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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

KU bringing beer, wine sales to masses at football games this fall

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

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New head coach Les Miles won’t be the only new attraction coming to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium this fall.

University of Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Wednesday that fans attending KU home games now will be able to buy beer and wine, beginning with the Jayhawks’ Aug. 31 season opener versus Indiana State.

With the introduction of widely available alcoholic beverages, Kansas Athletics also will no longer allow fans to re-enter the stadium once they leave it. So the days of ticket holders retreating to their tailgate spots for a halftime round before heading back in for the second half are through.

Beer and wine sales will conclude at the end of the third quarter.

“Fans have told us that one of the best ways to enhance their experience at Kansas Athletics events is for them to have the ability to enjoy beer and wine,” Long stated in a release, “and we are pleased to provide this opportunity.”

Reached by the Journal-World to gauge whether this move might indicate a similar one is soon coming to Allen Fieldhouse for KU men’s basketball games, Long indicated through a spokesperson that no such decision has been reached.

“The fan experience in Allen Fieldhouse is the best in the country,” Long said. “Beer and wine will continue to be available in selected private spaces in the fieldhouse, but we haven’t yet made a determination about expanding that to the concession stands.”

For many years, alcohol has been permitted in suites at the stadium, and more recently beer and wine became available to fans in premium-seating areas, such as KU’s Touchdown Club, behind the south end zone.

In the buildup to this decision, for the past two years KU also tested out beer and wine sales at concession stands at home baseball, softball and soccer games.

“That program has been very successful,” Long said, “and with the support and collaboration of on-campus entities, we are now prepared to expand it.”

According to KU, earlier this year Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Interim Provost Carl Lejuez spoke with various campus leaders to study the possibility of bringing alcohol sales to KU football games. The committee they formed, per KU, included leaders from the offices of the provost, Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research, public safety, student affairs, administration and finance, faculty development, compliance, public affairs, human resources, general counsel and athletics.

With the new policy, KU becomes the sixth Big 12 school to make beer and wine available for purchase on football game days. The others are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas and Texas Tech.

Earlier this year, the SEC announced it would allow alcohol sales at each of its stadiums, and the NCAA greenlit alcohol sales at NCAA Championship events.

Nationally, approximately 50 FBS programs sell alcoholic beverages at their home football games.

“Our research,” Long said, “and that of others indicates that not only does alcohol availability promote attendance and improve the game-day experience for fans, it has the potential to reduce alcohol-related incidents in and around the venue.”

The alcohol sales at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will be managed by Centerplate, Kansas Athletics’ concessionaire. Long said KU will collaborate with the company to serve alcohol responsibly and “to provide a safe environment while providing a superior customer experience.” Long added that those who sell the beverages will be required to take training on intervention procedures.

Comments

Bee Bee 3 months ago

How could anything go wrong with this? So much for a family environment. Anything for a buck, I guess.

Jay Scott 3 months ago

.....because nobody has ever thought of having family friendly, no alcohol areas in a football stadium....or does someone drinking 100 yards away bother you that much?

David Gordon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

It doesn't bother me that they are drinking 100 yards away from me Jay. It bothers me that they're driving on the same highway as me after the game!

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

Should help with revenue - and we need it. Long is definitely not sleeping on the job. He seems like a man on a mission. I don’t know that I’ve seen this much action related to KU football in a decade.

Brian Skelly 3 months ago

The University of Louisville is one of the only -- if not the only -- BASKETBALL program that generates more revenue the KUs. This is for one reason and one reason only. They get a significant portion (if not all) of the concessions revenue from their home games. They've been selling alcohol and beer at games for years.

There's no real reason to do it for Football and to not do it for Basketball games. Unless the powers that be just don't want to do it that way.

But that is money being left on the table.

Josh Galler 3 months ago

The only beer they should sell are Lawrence KS beer. Freestate LBC BlackStag Yankeetank and 23rd street and Eudora own wakarusa brewing no Miller lite no nat light no bud. Only the good beer. Maybe sprinkle in boulevard and some of the KC craft beer.

Jay Scott 3 months ago

In a ranking of classic fascist ignorance the only worse offense than dictating what beer is "good" to others is the ultimate sin of telling others what music they should listen to.

Brett McCabe 3 months ago

Josh, that would be great, though I’m not holding my breath. What a great way to feature local businesses and drive revenue to them!

Dane Pratt 3 months ago

Why not. Alcohol has been flowing through Memorial Stadium for decades. Might as well cash in on it.

Jeff Kallmeyer 3 months ago

I totally disagree with not allowing fans to tailgate at halftime, what is this, prison? Definitely a violation of fans' rights!

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