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Shipping Container Tailgating

14.04.2014 - Posted by Updated On 14.04.2014    

Tailgating for college football is a national pastime, and for some it's more important than the game itself. Alumni and fans roll out of their hotels and RVs, and students make their way from the dorms to arrive to the game early, fire up the grill, and crack open a nice cold beer. It's one of the few times that drinking before noon is widely acceptable. Some of this however, could be about to change for the better.

We first saw it when the University of Nebraska built "Blackshirt Village", and now the idea has resurfaced at Texas Tech - shipping container tailgating. Once a third university (West Virginia?) picks it up, I'll formally say that the trend is starting. Let's think about it, using a shipping container for a tailgate party is a great idea for many reasons.

WVU Football tailgating, Shipping Containers Needed?

What is a Shipping Container Tailgate?

The traditional tailgate, in its most simple form, is held off the back of a pickup truck. Logically, this is where there is easy access to cold beer, snacks, and if you get there early enough you might be fortunate enough to grab a seat on the actual tailgate. Over the years it's grown to include recreational vehicles and tents, sponsored events, and the occasional live band.

Shipping containers change this by offering a seasonal structure that provides all of the benefits of an open air bar, right in the parking lot of the stadium. The container itself serves as a portable, modular structure. It's durable, weather resistant, and can be easily transported from one location to the next. Ideally, a fully equipped tailgate container would have at least one television, a built in grill, a bar (obviously), ample cooler space, and seating.  shipping container tailgating

One outstanding feature of a shipping container tailgate party is the ability to build an observation deck on the top of the unit. Picture it: Game day, the crowd filing into the stadium, the hanging smoke from the countless grills, and your observing it all from 10' above the ground with an ice cold Natural Light in your hand.

All of these features can be built inside of the container and securely stored from game to game, and in the offseason it can be easily relocated for any number of purposes.

The Benefits of Container Tailgating

Let's remove the emotional, "it's just cool" argument and focus on what any University Administrator would look at: financial, marketing (on and off season), and what I'll call "party logistics".

The financial benefits are clear: A series of shipping container tailgate units could be rented out seasonally, or per game, to any number of alumni groups, student organizations, or corporate donors. Along with income from renting the unit, the University could also require that all catering (see: burgers, dogs, and beer) be purchased/stocked through their approved vendor. Let's not overlook the opportunity for advertising that's increased exponentially on the sides of each unit.

Current model: Universities rent tents and locations to alumni groups. There's limited upside, as it's nearly impossible to advertise on the side of an open tent. The catering benefits are the same in terms of revenue.

The marketing of a container tailgate unit is also an interesting proposition. During the season unit could be branded with any message the university wants to put forward. Inside of the unit LCD screens could be loaded and regularly updated with scores, advertising, weather, and any other information that would be beneficial to the viewer.

Current model: Again, there are limited vertical surfaces in a tent, and any screens moved in need to be moved out after the game to prevent theft.

During the offseason, marketing can be gained from container because it can easily be moved to any desired location for fund raising, student recruiting, or any event the university wants to create a presence (state fair, concert, sporting event, etc). Why let a great piece of equipment sit in storage when you can show it off to the community?

Current model: Again, it's a tent. You fold it up and either return it to the company you've rented it from, or put it in a storage unit.

"Party Logistics" could be the hidden benefit of a shipping container tailgate. Traffic congestion around any stadium is always an issue in the run up to game day. By providing a fixed location, tailgaters could leave their cars/trucks at home and walk to the location on game date. Since they won't need to carry beer and a grill people shouldn't mind parking a little further away, or taking a bus to tailgate city. On the subject of beer and food, since the unit is locked and secured it any catering supplies can be stocked days in advance. The university could also offer offsite parking for all those who've rented a container tailgate, and then provide a regular transfer service.

Currently model: There's a great amount of traffic prior to the game due to the catering companies delivering beer, food, and other supplies. Since a tent can't be locked up, it can only be stocked a couple of hours prior to the start of the tailgate. Trucks and RV's are the very heart of the tailgate, and they take up a lot of space and all arrive around the same time. This traffic can be reduced by providing centralized parking and a transfer service directly into the container tailgate city.

To sum it all up, a shipping container could be a potentially solid improvement to upscale tailgating. It's a great revenue source in many ways, could be used for both on and off season marketing, and could help to reduce traffic and congestion in the days and hours prior to kick off.

If you'd like to talk more about the topic, or how to design, source, and build your own shipping container tailgate unit, contact and we'll be glad to help you in any way that we can - from providing the container, providing the components, or putting it all together for you. We're both shipping container and tailgating professionals!

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