New financier makes Tiger Town a possibility

The quickest approval date for new Tiger Town proposal would be a month from now.
Local businessman Andrew Ouart offered to fund Tiger Town at the Columbia City Council meeting Tuesday night. Tiger Town is a proposed city-wide tailgating event that will take place before MU football games in hopes of drawing in more fans to businesses downtown.

Tiger Town, which appeared down for the count due to lack of funding, is now finding a second wind from Andrew Ouart.

The proposal has come suddenly and late because Ouart said he had expected the original Tiger Town proposal to be implemented.

Ouart is trying to get it up and running as soon as Sept. 14, in time for the home football game against Arizona State. He initially thought he could get everything together for the Georgia game this Saturday, but he said that was unfeasible. Ouart said the last hurdle for his proposal to clear is obtaining a liquor license and property to put the 10,000 people he is envisioning for Tiger Town.

“We’re trying to finalize the property and finalize the liquor license,” Ouart said. “Then, we’ll rock and roll.”

However, Mayor Bob McDavid said he isn’t as optimistic as Ouart on the time frame.

McDavid said the City Council would also have to vote on the proposal before it was approved, which would mean if everything was done as quickly as possible, it would take a minimum of four weeks before the proposal could be approved.

Ouart is trying to get Tiger Town up as soon as possible, but he won’t do anything unless the city approves. He said his main reason for trying to get this together was not to bring in a profit, but he wants to help the city and the benefit the businesses around downtown.

“City knows I will go by their rules,” he said. “It’s not beneficial to anyone if it’s not beneficial to the city. This will benefit Columbia, benefit stores and benefit restaurants around the city.”

He expects each weekend to cost about $50,000 to put Tiger Town together. This would include a tent large enough for 10,000 people, a stage, lights, big-screen TVs, workers and live music. People would pay a $15 cover charge that would allow for unlimited soda, juice, well drinks and beer. There would also be a $3 top-shelf option for liquor.

Ouart’s goal is to use the money from the cover charge to help expand the event and make it better.

“The objective is to grow it week by week, year by year, always working with the objective to make it better,” Ouart said.

Ouart comes from the Southeastern Conference. He grew up in Gainesville, Fla., and went to University of Mississippi. He came to Columbia because his family lives here. His dad, Michael Ouart, is the Vice Provost for MU. Andrew Ouart is a big fan of college football and has worked on putting together events like this with Caesar’s Entertainment, including tailgating parties in Oxford, Miss., for Ole Miss.

Andrew Ouart wants to help make change the culture in Columbia to one that’s more befitting an SEC school like Ole Miss.

“In the SEC, a game doesn’t just last four quarters,” he said. “It lasts whole weekends.”

His idea for Tiger Town, funded by his company, Tiger Town Hospitality, would start on the Friday night before a football game with a pep rally with coach Gary Pinkel, the football players and Marching Mizzou. It would start up again at 10 a.m. Saturday and go until 1:30 a.m. Sunday where there will be football games on big screen TVs and live music. Buses would shuttle fans at Tiger Town to and from the game.

McDavid said all of these events would require a lot of planning. He also said it would be very difficult to get the logistics of an event of this scale worked out quickly.

“It’s a great vision, but it’s going to take a while,” McDavid said. “It’s unlikely to get done this year, but I like being surprised.”

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