The New York Times reports on the growth of alcohol sales at college football games to help ticket sales.
One reason: Attendance is dropping. (See empty seats in Little Rock and Fayetteville even when hope was sky-high for this year’s Razorback football team.) I’d guess the rise in ticket prices and the glut of TV games has something to do with that.
So: Let’s party! It certainly works to get people out to the fairways surrounding War Memorial Stadium, if not always into the stadium itself. (No booze at War Memorial, but at Razorback Stadium, drinks are available in “club” seating and “indoor dining” areas, as well as luxury boxes.
The difference nationally is that several big schools are taking beer into the cheap — make that cheaper — seats.
Now more colleges appear headed in West Virginia’s direction. Before this season, Texas and Maryland announced that they would join a roster of programs in the so-called Big 5 conferences that sell beer at games, a list that also includes Minnesota, Colorado, Wake Forest, Miami, Syracuse and Louisville. (The Southeastern Conference prohibits its members from selling alcohol to the general public.)
People are conflicted about it. Beer. College students. Touchdowns. What could go wrong? Or maybe not.
Yet a recent paper published in the Journal of Sports Economics “found no evidence” that selling beer at football games affected attendance or revenue.
Many colleges that sell alcohol at games contend that doing so discourages binge drinking by allowing fans to pace themselves. West Virginia’s campus police department reported sharp declines in incident reports and arrests on home football Saturdays from 2010 to 2014.
Here’s my thought: If Hog Athletic Director Jeff Long decides expanded alcohol sales will boost revenue sufficiently, there will be expanded alcohol sales.