SBD/Issue 235/Facilities & Venues

City Decides To Sell Beer At Univ. Of Memphis Football Games

Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Believes
Beer Sales Would Net The City $200,000
The city of Memphis yesterday announced that beer "will flow this football season" at Univ. of Memphis (UM) home games in a "move to reduce anticipated operating losses at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium," according to Marlon Morgan of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The stadium -- which the city recently spent $5M to upgrade -- was "projected to lose $261,000 in general operating costs." Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Jack Sammons said that the sale of beer "would net the city $200,000, helping to reduce that deficit." Sammons: "We're in a hole and we're trying to dig our way out." UM AD R.C. Johnson said that he "understands why city officials are selling beer," but he is "not sure the estimates of netting $200,000 are realistic." Johnson: "Football is built so much around tailgating, and getting there early. ... I think if it was the cure-all for everything, most schools would do it, and not all schools do do it." Tennessee State Univ., which plays home games at LP Field, is the only other school in Tennessee to "play in a stadium where beer is sold." In Conference USA, the Univ. of Houston and Tulane Univ. are the "only other schools serving beer." Johnson: "My preference, certainly, would be not to have it at football because of tailgating, and also the length of the game." Sammons said that the city has "taken the necessary precautions to prepare for beer sales, which will begin with the Tigers' Sept. 6 season opener against Ole Miss." Sammons said that security "will be substantially increased." Beer "will be sold in clear, plastic cups, and sales will be cut off at the end of the third quarter." UM "will get no revenue from alcohol sales" at the stadium (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/25).

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