Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Take Two: Should Big 12 schools sell beer?
By Jake Trotter
It's Take Two Tuesday, when we give takes on a burning topic related to the Big 12.
Tuesday's topic: Texas is primed to become the third Big 12 school to serve beer at football games; should other Big 12 schools consider following suit?
Take 1: Jake Trotter – Yes
This also got asked in last week’s mailbag, but as I wrote then, I don’t have a problem with it, as long as it’s done in a responsible manner.
West Virginia reported $750,000 in revenue from beer sales in 2012 and believes allowing sales in the stadium has helped curtail binge drinking prior to games.
Selling beer at football games actually can curb the binge drinking that occurs in the parking lots before and during halftime of games. West Virginia claims it curbed binge drinking once it began serving beer at its football games, while preventing anyone from leaving the stadium during the game to go back to the tailgating area.
By serving beer, West Virginia also reportedly generated $750,000 in alcohol sales during the 2012 season. And while the money was coming in, West Virginia’s alcohol-related incidents decreased.
Last week in Oklahoma City, I was at the Big 12 baseball tournament, which also began selling beer for the first time. There wasn’t even a hint of an incident, at least while I was there.
At college sporting events, people are going to drink, whether that’s tailgating in the parking lot or at the taps in the stadium. But in the stadium, at least the drinking can be managed.
With the concessionaries assuming liability, like they have at West Virginia, there’s very little to lose. But there's a whole lot to gain -- both in the monetary windfall as well as a reduction of the drinking-related problems that can occur outside the stadiums.
Take 2: Brandon Chatmon – No
Here I am to rain on your parade.
Without a doubt, adding alcohol sales to the equation will bring more revenue to Big 12 schools who decide to start selling beer and/or wine in their stadiums. And there are some positives in relation to fan behavior including the ability to monitor sales. Yet, alcohol and college students are always a combustible mixture.
When it comes to adding alcohol sales in Big 12 stadiums, the question is simple: Why change anything?
College football is as popular as ever, the gameday fan experience is second to none and, in this post-realignment world, universities are making more money than they ever have. It’s never easy to turn away additional revenue and some schools, most notably West Virginia and Louisville, have had some success maintaining a terrific atmosphere with alcohol sales in their stadiums.
The main reason to keep alcohol sales out of stadiums is to maintain the current atmosphere. College stadiums should remain as family friendly as possible. Selling alcohol would increase the number of people inside the stadium who have had a drink or two. That’s not to say a drink or two, for most people, will completely change everything about the stadium atmosphere, but it would have an impact.
And the additional revenue, after most schools have seen added millions from TV deals after realignment, isn’t worth the added hassle.