It's football season again, and when fans go out to support their favorite professional, college or high school team, many tailgate before the game. Tailgating can be a great way to celebrate – playing catch, cooking food and making new friends. Everyone has slightly different styles when it comes to tailgating – whether it's what they wear, where they park or what they cook. If you're considering tailgating in a parking lot or just a backyard this fall, take advantage of some of the biggest tailgating trends of 2014 this season.
1. Bring tailgating to your smartphone
People often joke that "there's an app for everything." In the case of tailgating there are more than one! Apps can help enhance your tailgating experience for everything from quick recipes in the palm of your hand to music to pump you up for the game, but some get even more specific and tailored to the tailgating experience.
The "Tailgating" app ifor iOs or "Tailgating Planner" app for Android was highlighted by Digital Trends as a tailgating must-have. This app helps sports fans plan out the food and equipment, keep track of inventory and create tailgating task lists.
Tailgating in a group? You'll want the OT OurTailgate website. This useful online tool allows people from all over to easily communicate about who's bringing what so that you don't end up with all hot dogs and no buns. Headline News pointed to this as one of the three best tailgating apps.
Another excellent tailgating app is related to one of the most important aspects of tailgating: grilling. With recipes and healthy grilling tips, the Grill-It app is a no-brainer for any tailgater. This is the perfect app if you want to switch it up from the typical hot dogs and hamburgers.
2. Serve the right food
Grilling is a critical aspect of any tailgate, but don't just stick to the exciting recipes you may find on an app. Old favorites are worth revisiting too. According to the 25th annual Weber GrillWatch Survey in 2014, America's favorite tailgate food is the hamburger. Hamburgers received 75 percent of the vote and have been the No. 1 tailgate food for the past 25 years of the famed grill company's survey. Hot dogs came in second, followed by bratwurst.
Overall, food was ranked the most important aspect of a tailgate by the 1,000 21-year-old or older people across the U.S. who participated in the survey, just ahead of grills. Vegetables have been steadily rising over the years, being ranked in 8 percent of respondents' top three tailgate foods. It was only 4 percent last year. Steak is also a popular choice for men.
3. Involve more electronics
Another trend that's taking over tailgating is the addition of gadgets and electronics many think of as exclusively indoor. With so many games on television and fantasy football, nobody wants to miss a second of the football around the country.
Although popular, setting up a television outside isn't simple. You want to start with a screen that isn't going to be damaged or show too much glare. Some people opt for specialty outdoor televisions that allow for sunny viewing and are damage resistant – a good option for backyard tailgates. When you're traveling, however, a regular television with a canopy covering can work well.
Dixie Tailgate, a tailgating specialty store, explained that in order to set up an outdoor television, you'll also need to use power inverters and adaptors to have your car's battery power the television. Some people prefer generators. Additionally, you'll need an HD antenna hook-up, a portable satellite dish or a high-speed Internet hookup to play, broadcast or stream the games.
This isn't the cheapest or easiest item to add to your tailgate, but it will certainly attract guests to your setup and admiration from other fans.
Another great electronic trend is to have a WiFi hotspot in your car to give everyone easy access to fantasy sports, pregame coverage and highlights on their tablets or phones.
4. Set up the hottest games
Although a TV is bound to bring people to your tailgating area, games will do the trick too. Tailgating games are nothing new, but every year new games emerge and become trendy. Look online for what games are catching on in social media to be ahead of the curve so you can teach your tailgating neighbors the hip new games trending on Instagram. Of course, corn hole, beer pong, darts and football are still favorites.
5. Review the rules
Many stadiums have put more rules and regulations into place as capacities grow and tailgating continues. Outdoor furniture store Backyard City explained on its blog that these rules are one of the least fun trends, but you'll have a better time if you acquaint yourself with the stadium's rules before tailgating.
By checking out some of the biggest trends in tailgating, you guarantee that your parking space will be the fun place everyone wants to hang out at before the game.
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