General Alcohol Sales Paying Early Dividends For Oregon Football
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).