Tailgating estimated to hit $20 billion in spending

The Tailgating Industry Association (TIA) welcomes football weekends and the $20 billion estimated to be spent at sports and non-sports events this season.

With prime tailgating season off and running with the commencement of college football games this past weekend, the Tailgating Industry Association, which represents the goals and interests of manufacturers of tailgating products, estimates the annual take for the industry at around $20 billion.

“Over the next several months, more than 20 million people will engage in some form of tailgating activity,” said TIA executive director Mark Stewart.

Stewart confirmed that football -- including high school, college and pro -- is still the sporting event most closely associated with tailgating but added that year-round industry sales are the rule, not the exception. Auto racing and baseball dominate the spring and summer months, and during the winter, basketball and hockey fans have taken tailgating off-site -- eschewing parking lots in favor of college dorms, “man caves” and backyards. Home tailgating, says Stewart, is on the upswing.

“This is an important trend, and one of the primary data targets of the research initiative TIA started this summer,” he explained. “We want to put some hard numbers on home tailgating. That will help retailers and manufacturers better understand and respond to this market. Already we know that female fans are more involved in purchasing decisions, and that home tailgaters tend to buy higher-quality or more permanent products than stadium tailgaters."

The National Hardware Show has given tailgating an increased emphasis in recent years, as attendees have sampled tailgating products and tailgating lifestyle in the parking lot of the show.

The Tailgating Industry Association recently issued a State of the Industry report to approximately 40,000 manufacturers, retailers and sports industry professionals. The report is available on the association’s home page.