For the first time since the 2002 renovation of Soldier Field, the stadium vendors are selling beer to Chicago Bears fans in cans as opposed to pouring the beer in plastic cups.

The trend toward cans has been slowed by concerns that full cans of beer can be hurled from the stands and cause injury, as has been the case in isolated incidents in the NFL and MLB.

But the Bears' adoption of cans has a more positive spin, according to one vendor. "We wanted to bring cans to Soldier Field because they are more environmentally friendly," said Marty Malone, spokesman for supplier MillerCoors. "The cans provide a ready-to-consume and recyclable container, eliminating the need for cups and cutting down significantly on waste."

Industry insiders told the Chicago Sun-Times that a>bout 20,000 cases of beer are sold at the 61,500-seat stadium every year, including at the Bears' 10 preseason and regular season games and at a few concerts. At 24 cans per case, that's 480,000 cans of beer.

 

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.