People may be able to drink in a beer garden at University of Minnesota football games, according to this story from the Minnesota Daily.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will sign a bill passed by the state House that includes a provision to allow the sale of alcohol in suites for premium ticket holders and in a beer garden for the general public.
The University opted for an alcohol-free policy and suffered large revenue losses from the lack of alcohol in premium seats, athletics director Joel Maturi said. Because the University couldn’t sell alcohol, suite leasers were offered either a 10-percent discount per year or a 20-percent discount over the length of the lease, athletics spokesman Garry Bowman previously told the Minnesota Daily.
The fat cats in the suites get their various alcoholic beverages, and the hoi polloi can herd in a beer garden. But the important thing is, more income for the Gophers to help pay off their 3-year-old TCF Bank Stadium.
So … a desperate act by a program that doesn’t have the football fan base of many other Big Ten members, none of whom sell alcohol in their stadiums? Yes.
But is it a sign of things to come in college football? I wouldn’t be stunned. How it must grind athletic administrators to see all the alcohol that is consumed on university grounds, with the only profits coming to the schools coming from whatever nickel-and-dime containers they collect after the crowds have gone home.
I don’t think what Minnesota is about to do will become a fad in Big Ten land. There are still Boards of Regents and university administrators who think alcohol and college property shouldn’t necessarily go together.
But there was a time when college football stadiums and arenas were virtually advertisement-free. Now, good luck finding a commercial-free timeout at a college football or basketball game.
Iowa has the alcohol/football thing covered. The people in the luxury suites have access to it. Which, of course, helps keep those suites sold. Everyone else must do their drinking outside the stadium gates.
However, if the Hawkeyes ever have a few losing seasons in a row and ticket sales drop?
Northern Iowa Athletic Director Troy Dannen spoke candidly about beer sales at college football games in this story on the subject:
Dan Fogelberg wrote this:
The story is told of the
Power of gold
And its lure on the unsuspecting
It glitters and shines
It badgers and blinds
And constantly needs protecting.
Balance the cost of the soul you lost
With the dreams you lightly sold
Are you under
The power of gold?