Tailgating Brings Alumni Together, Millions to Small Towns
AUBURN - NFL tailgating draws from millions of people living in the surrounding city, but entire population of small towns like Auburn (AL), Tuscaloosa (AL), State College (PA) and Ann Arbor (MI) can fit into the college stadiums. Fall Saturdays are a part of the American culture, bringing alumni back from around the country to set claim their spot of the old college campus at a benefit of more than $100 million to each of these communities - and to reconnect and meet new friends.
In an era in which American youth are more and more isolated - on computers and video games - there are a few times that crowds still gather around live events and meet new friends. Election Day at the polls, March Madness, and then every Saturday in the Fall when alumni return to campus to establish their tailgating spots, such as the one photographed this morning near Auburn's Stadium by Breitbart Sports.
Auburn's population is just around 30,000 during the summer, then jumps to almost 60,000 when the students return to classes, before peaking at up to 200,000 on Game Days with 87,451 in Jordan-Hare Stadium and almost as many more in the community between the tailgaters watching outside the stadium. Yahoo Sports recently named Auburn the top tailgating school in the country, and recently the university cashed in by renting prime spots on campus out to give key fans a little space rather than the all-out dash to claim spots.
The story is similar in State College, where 42,499 residents wouldn't fill half of the 106,572 seats for Penn State games - in Ann Arbor where there are just over 70,000 until the students return to give them an official population of 114,925, just more than the 109,901 seats for Wolverines' games.
In Tuscaloosa, the 91,605 would not fill the 101,821 seats to see the defending national champion. RV spots are so precious, that when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas came to speak on October 23, 2009, an announcement went over the law school announcement system to be sure law students and faculty knew they could still NOT park in the law school parking lot. It was needed for RVs that were still arriving for the game the next day against Tennessee, where Terrence "Mount" Cody blocked a field goal at the end of a game to keep Alabama 8-0 and preserve their shot at a national title.