Will Game Day Beer Sales Become the Norm?

Will Game Day Beer Sales Become the Norm?
  • Opening Intro -

    Attend most any college football game and the one thing you won’t be able to buy at the concession stand is beer.

    At least not in the majority of stadiums.


Beer sales are typically banned because most college students have yet to reach drinking age. It is far easier to forbid all alcohol sales instead of checking identification to ensure that a patron is at least 21.

Some colleges are embracing beer sales as a way to increase revenue. With the Power Five conferences (i.e., SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac 12) enjoying big crowds and generous TV revenue, those schools on the outside must find ways to stay competitive.

Beer and Football

Alcohol profit margins are high and that is why Troy University, Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas are among 21 schools now allowing alcohol sales at on-campus football stadiums reports ESPN.

Beer and football go together, especially in the NFL. Bud Light is the official beer of the NFL with parent Anheuser-Busch signing a six-year, $1.2 billion pact with professional football in 2011 to promote its star product. A-B replace MillerCoor’s CoorsLight, returning to professional football sponsorship after a 10-year absence.

College football fans haven’t been without beer entirely. Fans may drink in the parking lot before the game, enjoying tailgate parties as they wait for the games to start.

Concession Sales

Concession sales are big money makers for stadiums, especially when alcohol is served. Indeed, half of all sales are from alcohol alone, and a portion of that money schools will pocket in their own stadiums. Typically, schools hire concessionaires, then take a slice of the proceeds. A $5 beer, for instance, may yield about $2 for the school.

Concerns that fans will get rowdy at games where alcohol is dispensed have not panned out. Instead, fans seem less likely to get their buzz before they enter the stadium when beer is available inside. At the University of West Virginia, which began beer sales in 2011, the school has noticed a sharp decrease in alcohol-related incidents. Mountaineer fans are also not allowed to leave the stadium to join ongoing tailgate parties and return while the game is going on.

Impact on Attendance

Serving beer while games are in progress may help boost attendance sales. These days, competition comes from sports bars and fans own widescreen, high-definition television sets at home. Why attend a game where alcohol sales are forbidden when you can drink to your heart’s content when you are at home?

Alcohol sales will be closely watched by those schools that currently do not allow concessionaires to open taps. With athletic facilities being expanded and new stadiums planned, beer revenue just may float struggling budgets further afield.

See AlsoEight is Enough: SEC Dominates AP Preseason Poll


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