The home of Nebraska football has changed quite a bit lately. Memorial Stadium recently had a facelift, there’s reportedly going to be better WIFI this season and music geared more towards today’s youth. A final change needs to be made.
Beer should be sold in Memorial Stadium. I know, gasp if you must. The days of smuggling in a flask or some long necks becoming a thing of the past? Why the very notion!
Hear me out. This isn’t a matter of profit. Let’s look to the University of Minnesota and how their experiment with suds has gone.
The University of Minnesota lost almost $16,000 last year on alcohol sales at home football games, despite selling more than $900,000 worth of beer and wine.
The school released the figures to the Associated Press after a records request, which showed it incurred significant expenses from its first season selling alcohol stadium-wide at TCF Bank Stadium.
Those include hiring additional police and security officers, setting up tents and other facilities, and equipment rental. Roughly half of its revenues went directly to Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., which had the contract to sell beer and wine.
The booze itself cost the university about $180,000. – Kyle Potter, Associated Press
Now it really doesn’t sound like it’s about profit, does it? Potter goes on:
About $30,000 of the school’s expenses were one-time costs to prepare the stadium — from setting up ATMs to buying plants. That means if Gopher football fans buy as much booze in 2013 as they did last season, the school stands to pull in about $15,000 in profits.
Okay, so it turns out that some cash can yet be made, but as I said, that ain’t the point here. So what is?
The fan experience. Yes, the same reason the WIFI’s being cranked up, the same reason the music’s being brought into this century.
A hypothetical scenario for you (and this’ll hit close to home for some): You’re down in Lincoln for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Tailgating commenced quite some time ago. You’ve had your Bloody Mary (or two), your longnecks (plural) and you’ve got a good buzz going on.
You don’t harbor ill will towards anyone nor are strangers rapidly becoming your best friend, but you’re even more amped for the game thanks to Sweet Lady Hooch.
Said ampedness is taken with you to your seat, but by about the end of the first quarter, the buzz is…well, dying. Here’s the part where people usually scream about someone taking to the concession stand to slam beers left and right, getting out of control, throwing a punch at Lil Red and eventually getting “escorted” out by Johnny Law.
How many beers would one slam if they cost say…five bucks each? By that point, between tickets, any tailgate items, memorabilia, snacks, pop and now beer, you’re tapped (pardon the pun).
Now that we have that established, just how long would said alcohol be available? If we measure the aforementioned buzz’s decline towards the end of the first quarter, having the opportunity to get it back by the beginning of the second half should be sufficient. Second half starts, you’d best have your beer if you want it.
Buzz continues, you’re loud into the third and fourth quarter. Nebraska wins, you’re happy, you have time to sober up and presto!
Let’s address that hole in the student section. You want to talk about people who ache to keep a buzz going, hello students of the University of Nebraska. Welcome to a Memorial Stadium that serves beer so you don’t have to leave anywhere near as early.
Can we please not pretend a good chunk of students wouldn’t hang around if they could get a beer (or three)?
Fans talk about wanting a rowdy student section. I’m not advocating a drunken throng of kids, but at least give ‘em a reason to stick around and be the raucous horde that’s been demanded.
On the topic of those students, let’s remember that out of the entirety of Memorial Stadium, if anyone’s going to smuggle in hard alcohol, it’ll be them. It’s not a knock, I’m not judging, it is what it is. The problem is that hard alcohol makes it much easier to dehydrate and pass out during hot games.
I’m not naive enough to think that having the opportunity to purchase beer at the venue would eliminate that, but I have to believe the temptation goes down and who knows? Maybe some lives are saved. I like to be an optimist when I can.
Okay, so there’s booze in Memorial Stadium. What happens when those few bad apples get antsy and have to be dealt with? Going back to Potter:
…McGinnis said the university learned from its first year of alcohol sales and will make tweaks and cuts to boost profits for the 2013 football season. That could mean swapping kegged beer for bottles and cans and reducing staff, police and security.
The school brought on 12 additional police officers and 12 other security employees to deal with any drinking-related problems — costing the school an extra $47,000. McGinnis said they “erred on the side of safety.”
Long story short: yes, there would be a need for additional security because…well, duh. I’m not saying this is a foolproof system. However, with some proper tweaking between prices, when alcohol is sold during the game and so forth, Memorial Stadium doesn’t have to be dry, nor should it be.
Oh, and this is coming from a guy who doesn’t drink.
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