Niner Tailgating Concerns

Hey y’all, so far this season has been a blast minus the Georgia State game. I’m writing this post because I think it needs to be said that our tailgating is slowly dying beyond the Normbulance. This issue seems to promote poor game attendance as well. These mid week games don’t allow for tailgating for regular people with 9-5 jobs. Students are not allowed to tailgate. Parking passed for tailgating are grossly overpriced. $50 to park in an empty lot a mile from the stadium is completely ridiculous.

I love a ton of the stuff that Hill and company have done but the game day experience from my perspective needs some serious help. If we continue to make tailgating hard, we will never grow into our potential.


A concerned fan


Somebody needs to get Mike Hill, Chris Fuller and Sharon Gaber to visit tailgating with them 2 hours before kickoff. A golf cart tour could cover a lot of ground pretty quickly. There should be a significant presence of fans out cementing their relationship to the University at that time, and if not, somebody needs to be assigned to work on that.

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Mike and them do hit a bunch of lots. They put a priority to hit the low donor lots and students first. They have an opposite view of building relationships from the last admin.

As for the environment. IMO the weekday games just make it really hard. Hard to get there to tailgate and hard to set up. I am lucky that I don’t have a boss and am able to just schedule those dates open, but for most that just makes things impossible. Even if you take off early it’s hard to make it. I am ok with one weekday gameday, but it really hurts us going from mid of september to november between saturday games and only having 3 of them.

The parking really does need to be reevaluated. I get the money side of things, but it’s insane to have as many open lots as we do with people parking so far out. Maybe they need to have a pass turn system where people aren’t coming can send their pass back in and it can get given to others? We still haven’t figured out to move non tailgaters out of surface lots if they are just going to come to the game. Run a shuttle service to the decks. We absolutely should have like a $10 lot somewhere on campus.

Hopefully in October the student tailgate can return as well as the alumni tailgate. With that said the students have been tailgating, they just aren’t allowed to have a central location. Athletics has been placing various students groups amongst all the different lots based on availability of passes.

I think y’all answered your own concern - weekday games. It’s just hard to get a good tailgate in during the week. I make it happen but it’s a struggle. Friday afternoon traffic to campus from south Charlotte doesn’t help.

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I have gone from tailgating every game to just showing up because of life these days, so I am part of the problem when it comes to building atmosphere. However, I give Gold Lot level donations and when they start putting $500 donors there, and me half a mile away, I will become a $500 donor. I don’t get much in return for my donation–it certainly hasn’t been wins in either major sport in a long time–so they need to think about the repercussions of changing the parking program. I have barely met Mike since he has been here, so I do think you are correct that he isn’t prioritizing building relationships with people at my level. I don’t need a lot of stroking so my feelings aren’t hurt, and if he is creating new Gold Lot level donors then I guess he is doing good work.

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Would you have an issue turning your pass in that you aren’t tailgating with and giving it to a group that will tailgate there on a week by week basis and using a parking deck with shuttle service instead?

If we want to up the level of our tailgate scene we have to get people up to the stadium that tailgate and that means figuring our how to balance the older bigger donors with the younger smaller donors but tailgaters.

I think the best way is to allow people maybe (2-5 max) to pool their donations and get credit for it individually but be counted in a group for parking purposes. My group has gone from donating some where around probably around 10k to I would guess somewhere between 35-45k in last 3 years. This could be a big driver to both increase giving and the tailgate scene.

ANother idea is to have 10-20 spots that are “lot upgrades” that are given away each game - kind of like seat upgrades inside the stadium. Make it a lottery or something. Hell raffle some off. We can be creative here in creating more revenue AND getting a better environment.

As for benefits part of my question for donors is why do you donate? Is it for the benefits or is it to help the school and athletes? When someone complains about FSL holder not getting much - my response is always the same - we got FSL to get a team. I give at what ever level I can financially not so much for benefits but because I want to support the school. I know some folks area very driven by benefits of level X but I just have never quite understood that line of thinking.

Oh and just FYI you already have GJ donors parking with you in the gold lot. A capital gift and GJ donor gets elipse passes.

I’m currently converting a mini bus for tailgating. Not sure when it will be ready though. I’m trying by the end of the season but we’ll see.


This is my first year tailgating in the redlot. It’s been a ton of fun, and has encouraged friends to come out and watch the Niners who normally don’t. I’m a big believe that a solid tailgating atmosphere is a critical part of building a fanbase. With that being said, I do have some issues/agree with the post.

  • Lots opening earlier for games would be nice. While I’m one of the few who want an all day tailgate, even opening them 6 hours before the game would be a huge benefit. 4 hours is really 3.5 due to having to pack up and get to the stadium.

  • Tailgate atmosphere/consolidation. Redlot is about all I can afford at this point in my life, and has the potential to be a great lot. Not too far of a walk either, big and open, right by the lighrail. But its a shame how its really only 15%-25% filled. While what the Normbulance is doing is great, its a shame there doesn’t exist a rowdy tailgating lot (RIP Blacklot) for the folks who like to bring their own gear out. I always have a blast, but for people who are new to the program, it gives off a small time feel.

  • Student tailgating has been a sad state since they shut down the mini grove. I get the athletic department doesn’t have a lot of control over Covid policies, but its sad how that is now nonexistent.

  • We have a lot of dead spots on campus when it comes to tailgating. Filling those in would be a priority to me (if I was Mike Hill).

  • I’m sure the athletic department has the data on how consistently folks show up to tailgates/how early they arrive. Rewarding the folks who are out there all day with “random upgrades” would be a nice way to increase/consolidate the game day atmosphere. Or maybe after a season or two of consistent early tailgating, offer complimentary/discounted upgrades.

I grew up in Raleigh going to NC State games, we have a long long way to go to even get a decent tailgating/pregame atmosphere. As with a lot of things, I just want a solid tailgating atmosphere that we can be proud of.

Just be good turning a wrench and it will all work out!!

Looks awesome!!

Some guys in the blue lot have a mini bus. Bit older than that one though.

clt says the black lot was peak tailgate


Thanks! Learning as I go, I did do a ton of research before buying if what to look out for.

Our tailgate is in the Gold lot and has been steadily growing over the years. Figured it was time to go all in on something.


I looked into a minibus back in the day as well as a full bus. It’s a ton of fun and a ton of work!

One reason why tailgating might have dropped off a bit is you can now buy alcohol in the stadium.

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Weekdays (primarily) and CoVid are the biggest hurdles this year, I do like the pooling of donations for a tailgate spot idea though. I’ve heard that bounced around by others.

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We are 13-4 in our last 17 home games. Us losing as excuse not to tailgate is very 2017


We don’t lose at home under this staff.

That’s one thing Healy has 100% done here, established a home field advantage.


Nice to see the students showing up and being very active. That has been key.

First, I don’t think you are taking a shot at me with any of your post, and I have no issues with the questions raised.

Only an idiot is giving money to the 49er Club to get the benefits. I give to support the program, but it is my connection–and the theoretical joy that brings me–that keeps me from giving this money to a different charity. I want young donors to take the same path I have, start giving a minimal amount when you are young and as their means grow, so does their support. So let me turn your question around–do you know of any athletic program that does not structure their benefits where the more you give, the better the rewards? Should Charlotte take a different approach? I think it would be a mistake. Reward what you want more of, and while we do want more tailgating we cannot survive without money. I personally think we can get both–many other schools do. I think winning is the key, and we are off to a good start.

I think it matters less where the tailgating happens, and we just need to facilitate it. The Black Lot proved that.

Certainly did not mean to take a shot at you at all. Need to find a way to keep donors like you happy while improving the environment.

Yeah losing the black lot sucked. It just seems crazy to me to have so many lots that are not at capacity and then have people flung out all over campus. As I mentioned letting individuals pool money and making some lots rewards or upgrades seems like a good idea. Hell we probably should have a few that are available on Gameday for something like $200 a spot for people that may be outta state but fine with dropping some coin for a single day.

I agree with you I think we can find a way to increase the environment right at the stadium and raise more money.