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Momentum builds for more alcohol at games

By Wally Hall

This article was published May 17, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.


This is beer for sale at a concession stand at McKechnie Field during a spring training exhibition baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The key words are current or currently.

Last week, Levy, a food and beverage vendor that has the new contract for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's athletic events, applied for a permit to sell alcohol at some of the Razorbacks' events.

In the UA's comments, it was said there are "no current plans" to expand beyond Baum Stadium (baseball), Walton Arena (basketball) and Barnhill Arena (gymnastics and volleyball).

Currently, the SEC does not allow the sale of alcohol at its member schools, so expect that rule to be heavily discussed and then changed in the near future, maybe as soon as June at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told The Advocate in Baton Rouge that he expects a review of the policy.

Expect the vote to be unanimous. No one wants to be the person to tell Alabama, LSU and Florida fans they had the opportunity to have a cold beer at the game and the school voted against it.

The 9,000 fans who sit in the club seats at Reynolds Razorback Stadium have been able to buy beer or wine since 2014, because those are considered "private club" seating. There doesn't appear to have been any extra arrests at Arkansas football games due to alcohol consumption, although there was a professor told to leave the game for yelling at Bret Bielema. The dude was inebriated, and he wasn't in the club seating.

The 63,000 other fans -- OK, it isn't that high; some suite holders have been bringing in their own for years -- are left high and dry from the time they leave their tailgate until they get back there.

Beer sales in the club area and the new requests to sell alcohol are paving the way to selling beer and wine at Razorbacks football games

However, the objections and concerns the UA had to allowing fans to bring guns to the game had little to do with getting that law changed. Maybe they were concerned they'd have to allow umbrellas, too.

Every college in America is looking for ways to generate new revenue.

Across the country, 34 schools already sell beer, including wealthy schools such as Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, UConn and Syracuse.

The first year Razorbacks fans in club seats could buy beer and wine, they spent $234,918. Sodexo paid the UA $26,126, and if you haven't been around long the reason the UA has a vendor instead of operating concessions themselves is because several years ago when the UA ran the concessions, an employee stole more than $700,000.

Much of that was in coins. The story was she'd bring a wheel barrow full of nickels, dimes and quarters into the bank and walk out with a lot of folding money. It seems someone should have gotten curious about it, but that's water under the bridge.

One reason colleges and universities are concerned about more revenue is the Millennials apparently aren't inclined to buy tickets. They are buying bigger and better TVs, and if it rains they don't go because they can't use their cellphones.

All SEC schools are doing well financially, but the worry is about the future.

Having all games televised sounds great, but sitting through those long TV timeouts on your sofa is a lot more comfortable than on an aluminum bench.

In the future, expect the Alcohol Beverage Control to approve it; the SEC to decide it is up to the schools to decide whether they want to sell alcohol; and shortly after that for everyone with enough money -- there will be no happy hour prices -- to have an adult beverage at the ballgame.

Sports on 05/17/2017

Print Headline: Momentum builds for more alcohol at games


Comments on: Momentum builds for more alcohol at games

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

maxrss12070705 says... May 17, 2017 at 8:12 a.m.

Alcohol and angry fans? Not a good mix!

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Marks says... May 17, 2017 at 8:23 a.m.

There simply is not enough places to buy alcohol. We need more. Many more. Regarding the games, the mens restrooms at both Little Rock and Fayetteville are littered with empty alcohol containers after the games- so why not sell the stuff (with a huge price) and let the institution of higher learning make some money off it? And lets not stop with just selling alcohol in the stands, there should also be kiosks set up in the parking lot and on the sidewalks so the inebriated fans wont get dry walking to or from the games. Heck, they could even sell 6,12 or 24 packs to go. Go Hogs.

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TravisBickle says... May 17, 2017 at 10:15 a.m.

We never had a problem getting getting alcohol into stadium back in the good ol' SWC days! We also never had a problem getting sh*t faced BEFORE the game even started!

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Delta2 says... May 17, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

I don't have a problem with it at all, and in fact I favor it. Let's quit pretending that this is not a money-making venture. If the ritzy club seating crowd can drink (legally), it should be open to all.

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tenpoint says... May 17, 2017 at 5:56 p.m.

PEOPLE ARE CRAZY ENOUGH WITHOUT alcohol that is not a good mix.

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Delta2 says... May 17, 2017 at 9:28 p.m.

tenpoint--right. People aren't drinking at all before the game, right outside (and inside)) the stadium. At least let's let the schools make some bank off the will of the people.

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