college football team)
    • Source: ope.ed.gov
    • Weight: 0.75

We assigned cities with a score of 0 to 10 for each ranking factor, with 10 representing the best and 0 representing the worst conditions for tailgating. From there, we determined each city’s overall score from the total of its factor scores and their associated weights. Read on to see what we found!

The Best Cities for Tailgating

A map and chart depicting the worst cities in the U.S. for tailgating

Everything is bigger in Texas, including tailgating events. Longhorns fans have it as good as you can get it as Austin ranked number one for the best tailgating with an impressive score of 41.3. Why did the Lonestar State beat out the likes of Columbus, Ohio (40.0), Seattle, Washington (35.6), and Ann Arbor, MI (34.8)?

The Texas Longhorns have a great stadium to call home. With a high stadium capacity of 100,119 and 37,362 undergrads to cheer them on, every game is bound to be full of energy and excitement. Another sign that Austin’s hometeam has a healthy fanbase to tailgate with is the $144,426,105 of annual revenue for the team—more than any other team in our analysis. Conversely, buying a ticket won’t break the bank at $113.00 a pop.

Here’s a closer look at how the top five cities for tailgating stack up against one another.

  1. Austin, Texas – 41.3
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $113.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 100,119
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 28.9 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 240
    5. Enrollment: 37,362
    6. Revenue by Team: $144,426,105.00
  1. Columbus, Ohio – 40.0
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $106.50
    2. Stadium Capacity: 104,944
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 39.1
    4. Number of Bars: 240
    5. Enrollment: 42,586
    6. Revenue by Team: $115,510,031.00
  1. Seattle, Washington – 35.6
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $27.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 70,138
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 38.4
    4. Number of Bars: 240
    5. Enrollment: 29,077
    6. Revenue by Team: $91,704,081.00
  1. Ann Arbor, Michigan – 34.8
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $70.50
    2. Stadium Capacity: 107,601
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 32.8
    4. Number of Bars: 48
    5. Enrollment: 30,057
    6. Revenue by Team: $125,773,306.00
  1. State College, Pennsylvania – 34.8
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $109.50
    2. Stadium Capacity: 106,572
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 42.9
    4. Number of Bars: 19
    5. Enrollment: 66,279
    6. Revenue by Team: $101,678,317.00

The Worst Cities for Tailgating

A map showing the best cities for tailgating

So which cities have the least favorable conditions for tailgating? Bowling Green, Kentucky is the best at being the worst when it comes to tailgating with the only single-digit score in our study—9.9 out of 50. It’s easy to see why. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers have a small stadium capacity of 22,113, just 19 bars to celebrate in after a big win, and 48.9 inches of annual precipitation for increased chances of rainout (and soggy tailgating grub). Maybe Kentucky should stick to horses.

Kentucky is not alone in ho-hum tailgating, though. Cities like Kent, Ohio (12.7), Murfreesboro, Tennessee (14.2), and Boise, Idaho (15.5) don’t make the cold-cut either. We also found that North Carolina dropped the ball in two cities, Boone (12.9) and Winston-Salem (13.5), and Louisiana got sacked in three—Monroe (13.5), Ruston (14.1), and Lafayette (15.6)

Here are the top five worst cities for tailgating in greater detail.

  1. Bowling Green, Kentucky – 9.9
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $248.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 22,113
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 48.9 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 19
    5. Enrollment: 11,604
    6. Revenue by Team: $9,956,826.00
  1. Kent, Ohio – 12.7
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $203.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 25,319
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 39.1 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 12
    5. Enrollment: 18,276
    6. Revenue by Team: $4,683,781.00
  1. Boone, North Carolina – 12.9
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $151.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 24,150
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 50.3 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 11
    5. Enrollment: 16,557
    6. Revenue by Team: $9,188,013.00
  1. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 13.5
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $174.50
    2. Stadium Capacity: 31,500
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 50.3 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 42
    5. Enrollment: 5,239
    6. Revenue by Team: $24,698,755.00
  1. Monroe, Louisiana, 13.5
    1. Average Ticket Cost: $59.00
    2. Stadium Capacity: 30,427
    3. Total Annual Precipitation: 60.1 inches
    4. Number of Bars: 13
    5. Enrollment: 4,734
    6. Revenue by Team: $5,806,764.00

Final Thoughts

We had fun rounding up the best and worst cities for tailgating in this lighthearted comparison. Whether you’re bringing down the house in Austin, Texas, or making the best of it in Bowling Green, Kentucky, what makes tailgating so fun is the company that you surround yourself with. So no matter where you live, It’s worthwhile to text friends and family for an afternoon of beef franks, beer, and dad jokes served off of the tailgate of your truck. 

Oftentimes, rounding up friends and family to grill dogs in the back of a truck starts with a simple text. If college football fans are part of your target audience, see how SimpleTexting can help you send text marketing campaigns or have one-on-one conversations with the people that matter most to your business.

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