Ohio Stadium Beer Sales Top $1.1M in First Year

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Copyright 2016 The Columbus Dispatch
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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)


Beer sales at Ohio State home football games proved to be a hit the first year out -- probably not surprising, given the devotion to tailgating among thousands of Buckeyes fans.

University officials said this week that sales topped $1.1 million for the season, at $8 to $9 per beer. A limited test of beer sales was made the previous season. The wide rollout appears to have gone smoothly despite some initial concerns, as OSU officials report they actually experienced fewer problems with fans at games this year than in previous years.

A portion of the money from beer sales goes to concessions vendor Levy Restaurants. OSU's take goes to the athletic department, which directs it to safety initiatives "including four additional police officers, increased security at football games and funding for the (OSU) center for alcohol and substance abuse," said university spokesman Benjamin Johnson in a statement.

Johnson said Levy Restaurants will be "completing a full review in early 2017" of how alcohol sales went and will consider possible changes for next year's season.

Alcohol already is sold at athletic events at the Schottenstein Center, including OSU basketball and hockey games.

College football stadiums that permit alcohol sales still are in the minority, but now number about four dozen nationally, according to a June report from Cleveland's Fox Channel 8 TV station.

Some are uneasy about alcohol being sold at a university where half or more of students are under the age of 21 and therefore legally prohibited from drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been a vocal opponent of alcohol sales at college sporting events.

But shifting attitudes and the success of such sales at some schools are leading others to start alcohol sales.

CBS Sports reported this year that the University of Texas made about $1.8 million in alcohol sales last season; West Virginia University made about $600,000. Both sell both beer and wine.

Former NCAA administrator Chuck Neinas, who was against beer sales at college events as far back as the 1960s, told CBS Sports: "For (goodness) sake, it's legal to buy pot in Colorado," highlighting that times have changed quite a bit.

Some have contended such decisions are based on money.

OSU athletic director Gene Smith said last year that "the revenue part is important to the institution" in its decision to open up alcohol sales. But university officials emphasized that they weighed the issue carefully, did a limited test first and have put more resources toward safety and security as a result of alcohol sales.

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December 8, 2016


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