SBD/March 19, 2014/Colleges

SMU Officials Say Beer Sales At Basketball Games Have Caused Few Problems

SMU has seen attendance rise at Moody Coliseum with the team's on-court success
Dallas police and SMU officials said that they have seen "little negative impact" from the school's decision to begin "selling beer at basketball games," according to Melissa Repko of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Police said that there has been "no drunken revelry, major alcohol offenses or noise complaints" since the policy was implemented at Moody Coliseum in January. SMU Senior Associate AD/PR & Marketing Brad Sutton said that the "only noticeable change is a jump in the number of fans -- but that has more to do with the winning season than the beer sales." The school did not release alcohol sales figures. SMU Police Chief Rick Shafer said that beer sales "went off without a hitch except for longer concession lines." He added that just one person was "cited for an alcohol-related offense." University Park and Highland Park police said that they "saw no change in alcohol-related offenses" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/19).

HEY, BARTENDER: SPORTS ON EARTH's Colin McGowan wrote the "ongoing debate about whether or not to sell alcohol at sporting events on college campuses has picked up over the past five years." It is "easy to see why the issue itself is hard to breach, from a public relations perspective: All that higher learning, looking out for the kids stuff is difficult to reconcile with providing them with $9 beers." West Virginia Univ. started selling beer at football games in '11, and part of AD Oliver Luck’s argument was that he "believes adults should be able to make their own decisions." But he also claimed that it would "increase in-stadium civility." The Univ. of Minnesota, which started selling beer and wine at games in '12, "managed to lose money that first year, but that was due primarily to one-time startup costs and an inequitable contract with their beverage vendor." UM during the '13 season "made upwards of $180,000 in profits and had a decrease in alcohol-related incidents" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 3/18).
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