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Volume 26 No. 65
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Alabama AD: SEC Schools Want Ability To Increase Alcohol Sales

Some schools found that allowing in-stadium alcohol sales actually decreased alcohol-related incidents

The SEC currently limits alcohol sales at football games to premium seating areas, but Alabama AD Greg Byrne said some schools are "pushing for basically the autonomy" to individually decide on selling beer and wine throughout the full stadium. Byrne appeared on Birmingham's WJOX-FM on Tuesday and said the conference members should be able to "decide what you want to do rather than have it be what you do collectively as a league." Byrne: "I know there are institutions that would like to be able to say, 'Hey, let it be our decision about what we do.'" He cited studies from Texas and West Virginia -- two schools that allow alcohol sales throughout their stadiums -- as stating that alcohol-rated in-game incidents "have actually gone down because the amount of binge drinking that occurs before people come into the stadium has decreased." Byrne: "It's important that we look and see what is working well across the country for everything and say maybe that's something we want to bring to ... our venues" ("The Roundtable," WJOX-FM, 4/10).

THE QUEST TO GET FANS BACK: Attendance in college football continues to decline, and The Athletic's Stewart Mandel noted there is a "lot of angst out there about the college gameday experience and why (fans are) just going to sit home and watch it on TV now.” He said while the price of tickets was not cited as one of the “common reasons" for fans not attending, other reasons included games taking "so long." There also were issues with networks waiting "until the last minute to tell you what time the game is going to kickoff” and complaints about “games that start too late and games that start too early.” He said there were a "lot of examples of the school just taking it for granted that they can keep raising the price or moving your parking spot or making the tailgating more restrictive and you’ll just keep coming back.” Mandel: “People are starting to revolt.” SI's Bruce Feldman said one factor is “how uncomfortable the seats are in the stadium” compared to the “creature comforts you can get at home for a game.” Mandel said the “hardest thing to figure out” is why student attendance to games is declining. He said, "If you can’t get students engaged at a time when college is literally the epicenter of their lives, then chances are they’re not going to be very engaged and wanting to donate money as alums.” Feldman noted he was not sure attendance would increase even after new rules were enacted that "sped up the games." However, Mandel disputed that, saying, "Changing some rules to shorten the length of the games might help (“The Audible,”, 4/11).