Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 20 No. 42
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

IMG College launching Tailgate Club at three schools

IMG College is starting a new business in the increasingly competitive tailgating space by providing food, drink and other party essentials for college football fans at the game.

The Tailgate Club will launch this season by providing its service at three schools to start: Kansas, Washington and West Virginia. The agency said it purposely limited the number of schools at launch to make sure the customizable service got off to a manageable start. While all three schools also work with IMG College on multimedia rights, the Tailgate Club will be available to any university.

IMG College will run into a tailgating space that is becoming more competitive with the likes of Tailgate Guys and Block Party Suites already in the marketplace. But the laser focus on improving the fan experience, something Tim Pernetti, IMG College’s president, hears on every campus he visits, suggests that there might be plenty of business to go around.

IMG College is working on the new business with IMG Live, the company’s experiential marketing and activation agency led by President Bryan Icenhower that works on close to 9,000 events per year. Pernetti and Icenhower first began collaborating on the idea of Tailgate Club earlier this year and together have developed Tailgate Club’s brand and website where fans and corporate clients place their orders.

Pricing ranges from $375 for a simple tent and chairs setup to $2,675 for a high-end production, which could include satellite TV, power, flooring and other amenities. Catering is available as well, and orders can be placed game-by-game or for the season.

IMG College is responsible for marketing, taking orders and fulfilling them. The idea, Pernetti said, is not to give the school any more to worry about on game day. The schools don’t pay a fee but provide the tailgating space and parking. IMG shares the revenue with the schools.

IMG College will be counting on its depth of relationships — it has multimedia rights deals with 75 colleges and licensing arrangements with many more — to give it a leg up in pursuit of new tailgating business.

“There’s not a campus out there that’s not talking about tailgating, fan experience and game day, so that’s where it all started,” said Pernetti, who sent a Tailgate Club primer to all 75 client schools earlier this month. He said he’s heard back from 55 schools already, so he’s encouraged that there will be no shortage of opportunities.

IMG Live also will go inside the stadium to work with schools on in-venue VIP hospitality, something it will be doing at Kansas and Washington.