Annapolis - Can I Really Tailgate At Halftime?
Leave it to the Naval Academy to understand what the people want. Guess that is why the boldest, bravest and brightest go there. Instead of suffering through a lackadaisical halftime show, settling for soggy tenders and fries, and not having any access to a beer; the USNA and Navy Marine Corps Stadium allow any and all guests the option to leave the stadium to return to their tailgate and then granting re-entry for the start of the second half.
Experiencing this for the time probably seems like a joke....
“They do what?”…
“And they let you back in?”...
Oh they do. And it's one word. Genius.
Now there are going to be those people out there saying a variety of things:
"Halftime band performances are part of the experience, and what... you don’t want to support them?"
"You are not a real fan, you need to stay the whole time to get the experience."
"Why do you need to leave? Everything will be rushed trying to get back into the stadium."
But here is the thing – this is an OPTION. Not a mandate. Not every person is the same. Some people may want to head back out and get a quick bite to eat. Some may just want another drink. It may also be freezing or raining and getting back to the comfort of your tailgate may be the better option to prep for the second half.
Regardless of if you take advantage of this option or not – there should be a question as to why this policy has not made it’s way into the more mainstream stadium environments. Obviously, larger venues like Penn State, Alabama, or Oklahoma may cause a larger logistic issue. We are not blind to the fact that capacity plays into consideration as well as the fact that the university does not want to see half the stadium pile out at halftime. There is also the argument of not wanting to promote potentially a more alcohol induced crowd for later in the day. But for some of the smaller / middle of the pack schools, we can see this as being a huge promotional piece and upside to draw more people to games. Given today's current sport's climate, where sporting event attendance is seeing a decrease, providing unique selling points to attract fans needs to be at the forefront.
Giving the average fan or student the opportunity to either break up the afternoon or not having to spend and outrageous amount of money is definitely an enticing benefit. There is also just the overall appeal of getting to tailgate more. We mean, c’mmon. Who would not be excited to fire up the grill quickly and get a few burgers cooked up. And to be so blunt, for teams that may not impress on field where the tailgate is pretty much the only appeal – then maybe allowing people back out is a good way to even get them in the front door in the first place.