On Feb. 28, the University began a trial period of selling beer and wine at spring sporting events. During the trial period the University, UTPD and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the policy in order to decide whether or not to sell alcohol at fall sporting events, including football at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
“We could look into expanding it for other sports events next fall provided the outcome of the trial is positive,” said Athletic Director Steven Peterson.
Drinking while watching sports is part of American culture, and the change in UT’s policy is both welcome and smart — it generates revenue for the University while bettering the fan experience and encouraging safe drinking.
Allowing beer and wine sales at games could reduce the amount of tailgating, pre-gaming and binge drinking that occurs before the games even start. When the purchase of alcohol is prohibited, it forces an individual who wants to drink to consume excessive amounts to hold them off during the duration of the game. It is no secret that many fans are intoxicated before they hit the stands.
Undeclared sophomore David Lessenberry, who just retired from the U.S. Navy after 26 years, supports the idea of alcohol being sold at sporting events.
“People want to complain about the venues selling beer,” Lessenberry said. “But then they think it is OK to sit in the parking lot and get tanked before a game. Very hypocritical.”
I’ve attended multiple football games. Whether the venues sell alcohol or not, there will always be students and other patrons who will pre-game and tailgate prior to attending sporting events. It would be unrealistic and impractical to have a sober environment at any college sporting event.
Ultimately, selling alcohol will allow those who would rather not pre-game or tailgate a chance to drink at the game and promote fan retention after halftime when many leave the venue to drink and don’t return for the last two quarters. If UT sold beer at the football games, it would become the third Big 12 school to do so, after Iowa State and West Virginia.
According to a Bloomberg report in 2011, West Virginia generated $700,000 in revenue from alcohol sales. It seems that the sale of beer would bring just as much revenue to UT.
Any increase in criminal or disruptive behavior should be monitored by the police to see whether there are adverse effects before making the sales permanent. But, given the many benefits of expanding beer sales, it’s hard to believe that the University will come to any conclusion other than that the sales should continue into the fall.
Gil is a sociology sophomore from San Antonio.