Have you ever attended a college football game and found yourself and your wingman pathetically drinking warm beer and eating chips out of the trunk of your rental car? Meanwhile, the local fans are grilling some form of protein, swirling libations, enjoying music, laughing, playing cornhole or beer pong and generally having a great time. Or have you been that fortunate fan who was invited to a Host team tailgate, got to be part of the “in Crowd” and had an amazing time? 

I have been the recipient of both types and have experienced every kind of pre-game ritual from the epic to the never-mention-again. I speak from vast experience on this matter as I have been on a quest since 2004 to attend a game and Tailgate at all Division 1 A schools, plus many more. I started a blog chronicling my experiences in 2008 called Dan From the Tailgate. 

I have been enamored with this purely American phenomenon that we call “tailgating” since I began my quest. To me, Tailgating is as big of a part of game day as the actual gridiron matchup. You recite school chants or songs, sample the locale faire, partake in a few adult beverages, don the team colors and of course get revved up for the big game for hours on end. In some parts of the country, such as the South and the Midwest, tailgating is taken to a whole new level. 

Each tailgate tent tries to outdo the others with something unique in their setup or on their menu. Big screen TVs, original tailgating games, massive tents, full bars and of course mouth-watering food. The camaraderie at the college football level is jovial and good natured fun. Opposing fans can pre-game side by side and hoist beverages in mutual toasts. There is no other ritual in the world quite like college football game day. If you don’t get to be part of these soirees, you really are missing out on one of the best parts of college football.

My past experiences led me to create a new company last year called Tailgate Connect™, which is a service connecting traveling fans to host tailgates. Much like Uber and Airbnb, Tailgate Connect utilizes the collaborative consumption model of personal space sharing combined with elements of a dating app twist. Our goal is to make sure that everyone who wants to tailgate gets to do so with the added benefit of it being a hassle-free event. 

We try to match people with similar likes to ensure there is a good fit. We maintain standards that all guest and hosts must abide by through a rating system. This system will also decide who wins our top host contest for tickets to the National Championship game. The hosts determine which game and how many guests they will receive. They will ensure the guests are fed, given drinks, and introduced to the crew to see to it that they have a good time. The guests pay Tailgate Connect™ and we then pay the hosts. 

While there are other types of pay for pre-game experiences, at Tailgate Connect we feel our model provides benefits that tent rental companies can’t such as friendship, local knowledge and great memories for a fraction of the cost. As of this article, we have over 30 major colleges represented, and that number is growing rapidly. If you don’t know what you’re doing for your big road trip game day you should consider checking out Tailgate Connect™.

How do you connect with with tailgaters during football season?


Dan Donnelly is the founder and Editor of the Dan From the Tailgate (DFT) blog.  Dan chronicles his weekly journeys which have taken him to over 100 stadiums and several hundred college and professional games. His goal of attending a game and tailgate at every FBS venue and major rivalry games at the lower divisions is nearing fruition.  It was in his travels that Dan found the inspiration for Tailgate Connect, witnessing first-hand the need and the subsequent opportunity we are addressing.  Additionally, Dan has written for Stadium Journey Magazine and is a frequent contributor to numerous tailgating and traveling websites and publications.

Dan is a graduate of Frostburg State University in Maryland where he was Captain of the Rugby Team.  He earned his Master’s in Business Administration at Oklahoma City University.  Prior to entering the corporate world, Dan was a U.S. Army Officer obtaining the rank of First Lieutenant. Dan resides in Danville, California.


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