The Quad Is A Pricy Place For Tailgating With The Crimson Tide
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
There is a price to pay – quite literally – for having a winning football team in college football.
This goes beyond coaching salaries and facilities; it means fans pay more and more for everything associated with the team. It starts with tickets, rolls down to concessions and merchandise and, at the University of Alabama, even to the pregame tailgate party.
Unlike many schools, Alabama does not simply let people show up on game day with a pop-up tent and a few tables and plop down on a prime piece of grass on campus. (At Bama, this is at the “Quad,” or quadrangle, which is an area around which many classroom buildings are located and is about a 10-minute walk from Bryant-Denny Stadium.)
Instead, people must pay for the privilege. The University charges for the space, and not only that, you must reserve a specific spot on the Quad in advance, either on a game-by-game basis or for the full season.
In 2017, the price of that prime plot of land is jumping up dramatically. And not only that, but the company the University has hired to sell and manage the spots is located in Auburn. Yes, that Auburn.
Alabama tailgaters now have to write checks to The Tailgate Guys. And it’s a lot bigger check than in the past. Instead of $1,000 for a single 10×10 tent and space for the season, the 2017 price is $2,450. The price of a 20×20 tent is $7,355. That’s per tent. The Tailgate Guys provide the tents. The tents, by the way, are generic white with no school logos (The Tailgate Guys are also at Auburn, of course, North Carolina, Penn State and other college campuses).
Keep in mind, that’s just for the space and the tent. You still have to stock your tent with all the necessary ingredients for a proper college football tailgate party.
In defense of The Tailgate Guys, they are paying the University $532,000 for being the vendor for the season, or $76,000 per game. So you can see where the real money is going in this arrangement.
Here’s another way to look at it from a tailgater’s standpoint. For a 20X20 tent, the per-game cost – after estimating paying for your own food and booze – is about $1,500 per game for the seven tailgate parties. For 15 people, which is about the max for this size of a tent, that’s $100 each. The Tailgate Guys also not only supply the tent, but tables and chairs and set it up and break it down, as well. So maybe the price is not that bad looked at from this perspective.
But it’s still not cheap.
Of course, going to the Quad and the tailgate party is free if you’re not glued to a tent. You can walk around and soak up the scene, exchange several friendly “Roll Tides” with people, stop and peek at other college football games on TVs people put in their tents, watch the Million Dollar Band warm up and then line up for the Elephant Stomp, the “march” into the stadium.
You might even be invited into a tent for a drink or some food (but hey, don’t crash a tent!). You can do all this with your own drink in hand, but of course don’t be obvious and a fool about it.
If you want to set up for for free, there’s other places around the stadium but you have to be aware not to intrude on spaces other fans have been using for years. Plus, these places are pretty tame as compared to the lively atmosphere on the Quad.
Alternately, you can go to any of the many bars along University Blvd., which are also full of Bama fans warming up for the game.
For some long-time Quad tailgaters, this may be their best – and cheapest – option.