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Penn State May Add Beer to Beaver Stadium Mix

Beaver Stadium during the football game vs. Temple, Sept. 20, 2008

Penn State may start offering beer and wine to fans in Beaver Stadium’s club seats, suites and reception areas, as the school jumps on the trend toward higher-end offerings at NCAA facilities.

Despite public perception, the NCAA doesn’t bar alcoholic beverages at school venues; schools set policies. Traditionally, NCAA schools have been skitterish about offering beer and wine at any venue, for fear that undergrads would be enticed into downing a brew or five before or after a game.

But this is a different age, and those undergrads have been exposed to plenty of beer and wine marketing long before they set foot on campus. And today’s facility design allows adult fans to be segmented from the student sections, making beer and wine sales a much more feasible endeavor. As mentioned, states and schools have all the power over beer and wine in sporting facilities; there was a huge battle in the Minnesota Legislature over beer and wine sales at TCF Bank Stadium for Golden Gopher football games, and a similar debate is taking place at Penn State. But the data indicates that alcohol sales don’t lead to public drunkenness and may in fact lessen issues for colleges. From the Pittsburgh Tribune:

The University of Texas reported $1.8 million in profit in its first year. Maryland said it expects to net $500,000 from sales at football and basketball games this year, and West Virginia University, where alcohol has been sold on a limited basis since 2011, said it makes $500,000 to $600,000 a year selling beer and wine at its 60,000-seat Milan Puskar Stadium.

Mike Fragale, WVU’s associate athletic director for communications, said game days once were plagued by alcohol-related incidents when fans were permitted to leave the stadium at halftime to tailgate.

But the number of incidents has significantly decreased with a ban that now prohibits fans from leaving and re-entering, Fragale said….

Penn State’s plan would be similar to the one in place at the University of Pittsburgh.

E.J. Borghetti, executive associate athletic director for Pitt, said the school limits alcohol sales to the club and suite sections at football games at Heinz Field and at the Petersen Events Center.

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August Publications