Minnesota Football: Golden Gophers Open to Beer Sales Revenue Stream

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterMarch 30, 2012

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Falcons fans enjoy the sunshine and beer during the Aviva Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and London Irish at Kingston Park on February 18, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Last year, it was West Virginia getting the green light to sell beer at Milan Puskar Stadium. This year, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are exploring the same move.

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the state Senate approved the measure, and now the beer is one step closer to flowing at TCF Bank Stadium. For one of two schools in the Big Ten to report zero net income, the addition of beer sales could help in the endless quest for dollars that is college sports.

At West Virginia, the Mountaineers saw a spike in concession sales thanks to beer—not just from beer revenue, but the entire concession sales increased markedly in Morgantown. Beer helps keep folks in the stadium; it helps get folks spending money, and once they start spending money, they throw the hot dog, the nachos, the popcorn or the pretzel on their tab.

If you've ever stood in line at a stadium, you know that just getting "a beer" is such a waste; get other stuff, too.

Rutgers joins Minnesota as the two latest schools making the push for the 2012 season, according to the New York Daily News' Dick Weiss. There is one major reason: cash. So many times, here at Your Best 11, the same theme comes up: Cash is king in college football.

This is just another instance where that point resonates across the collegiate landscape. While many schools with on-campus stadiums still prohibit beer sales at those stadiums, we're slowly seeing universities opt for the sale of alcohol in their venues.

It is a slow trickle now, but as the numbers come in and schools see another way to squeeze cash out of their fans and their program, we should get ready to see it become more commonplace.

Quite honestly, it is not a bad idea.

It will not draw enough revenue to save an athletic department, but the extra cash is not something to sneeze at. For those folks steadfastly against it, there are a couple of different arguments, none of which are truly brilliant.

The idea that universities should not be in the business of selling alcohol would be a great stance to take—except that universities have been stocking their luxury suites with beer, wine and liquor for quite some time now. 

Another of the more popular arguments is in regard to safety at the stadium and underage drinking. I'm going to do my best to not overexpose myself here, but I'm assuming that we've all been to college football games. The major problem with drinking comes well before the game starts, not from in-stadium consumption—be it legal or illegal.

Those guys carrying their frat brother out of the stadium because he just threw up on a sorority girl aren't doing that because of the mini-bottle of bourbon he drank; they're carrying him because of the kegstands, beer pong, shots and the like that he did before he entered the stadium.

Underage drinking is a legitimate concern, and that's where checking IDs is a must, as is security. The same security guards who often bust kids for pouring their mini-bottles or flasks during a game will have to monitor the ages of those consuming alcohol.

Simply put, security is going to have to do its job. 

Drinking is going to go on in stadiums all over the country. Selling it at the stadium, while ramping up security checks for illegal alcohol consumption, is a great way to make sure the fans are buying it from the stadium and not the liquor store.

A little more coin in the pocket, in today's day and age of college football, is something all universities are looking to have.