September 25, 2020
How to go virtual with your pregame tailgate.
For many, tailgating at the football stadium is just as much of a tradition as watching the game. Yet like many other activities in the time of COVID-19, tailgating this season will look a bit different this year.
Watching football in person is not an option in most cities. NFL teams across the country have spent months debating whether or not to allow in-person attendance at games. As of this writing, most have decided not to allow fans at games to start the season. And those teams that are allowing in fans at a limited capacity are usually prohibiting stadium tailgating.
So what's a football fan supposed to do? Don't give up on tailgating. Just plan on doing it a little differently.
Watching the Game With Others
During the pandemic, you can still tailgate with other fans while staying safe and, of course, having fun! Here are some options:
1. Watch together but separately: Squad is a free app that allows friends and families to connect at a distance. During socially-distant tailgates, groups of up to nine people can video chat together while screen-sharing the game, checking out player stats or looking up other content.
2. Host a socially-distant tailgating party in your backyard: This is a better option than holding an indoor tailgate party, as there is more space outdoors. Bring your TV outside, or use the Cox Contour App to watch the game on any mobile device.
3. Gather neighbors together for a socially-distanced block party tailgate: Each neighbor or family can watch the game on their own mobile devices, or you can set up a big screen with a projector. You can get tips and equipment recommendations, here.
Safety Tips for Outdoor Tailgates
If you choose to tailgate with others outdoors, make sure to follow these safety precautions, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Ask guests to stay home if they've been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing any symptoms of illness.
- Arrange tables and chairs to maintain social distancing of six feet or more.
- Remind guests to wear masks when less than six feet apart from others.
- Use disposable towels for drying hands.
- Limit contact with shared food items by designating one person to serve food using spoons or tongs, or prepare boxed meals or snack packs in advance.
- Offer disposable cups, plates, utensils and napkins. We also recommend providing sharpies so people can write their names on their cups.
Winning Food, Drink Ideas
For many, the food and drinks at a tailgate are almost as a big a deal as the game itself.
One of the bright spots of virtual tailgating is the ability to prepare a greater variety or type of food and drink, unlike the limited options you can bring to a game. Here are some ways to amp up your tailgating menu:
- Want to play favorites? Whether's it's Kansas City style burnt BBQ ends, New York City soft pretzels or Wisconsin's famous fried cheese curds, every team's city has a signature food item that's worth a try.
- Pile on the home buffet with tailgating favorites like chili, hoagie dip or meatballs.
- Prefer an easier option? Get your favorite wings, pizza or burgers delivered and support a local business, too.
- Beer may be your tailgating beverage of choice, but you can up your bar tending game with these specialty drinks, like Boston Rum Punch, Benchwarmer Cocktail or Spiced and Spiked Hot Chocolate. Don't forget — please drink responsibly!
Show Your Team Spirit
You probably have your team jersey and hat at the ready, and plan to purchase themed tailgate party supplies from your local big box or party goods store.
But when tailgating from home, you can create even more ways to surround yourself with team paraphernalia. The NFL has launched a “homegating" store to provide a large variety of items. You can search by team or by item for items like an Arizona Cardinals cutting board or L.A. Chargers mask holder.
Even COVID-19 can't stop the excitement of football season and tailgating. With a few safety-minded modifications, you can still host a memorable tailgate. Here's hoping your team makes it to the Super Bowl!