Tailgating comes to UC Davis this fall as a family-friendly pilot program, featuring live entertainment, private party rentals, barbequing and alcohol consumption. The pilot program begins Sep. 11, the first home football game of the season against Portland State.
Many students and staff are excited at the prospect of tailgating and believe the pilot program could be an opportunity to attract more people to the games and heighten the sense of spirit and excitement on the field.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Sara Kewin, a junior political science major. “The lure of free food and fun could bring more students out and more fans never hurt a game!”
Senior Associate Athletics Director Nona Richardson expressed similar sentiments.
“[It’s] an outstanding opportunity to bring more individuals into the fold,” she said. “It gives them more of a reason to want to attend the events.”
Although the main goal of the program is to attract more people to events, it also has the potential for profit.
Cindy Spiro, senior associate athletics director and program creator, said one of the purposes of the program is to reach out to roughly 35,000 alumni.
“We move into this new year where there is a great emphasis on the university to reach out to alumni,” Spiro said. “There has been an expansion of people coming to games and more people largely interested in the pre-game activities.”
Reaching out to alumni, donors, business partners and the public is positive both for the community and on a financial level. Although the money received at the games will go back to funding its operations, this program could indirectly produce revenue, Spiro said.
“[It] will indirectly expand the regional interest and involvement of our alumni which will increase philanthropic alumni support,” Spiro said.
The festival tailgating area expanded with the opening of the Aggie stadium in 2007, and with it, more corporate business partners interested in being involved with the campus activities, Spiro said.
The program has the potential to help not only UC Davis financially, but the city of Davis in its entirety. Spiro said many people will come into Davis from different and distant towns, potentially resulting in a high economic impact for the community. Eating in restaurants, shopping and fuel for the car could result in a million dollars for the city of Davis, Spiro estimated.
Some fans, however, expressed concern about the rowdiness that may result from allowing both wine and beer to be consumed in the designated tailgating areas.
“It could be unsafe, but it all goes back to personal responsibility,” said Yazan Qumsiyeh, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology double major.
Fans will receive the rules and policies for tailgating and alcohol-use as they enter the designated areas and police security will be in place to help ensure a family-friendly environment.
NOURA KHOURY can be reached at email@example.com.