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Published November 17, 2016
In an effort to generate new revenues and enhance the fan experience, the University of Wyoming will serve beer and wine at football and basketball games beginning in fall 2017.
The UW Board of Trustees today (Thursday) approved the plan forwarded by the Department of Athletics, with tight controls on alcohol sales and strong safety provisions. Those include strict age verification, beverage sale limits, prohibition of re-entry to the stadium and arena, and cutoff times for purchase of beverages.
“Our aim is to create a more entertaining game atmosphere to encourage fan attendance while providing a safer, more controlled environment for fans who wish to purchase beer or wine beverages while attending UW events,” Director of Athletics Tom Burman says. “This will result in an important new revenue stream for UW Athletics at a time of declining budgets, and it will put us in line with many of our fellow universities in the Mountain West Conference and across the country.”
Under the plan, beer and wine will be sold at UW football games in War Memorial Stadium and men’s and women’s basketball games in the Arena-Auditorium. The Department of Athletics will use a bid process to select a vendor or vendors to sell the beverages, with UW and the vendors receiving negotiated percentages of post-sales-tax revenues. Conservative estimates peg UW’s revenues at $290,000 annually.
Other MWC schools where beer is sold at athletic events are Colorado State University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Nevada, the University of New Mexico, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and San Diego State University. Across the country, increasing numbers of institutions are following suit, largely in response to fan expectations.
At some of those schools, officials report that controlled alcohol sales have reduced crime and other problems associated with binge drinking. That’s because fans are less likely to consume large quantities of alcohol before games outside of stadiums, when they can purchase beer and wine inside stadiums during games. Also, fewer fans enter stadiums with concealed liquor.
“We are committed to doing this right, with a controlled and monitored environment that promotes responsible drinking, following the best practices at other institutions,” Burman says. “We also believe there is potential for this change to increase fan attendance, overall concessions revenue and, perhaps, corporate sponsorships, as has been the case at other schools.”
The university will work with vendors to determine the number of sales locations for beer and wine at both War Memorial Stadium and the Arena-Auditorium, with eight to 12 such stations envisioned at football games and four at basketball games.
Among the control and safety measures that are planned:
-- Age verification will be strictly enforced, with wristbands or hand stamps allowing police and security officers to easily verify who is eligible to drink and who is not.
-- Beer and wine sales will end at the conclusion of the third quarter at football games and midway through the second half of basketball games.
-- Open containers will not be permitted in parking lots after games begin.
-- A “no re-entry” policy will be established for the stadium and the arena. The only people allowed to re-enter after leaving will be those previously authorized for purposes such as retrieving medicine, coats, blankets or cellphones from their vehicles.
-- Vendors will limit each patron to two beer or wine beverages per transaction, and they will not serve anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
-- Those selling beer and wine will be trained under the Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) program.