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Tailgaters Put Stadium on the Map

Category: UNSPECIFIED
Source: Arizona Republic
Publish Date: Saturday, September 15, 2007
Summary: The folks at DirecTV and KVH Industries, manufacturer of live mobile satellite TV systems for cars and recreational vehicles, recently enlisted three tailgating experts to rank the most tailgating-friendly NFL cities. Tailgating.com's Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed "Commissioner of Tailgating," along with Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell of the Ultimate Sports Road Trip, ranked 32 stadiums across the nation.

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We won't know until it's over how the Cardinals measure up to the Seattle Seahawks, winners of last season's NFC West Division title.

But Cardinals fans will have bragging rights over the Seahawks in one regard even before kickoff of the Big Red's home opener on Sunday.

The folks at DirecTV and KVH Industries, manufacturer of live mobile satellite TV systems for cars and recreational vehicles, recently enlisted three tailgating experts to rank the most tailgating-friendly NFL cities.

University of Phoenix Stadium, with it's "Great Lawn," expansive-but-not-expensive parking lots and tailgate-friendly stadium management, ranked 10th, tied with Philadelphia.

Tailgating.com's Joe Cahn, the self-proclaimed "Commissioner of Tailgating," along with Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell of the Ultimate Sports Road Trip, ranked 32 stadiums across the nation.

Baltimore ranked No. 1.

Cahn estimates he's tailgated at 500 events, while logging more than 500,000 miles over the past 12 years.

He made his first visits to University of Phoenix Stadium last season.

Cahn said he loves the setup, even though he had to park at an auxiliary lot and take a shuttle to the game. "It's a wonderful thing," he said of the stadium.

University of Phoenix Stadium didn't score as well as some other stadiums in terms of "tradition," which makes sense considering it's only been open for a year. And there weren't any tailgate-specific magazines or Web sites for fans, so we lost points there.

But the Valley's retractable-dome, slide-in-field stadium got high marks for the "tech-savvy " aspect of tailgaters there.

"I met some people when I was in Phoenix who had the best high-tech setup I've seen," Cahn said. "They had six television sets. They had their dish, DirecTV and they could watch six different games at once.

"They also had a convection oven, a hot-dog rotisserie and some sort of air-conditioner they made from fans and condenser coils. I loved it.

"That's some manly-man tailgating right there."

The experts loved the "Great Lawn" concept with more than 20 acres of grass for picnicking and grilling.

They also appreciated that University of Phoenix Stadium allows fans to set up shades and tents, which is rare at NFL venues.

And the lots open four hours before kickoff, another plus.

A negative is the quick closing, one hour after the game ends.

"They need to rethink that," Cahn said.

"People need to unwind, and there's a social aspect to it."


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