Tailgating: How the Pre-Game Tradition Can Be Traced to Ancient Times


Tailgating before college and professional football games is an American tradition. Starting in late summer and continuing through early winter, temporary tent cities pop up in stadium parking lots across the country. A haze of charcoal smoke fills the air along with laughter, banter and the aroma of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

According to Tonya Williams Bradford, co-author of a 2015 cultural analysis of tailgating published in the Journal of Consumer Research, the modern tailgate has roots in the fall harvest celebrations of Ancient Greece and Rome. Those events were marked with music, community and plenty of food and drink for a final feast before winter’s onset.


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