According to a report by Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, sources close to the University of Texas say the school may start selling beer at sporting events this week with the hope of potentially doing so at football games next fall.
Per Brown's report:
Starting with the Texas-Baylor basketball game Wednesday night, beer sales will be available at Texas baseball and softball games as well as men's and women's basketball games, the source told OB.
The beer sales at UT sporting events this spring, which would include the Texas spring football game on April 19 and the Texas Relays March 26-29, will serve as a "testing of the waters" for football. If all goes well, beer would be sold at Texas football games starting this fall, the source said.
This is not the first time Texas has mulled such a concept. According to Christian Corona of The Daily Texan, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds said that selling beer is something Texas talks about "constantly." It's just never before come to fruition.
Brown's report says that a "soft launch" of beer sales was planned for the Texas-TCU women's basketball game on Tuesday night, but it was canceled by the school after reports of the launch got out beforehand.
According to Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News, sources with the school cautioned that "final university approval has not yet been given," but that sales could begin as early as this week. That falls in line with Brown's report that it would start with the Texas-Baylor basketball game on Wednesday and that Sodexo, the school's caterer, "made a large beer purchase from a local distributorship Monday."
This would be a bold new direction for Texas sports, which is in better shape than most schools but is still struggling with the nationwide attendance issue. Wrote B/R's Michael Felder:
College football, without a doubt, has an attendance issue. The sport, like football in general, is fighting to get customers to the stadiums and to extend the stay of those folks once they arrive. There is a problem with student attendance, and as that is felt, schools have to worry about the next generation of season-ticket buyers.
As always with selling beer at sporting events—especially at the college level—there are practical issues to work around. Alcohol has a way of getting people rowdy, and football has a way of getting people angry.
Rowdy and angry don't always mix.
Texas would likely need to beef up security if it starts serving beer at games, to be more vigilant in stopping fights and other altercations in the crowd.
But money talks louder than mostly everything, and West Virginia—one of two other Big 12 schools, along with Kansas State, that already sells beer at sporting events—generated $520,000 in alcohol revenue during its first season selling beer in 2011, per Carlton's report.
We'll know more once the Texas-Baylor game tips on Wednesday.