Tailgating gets online playbooks

Author: Nancy Better


In The New York Times article, "Tailgating gets an online playbook," Marketing Professor John Sherry is quoted about his research examining tailgating as a cultural ritual, and how people are using technology as part of the experience.


Lately, tailgating has attracted academic, as well as commercial, attention. In a research study titled “A Cultural Analysis of Tailgating,” John Sherry, a University of Notre Dame marketing professor and anthropologist, likens tailgating to traditional harvest celebrations in ancient Greece and Rome, which involved excessive feasting and drinking and required generous hospitality toward strangers and guests.

Professor Sherry dubs tailgating a “vestaval,” after Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. “As in ancient times, people celebrate the massive abundance of the season while they can,” he said. “The football season starts at the end of summer, goes through fall and ends on winter’s doorstep. Tailgating is an autumnal rite that celebrates abundance in the face of austerity.”

Professor Sherry applauds the use of technology in organizing cultural rituals, including tailgates. “People want to be involved in a very participatory way, and technology makes more room for this to happen,” he said.

Read the entire article.