Why SEC Football Teams Should Sell Beer at Football Games

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Why SEC Football Teams Should Sell Beer at Football Games
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College football, and spectator sports in general, are constantly fighting the battle against 70" flat screens, 11-step commutes to the bathroom and the lure of the La-Z-Boy.

What could help SEC stadiums keep fans in the seats rather than in their man caves?

Beer. Lots and lots of beer.

According to Glenn Guilbeau of USA Today, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva hopes that the SEC will lift its rule prohibiting member institutions from selling beer at athletic events in general seating areas.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
LSU head coach Les Miles

"As we talk about the fan experience, which is very important, I think there may come a day that we may sell beer at college events at LSU," Alleva said on Monday, according to Guilbeau. "I think at some point—I don't know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now—but I think at some point, I think it's going to happen."

Sound risky?

Of course it does.

Allowing alcohol sales in football stadiums in the SEC will, in theory, increase drunken behavior, something that colleges and private security firms work against at every stadium in the conference.

But let's be real, if you're an athletics director, you'd rather fans have access to beer or wine legally within the stadium than have them sneak hard liquor in, which happens everywhere. 

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Sure, the liability would be huge, and you'd have to pay more for added security and insurance. But the end result would be a safer and more fan-friendly game experience.

West Virginia started selling beer inside Milan Puskar Stadium in 2011, and the number of game-day arrests dropped by 35 percent, according to the WVU police department (via Freakonomics).

Selling alcohol in the stadium will discourage fans from breaking the rules and bringing in the harder stuff. Adding more security would also create a safer environment.

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There could be a financial benefit too.

Should SEC schools be allowed to sell beer and wine in public areas of on-campus stadiums?

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According to the Associated Press (via The Charleston Gazette), West Virginia made nearly $520,000 off beer and wine sales in its first season selling. The University of Minnesota also recently allowed beer and wine sales at TCF Bank Stadium. Despite losing $16,000 in its first season selling in 2012, it spent $30,000 in startup costs, according to Kyle Potter of the Associated Press (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press)

It should happen in the SEC, which is reviewing its alcohol policy for neutral-site games this spring, according to AL.com.

Or, at the very least, athletic departments should have the option to sell if they feel like it's a good move for the fans and for the bottom line.

It would be a win-win. It'd help keep those bottom lines healthy and fans would be more willing to not only come to games but stay inside the stadium rather than hitting the tailgates early. 

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. 


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