Tuesday, August 28, 2012
UT Arlington Latest Beer-Selling Athletic Program
Beginning with a volleyball match last Thursday against Savannah State, the University of Texas at Arlington has become the latest college to sell beer at sporting events.|
“We want people to come to our games,” Gregg Elkin, UTA’s senior associate athletic director for external relations, told the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth. “Beer sales at sporting events are a pretty common thing.”
It’s still fairly rare at the college level. According to CBSSports.com, only 21 FBS football programs sell beer at their games, and only 11 of those do so in on-campus, university-owned stadiums.
UTA doesn’t sponsor football, but will instead make beer available at volleyball and basketball events held at the $78 million College Park Center, where Aramark holds the concessions contract. (The new policy does not impact UTA’s softball and baseball complex, which is outside of Aramark’s purview.) UTA’s share of proceeds on sales of $6 and $7 beers will go toward the new arena’s operating costs.
All arena concessions stands will offer beer, though several alcohol management controls will be in place, including checking the identification of any customer who appears to be 40 years old or younger, selling no more than two beers per customer per visit, and stopping all sales midway through volleyball matches and at the beginning of the second half of basketball games.
Elkin said the idea is for fans to enjoy beer in a “safe and responsible manner.” West Virginia University, which began selling beer at home football games last season, found that its goal of reducing unruly fan behavior (often the result of excessive tailgating) was realized.
In addition to arena beer sales, UTA has established a designated tailgating area for fans. UTA student body president Jennifer Fox, who doesn’t drink alcohol, told Star-Telegram writer Diane Smith, “I do understand the game day experience and hope that both of these new policies will encourage more attendance and school spirit at games.”