John's Blog Posts

What’s On Tap Next?

While our Kickstarter campaign is humming along (over two-thirds funded!) it’s not the only thing that we’re working on right now.  Here are a couple of items that we’ll be tackling in the next couple of weeks:

  1. It’s time to locate an RV– we need to pick a model that (a) sleeps a minimum of 5 comfortably, (b) is rated highly for performance (we can’t be breaking down left and right), and (c) is attainable/affordable.  It would be fantastic to find an RV dealer or manufacturer to sponsor the RV for the trip, but we’re prepared to find another way if necessary.
  2. Once we know which class of RV we’re seeking, we’ll need to determine what (if any) special license we’ll need.  We may need to take a safety course before acquiring the license.  Sounds like fun, right?
  3. Continue to build relationships with regional and local media.  We have been and will continue to connect with writers, radio personalities, television reporters, and bloggers that we’ll work with along the tour.

These are a few of the things we’re spending brain cycles on now– we’ve still got a long summer of preparation ahead of us!

ps- if you know an RV dealer who’d be interested in helping us out, please contact us!

A Whirlwind Launch

It’s been two days now since we launched our Kickstarter campaign, and we’re pretty happy with the results so far.  Our outreach has mostly been a handful of direct interactions–we’ve been thrilled with how our friends have reached out on our behalf via texts/emails/twitter/phone calls.  They’ve shown tremendous support through Kickstarter pledges, Facebook likes and shares, and Twitter follows.  The numbers as of the 50 hour mark:

  • 44 pledges for a total of $3,042 (>50% of our goal)
  • 192 likes of the Kickstarter campaign
  • 119 likes of our Facebook page
  • 30 Twitter followers (@tailgate_32)

I expect the social media numbers to climb quite rapidly over the next couple of weeks.  Our emphasis has been primarily on pushing people toward the Kickstarter campaign (which is why the campaign itself has more likes than our own Facebook page).

The most interesting thing to come out of the first two days, however, is some of the people who have reached out to us.  Two football content companies (with team-specific sites for every team in the league) have reached out to us to discuss opportunities to collaborate.  While it’s still much too early in these discussions to say what will come of them, we are very encouraged.

If you haven’t made a pledge yet (did you see these awesome shirts?), please hop on over to our Kickstarter campaign now and show your support.

A Swift Kickstarter Approval

Less than 6 hours after submitting our Kickstarter campaign for review we were notified of our project’s approval. We’ve scheduled our public launch for Tuesday, May 22 at 12pm ET. The campaign will run for three weeks concluding on Tuesday, June 12.

The reasons for contributing on the very first day are manyfold. First off, the majority of the traffic we’ll be driving to the campaign will come on that first day. The more active a campaign appears, the more willing visitors are to contribute themselves. Second of all, we’ve found that one of the best ways to get “featured” by Kickstarter on their home page is to have a strong first day. If Kickstarter features our project it greatly increases our exposure and gives us an opportunity to well exceed our goal. The more money that we can raise at this early juncture the more thrilling we can make each of the tailgates.

And finally don’t forget about these snazzy t-shirts we have for giveaways. Get one customized in your team’s colors for a $25 Kickstarter contribution.

Colby Comes Through!

Today we sought out the help of Colby, a senior web developer of Harmonix, for some guidance polishing up the website.  Over the course of about a half dozen short email exchanges he helped us tighten everything up.  What a gigantic help with our public launch just around the corner.  Thanks Colby!

Tailgate32 T-Shirt Mockups Have Arrived!

Today we got mockups for our Tailgate32 t-shirts.  We’re going to make them in 32 different color combinations using each team’s two primary colors and one of their alternate colors for accents  They feature the Tailgate32 logo on the front and list our schedule on the back.  They look like a band’s tour shirts!  Check out these mockups for the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers.

Cleveland Browns Front         Cleveland Browns Back

Carolina Panthers Front          Carolina Panthers Back

With these in hand I took to building a widget for the website that allows fans to quickly check out the shirt in their team’s colors.  We’re getting close with the website, but it still needs a little bit of polish.  We’re still anticipating a public launch by the middle of next week.

Locking in the schedule!

So we’ve finally settled on a tour route for the season.  I can’t tell you whether it’s perfectly optimized, but I can share our constraints–and perhaps someone out there can tell us how we could have done it better.


  1. We’ll throw a tailgate–and attend the associated game–for one home game of each of the league’s 32 teams during the course of the 17 week regular season.
  2. We need enough time between games in order to arrive at our destination, set up, have a three-hour tailgate, attend the game, pack up, and sleep.
  3. There are two games on the schedule that aren’t actually being played at the home team’s home: New England @ St. Louis in Week 8 (it’s being played in London) and Seattle @ Buffalo in Week 15 (it’s being played in Toronto.  We won’t be going to either of those games.)
  4. Our younger brother is getting married during Week 10 (how selfish!  Just kidding, Anthony.  Congratulations to you and Katie!)  As a result, we’re unable to make the Thursday or Sunday games that week–and we’ll be in Cincinnati for those days.
  5. Don’t forget about flex scheduling in Weeks 11-17!  We need to have enough downtime built in to handle a game being moved from 1PM to 8:30PM and vice versa.
So, without further adieu, here’s what we’ve come up with:

Game Date Time (ET) Home Team Away Team
1 9/5 8:30 PM New York Giants Dallas Cowboys
2 9/9 1:00 PM Cleveland Browns Philadelphia Eagles
3 9/10 7:00 PM Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals
4 9/13 8:20 PM Green Bay Packers Chicago Bears
5 9/16 1:00 PM Jacksonville Jaguars Houston Texans
6 9/17 8:30 PM Atlanta Falcons Denver Broncos
7 9/20 8:20 PM Carolina Panthers New York Giants
8 9/23 1:00 PM Miami Dolphins New York Jets
9 9/30 1:00 PM Houston Texans Tennessee Titans
10 10/1 8:30 PM Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears
11 10/4 8:20 PM St. Louis Rams Arizona Cardinals
12 10/7 1:00 PM Kansas City Chiefs Baltimore Ravens
13 10/11 8:20 PM Tennessee Titans Pittsburgh Steelers
14 10/14 4:05 PM Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills
15 10/15 8:30 PM San Diego Chargers Denver Broncos
16 10/18 8:20 PM San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks
17 10/21 4:15 PM Oakland Raiders Jacksonville Jaguars
18 10/25 8:20 PM Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers
19 10/28 8:20 PM Denver Broncos New Orleans Saints
20 11/4 4:05 PM Seattle Seahawks Minnesota Vikings
21 11/12 8:30 PM Pittsburgh Steelers Kansas City Chiefs
22 11/15 8:20 PM Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins
23 11/18 1:00 PM New England Patriots Indianapolis Colts
24 11/22 12:30 PM Detroit Lions Houston Texans
25 11/25 1:00 PM Cincinnati Bengals Oakland Raiders
26 11/26 8:30 PM Philadelphia Eagles Carolina Panthers
27 12/2 1:00 PM New York Jets Arizona Cardinals
28 12/3 8:30 PM Washington Redskins New York Giants
29 12/9 1:00 PM Indianapolis Colts Tennessee Titans
30 12/16 1:00 PM Chicago Bears Green Bay Packers
31 12/23 1:00 PM Tampa Bay Buccaneers St. Louis Rams
32 12/30 1:00 PM New Orleans Saints Carolina Panthers

Looks easy enough, huh?

Route optimization and permission to use music!

While reviewing the route I found on Saturday, Mike found a slight tweak that saves us 1,500 miles (and probably about $750 in gas). We lost a couple good division games (GB @ Det, NE @ NYJ) but we did end up picking up the Lions Thanksgiving day game, which should make our folks happy.

Over the weekend we received permission from the Dirty River Boys and Bang Camaro to use samples of their songs to make an introduction video. I think they’re going to work out great!

Now to figure out a schedule that works…

The big task at hand today is to close in on a workable route for the project.  32 stops all across the country with the bulit in limitations of the NFL’s schedule.  Thank goodness for Monday night and Thursday night games.

I got a second computer up and running my routing algorithm. That said it didn’t help out all that much. The algorithm just isn’t written well enough to complete in any reasonable amount of time. So I went to work on building a schedule by hand. The toughest parts of the country to efficiently cover are the far west (we don’t want to be going back and forth across the country if we can avoid it) and the southeast (who knew how far Miami was from everything else!). Luckily the scheduling gods did us a favor in between weeks 4 and 9. Without going too far out of our way we’ll be able to string the following teams together and completely knock out the west, Texas and a good chunk of the midwest: Houston (9.30), Dallas (10.1), St. Louis (10.4), Kansas City (10.7), Tennessee (10.11), Arizona (10.14), San Diego (10.15), San Francisco (10.18), Oakland (10.21), Minnesota (10.25), Denver (10.28), Seattle (11.4). And then we take off for our only real cross country leg and head to Cincinnati to celebrate our younger brother Anthony’s wedding. I think we lucked out a little bit there!

Our schedule is not quite final– we’ve got a few folks who are better with numbers looking at this too– but this bodes very well!