Alcohol at College Football Games

You probably went to a tailgate before the game on Saturday. So did thousands of other fans. So did I. And at that tailgate you probably had a drink. Or seven. So did thousands of other fans and so did I. Ain’t nothin’ finer in the land than a drunk, obnoxious Georgia fan, after all. So why can’t you buy a beer at Sanford – or at most other SEC stadiums for that matter?

According to the SEC’s director of communications, Chuck Dunlap, conference policy prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages during SEC home games:

“No alcoholic beverages shall be sold or dispensed for public consumption anywhere in the facility and the possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the public areas of the facility shall be prohibited. These prohibitions shall not apply to private, leased areas in the facility or other areas designated by the SEC. There shall be no advertising displays mentioning or promoting alcoholic beverages in the facility.”

In the South, this kind of prohibitionist mentality is unfortunately still common. According to an article from Saturday Down South, as many as six SEC states have “dry” counties where the sale or possession of any booze remains illegal. Take Arkansas, for example, where the majority of counties either fully or partially ban liquor sales. Alternatively, Missouri and Lousiana are a lot more lenient when it comes to liquor. Although not quite SEC caliber, schools including Tulane University and the University of Louisianna-Lafayette sell beer at football games.

While many could argue that alcohol sales at college sporting events would result in problems, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Here’s why:

 

Increased Revenue

Many colleges have already begun selling alcoholic beverages at football games in an effort to support their struggling athletic departments. For these schools, beer sales are an alternative revenue source that provide funding to keep their programs. For universities in the SEC with strong programs already in place, alcohol sales could increase financial reserves. By allowing the sale and consumption of adult beverages in stadiums, colleges could potentially gain significant revenue in an untapped market. According to abeer report from The Sport Journal, “the sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums and arenas can generate revenue in two ways; increased attendance particularly among students and more lucrative suite sales, and increased concession sales.”

 

Enhanced Experience

In an effort to reverse the trend of decreasing attendance at college football games, universities have continued to invest in the fan experience by introducing enhanced WiFi and DAS (Digital Antena Systems) access, unique video footage and sound effects, multiple concession options, contests and other attractions. So why not beer? Rick Villarreal, Athletic Director at the University of North Texas, suggests that alcohol sales would greatly enhance some fans’ experience at games. “In a market where we are in constant competition for the consumer’s entertainment dollar, we have to provide the amenities sports enthusiasts expect.”

 

Responsible Consumption

For many fans, tailgating starts as early as 8 a.m., meaning they will have already been pre-gaming (drinking) for hours before the game even starts. They know aUGA_11_12_A-91lcohol won’t be sold in the stadiums, so they binge drink in an effort to maintain their “buzz” throughout the day. If they’re smart, they’ll pace themselves and sneak in a flask. If they’re not, they might pass out before kickoff. When fans are allowed to purchase drinks at the game, they consume less at tailgates. In fact, the addition of beer sales during football games at West Virginia actually led to less overall drunkenness. Go Mountaineers?

 

 

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