Couples Who Tailgate Together Stay Together, Says New Baylor Research

September 4, 2019

Marketing researcher and husband team up to study tailgating’s impact on relationships

Media Contact: Eric M. Eckert, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-1964
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 4, 2019) – For millions of football fans across the United States, fall is the time to break out the grills, load vehicles with coolers and food and games, and gather with friends for the time-honored tradition of tailgating.

It’s a tradition that Baylor University’s Meredith David, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, and her husband, Luke Lorick, have been enjoying since their undergraduate years at the University of South Carolina. The couple partnered on a recent research project to better understand tailgating’s impact on relationships and well-being.

David is known nationally for her studies of phone snubbing – “phubbing” – and smartphone addiction. Lorick owns and operates Tailgating Challenge, a website devoted to testing and reviewing tailgating equipment, and he launched National Tailgating Day, which is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of September.

“I noticed how at tailgates people actually interact with each other and are not glued to their phones like we see in restaurants and many other settings,” David said. “This led us to combine our expertise to study the impact of tailgating together on well-being.”

The researchers surveyed 143 tailgating adults (44 percent were female) who answered questions about their partners and their respect toward that person. The results show that individuals who tailgate with their significant other report higher levels of respect and relationship satisfaction, David said. The results of the study will be presented later this month at the Atlantic Marketing Association Conference.

“Tailgating fosters the human-to-human, face-to-face interactions and connections that we as humans need but yet find hard to come by as a result of cellphones and ‘phubbing’ tendencies,” David said.

With over 70 million people tailgating annually, spending on average $150 on each occasion, David said this research offers important guidance for marketers, particularly in terms of positioning strategies in marketing communications for tailgating-related products and events.

“For example, in advertisements, marketers should focus on portraying couples, or even friends, tailgating together as this may resonate more and help build bonds with the products they sell and the markets they are reaching out to,” David said.

David said she and her husband knew that tailgating strengthened their relationship, but they wanted to dig in to see if it was – or could be – helpful to others.

“We have lived and experienced these effects ourselves, so we wanted to determine if this impacted others the same way,” she said. “We found that tailgating helps strengthen relationships, in part, by helping people escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They disconnect from their TVs, laptops and cellphones and make real connections with loved ones and friends.”

Meredith David, Ph.D., serves as assistant professor of marketing in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. Her research focuses on marketing strategies with an emphasis on consumer behavior and well-being. Recently, her research has explored how new media technologies, including smartphones, impact personal and workplace relationships. She has also published research related to customized pricing tactics, interpersonal attachment styles and the pursuit of health goals. Her research appears in numerous professional and academic journals and she has been interviewed and quoted for her research in national and international news outlets, including ABC News, Fox News,, Redbook, Consumer Reports and Health magazine.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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