Momentum builds for more alcohol at games


The key words are current or currently.

Last week, Levy, a food and beverage vendor that has the new contract for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's athletic events, applied for a permit to sell alcohol at some of the Razorbacks' events.

In the UA's comments, it was said there are "no current plans" to expand beyond Baum Stadium (baseball), Walton Arena (basketball) and Barnhill Arena (gymnastics and volleyball).

Currently, the SEC does not allow the sale of alcohol at its member schools, so expect that rule to be heavily discussed and then changed in the near future, maybe as soon as June at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told The Advocate in Baton Rouge that he expects a review of the policy.

Expect the vote to be unanimous. No one wants to be the person to tell Alabama, LSU and Florida fans they had the opportunity to have a cold beer at the game and the school voted against it.

The 9,000 fans who sit in the club seats at Reynolds Razorback Stadium have been able to buy beer or wine since 2014, because those are considered "private club" seating. There doesn't appear to have been any extra arrests at Arkansas football games due to alcohol consumption, although there was a professor told to leave the game for yelling at Bret Bielema. The dude was inebriated, and he wasn't in the club seating.

The 63,000 other fans -- OK, it isn't that high; some suite holders have been bringing in their own for years -- are left high and dry from the time they leave their tailgate until they get back there.

Beer sales in the club area and the new requests to sell alcohol are paving the way to selling beer and wine at Razorbacks football games

However, the objections and concerns the UA had to allowing fans to bring guns to the game had little to do with getting that law changed. Maybe they were concerned they'd have to allow umbrellas, too.

Every college in America is looking for ways to generate new revenue.

Across the country, 34 schools already sell beer, including wealthy schools such as Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, UConn and Syracuse.

The first year Razorbacks fans in club seats could buy beer and wine, they spent $234,918. Sodexo paid the UA $26,126, and if you haven't been around long the reason the UA has a vendor instead of operating concessions themselves is because several years ago when the UA ran the concessions, an employee stole more than $700,000.

Much of that was in coins. The story was she'd bring a wheel barrow full of nickels, dimes and quarters into the bank and walk out with a lot of folding money. It seems someone should have gotten curious about it, but that's water under the bridge.

One reason colleges and universities are concerned about more revenue is the Millennials apparently aren't inclined to buy tickets. They are buying bigger and better TVs, and if it rains they don't go because they can't use their cellphones.

All SEC schools are doing well financially, but the worry is about the future.

Having all games televised sounds great, but sitting through those long TV timeouts on your sofa is a lot more comfortable than on an aluminum bench.

In the future, expect the Alcohol Beverage Control to approve it; the SEC to decide it is up to the schools to decide whether they want to sell alcohol; and shortly after that for everyone with enough money -- there will be no happy hour prices -- to have an adult beverage at the ballgame.

Sports on 05/17/2017

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