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Volume 26 No. 4

Colleges

Sales of alcohol are up 30% over last year at Autzen Stadium, though expenses have also risen
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Univ. of Oregon is now allowing beer sales inside Autzen Stadium, and sales are "going up” since the start of the season, while the number of fans ejected during football games is "going down," according to Jackie Garrity of Eugene-based KVAL-CBS. UO Senior Associate AD/Facilities, Events & Operations Mike Duncan said the school opened up alcohol sales to a "much wider area of the stadium just because that’s what fans were asking for.” Duncan said sales are up about 30% "over last year," but noted the school's "expenses are up also.” Garrity noted UO has had to "increase their alcohol monitors from 30 last year to 130 this year on top of other expenses.” Duncan said UO has "seen a decrease in the number of ejections at games,” down about 50%. UO's goal is to keep fans at Autzen Stadium "safe and happy." UO is unaware “how much money the university brings in from the alcohol sales from Autzen," but all of that money "goes right back into the athletic department” (KPIC.com, 10/1).

FOLLOW THE MONEY: In N.Y., Marc Tracy noted broad alcohol sales are "still relatively new to college football," but in the last few years, several major programs have "started selling beer to all legal guests." West Virginia was a "pioneer among major-conference teams." Recently, the likes of Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Ohio State and Purdue have "followed suit." This pattern is "partly a straightforward play for revenue." But selling beer is "more broadly seen as a way to persuade fans who own high-definition televisions and comprehensive cable packages" to attend games. The SEC, though, has a "ban on general-admission alcohol sales." Several SEC schools, including Auburn and Texas A&M, have "opened limited spaces" at football stadiums or ballparks for "fans who wish to pay a small premium to purchase alcohol." SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said, “That’s consistent with our policy. It’s more available; it’s not available throughout the stadium” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29).

Even with one of its better teams this season, UNLV crowds haven't yet topped 15,000 in '18

UNLV football is "committed to moving" to the Raiders' new 65,000-seat stadium when it is completed, and the school is "going all in that this is the right move for the short- and long-term health of a program that has teetered between critical and serious condition for many years," according to Mark Anderson of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. UNLV’s run of losing seasons, "interrupted by brief bowl appearances, has soured and chased away fans." Even with one of its better teams this season, announced crowds for the first two home games "didn’t crack 15,000." The school used to "draw relatively large crowds for the more notable games." Four of the "top five average home crowds" occurred in the '00s, and the other was in '81. UNLV has not "attracted average crowds of more than 20,000" since '11. Moving to the new Raiders stadium is "part of the sell to fans and recruits that the program is progressing." So is the Fertitta Football Complex, which is "under construction adjacent to the Rebel Park practice fields and scheduled to open next spring." However, UNLV is still "fund-raising to make up" an approximate $5M "deficit to finish the interior of the second floor." What was supposed to be a "recruiting advantage" with the $31M building "very well could be used against UNLV until the money comes through." UNLV AD Desiree Reed-Francois said, "We’re going to build to the money that we have. The good thing is that we have the foundation" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/2).