Front view of three men watching American football

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NEW YORK — Americans take football so seriously that half of them have actually ended a friendship over an on-field rivalry. A survey of 2,000 U.S. football fans examined how respondents celebrate game day, finding that 52 percent have called it quits with a friend because they support their favorite team’s rival. When their team loses, it takes an average of three days to get over the loss.

Still, that hasn’t stopped fans from continuing to cheer for their favorite team from their favorite place. While 38 percent of respondents prefer watching a football game at a stadium, a third would rather watch from home (30%), followed by a bar (13%) or at a friend’s house (10%).

When it comes to celebrating game day, people typically do a mix of hosting and attending parties during the football season (39%). On average, people host six game day parties throughout the season, and their guests are usually fans of their favorite team (46%) or a mix of fans and non-fans (28%).

It’s no surprise that three in four of those who host parties say it’s the highlight of their football year (75%).

Game day is all about the food

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Litehouse, the survey asked respondents what makes a successful game day party, with many saying it’s the game itself (26%), the people (26%), the food (22%), and the drinks (21%).

Fans noted that a game day party isn’t complete without foods like pizza (27%), burgers (26%), chips and dip (25%), hot dogs (24%), fries, charcuterie meats and cheeses, as well as Buffalo wings (23%).

The top game day dips include salsa (35%), French onion (34%), blue cheese (34%), ranch (33%), guacamole (33%), and buffalo chicken (33%). While blue cheese and ranch ranked high on the list of top game day dips, Americans were split on which one they preferred (43% and 42%, respectively).

“No matter what team you’re rooting for, football fans agree that the snacks can make or break any game day party,” says Heidi Wieber, brand manager at Litehouse, in a statement. “Serving your favorite bites and appetizers alongside a variety of delicious dressings and dips can help upgrade your game day snack table, so there’s something everyone can enjoy throughout the game.”

tailgating food

Is inflation ruining the game day experience?

As inflation continues to soar nationwide, the research suggests that a majority of football fans are taking the economy into consideration when planning their game day events. Half of football fans plan to “homegate” – tailgating at home – this year (51%) because they’re more comfortable at home (19%), it’s more fun (17%), and to save money (16%).

For those who plan to “homegate” this football season, their preferred food options for their indoor events are cooking or preparing homemade food and snacks (53%) and ordering takeout (24%). Half of football fans also admit the parties they’ve either attended or hosted are preparing them for the Big Game in 2023 (51%).

Delicious food is definitely on the menu since two in five expect to eat more during the Big Game (42%) than at a regular tailgating event (39%) or “homegating” party (10%).

As for who would they love to see headline the halftime show, football fans named Cardi B (23%), Nicki Minaj (23%), Taylor Swift (23%), and Drake (22%) as some of their top halftime choices.

“With a majority of Americans planning to tailgate at home this year, hosting a winning and memorable homegating party is simple with our delicious dressings and dips,” Wieber adds. “And, if you’re not hosting, these dressings and dips are easy to bring to any game day party and a perfect match for all dippable foods from more traditional snacks like veggies and chips to game day staples like pizza, burgers and hot dogs.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American football fans was commissioned by Litehouse between October 6 and October 10, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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