TSL Poll: Should Virginia Tech Sell Beer in Lane Stadium?

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There’s a movement afoot in college football. More and more college stadiums are doing the previously unthinkable: selling beer at football games.

Over the last decade-plus — arguably starting with ACC expansion in 2003 — there has been an explosion in the practice and perception of college sports as a money machine. Perpetual conference realignment, huge TV contracts, dedicated conference networks, exploding coaches’ salaries and athletic budgets, Cost of Attendance payments … money is being scraped from, and paid to, every corner of college athletics.

Add beer sales to the list. According to this article from the Orlando Sentinel, only six schools sold beer at football games prior to 2008. Since 2008, 17 more schools have joined the list, bringing the total to 23, and there are likely to be more.

West Virginia started selling beer at games in 2011, and according to former WVU AD Oliver Luck, the Mountaineers net about $750,000 a year from beer sales. That’s not chump change. For perspective, Virginia Tech’s Cost of Attendance payments will add about $950,000 per year to VT’s athletic budget, so it’s reasonable to assume that by selling beer, the Hokies could net a similar amount as WVU and have a new revenue stream that would nearly pay for Cost of Attendance in full.

The issue is complex. Here are a couple of recent articles about beer sales in college stadiums, and you can Google “beer at college football stadiums” to turn up many more articles to read.

Beer sales at football games will be a new challenge to [Texas] administrators – The Daily Texan, June 21st, 2015

Beer sales on rise at college football games, but UCF slow to join movement – The Orlando Sentinel, June 20th, 2015

For some personal perspective, TSL poster Tailgate Guru, who has been attending WVU games for many years, gives his impressions of how beer sales have altered WVU’s game environment:

Here’s what happens when you sell beer at a college football game – Tailgate Guru, June 16, 2015

To our knowledge, Virginia Tech is not considering selling beer at football games, but with beer sales on the rise as detailed above, we wonder if the question isn’t far off for the Hokie athletic brain trust.

You can read as much as you want on the topic, or as little as you want. Either way, the question is simple: should Virginia Tech sell beer in Lane Stadium?

Should Virginia Tech sell beer at football games?

  • Yes (40%, 708 Votes)
  • No (50%, 884 Votes)
  • Not sure / Don't know / It depends (10%, 169 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,761

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40 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. If there was someway to control the beer drinkers from making complete ??? of themselves? I believe if they were taken out of the stadium by POLICE when they are reported, then I am
    for it? I believe everyone should be able to make money anyway they can, with proper controls!
    I have been going to football games in Old Miles, and Lane Stadium since the fifties, and I have seen some bad actors at some games, and don’t see how they made it to the stadium. I saw
    TECH play USC in DC stadium a few years back, what a mess, I don’t think they controls
    that very good, when I got out of that game, I smelled like I had been throw in barrel of
    beer! I don’t believe that the stadium police were ready for that many colleges drinkers,
    the smell that they left behind from the BLEACH they used to clean up the mess was worst
    then the beer.

    Go Hokies

    Go Hokies

  2. I feel like alcohol is already brought in. This is a way to reduce the amount of contraband brought in and increase revenue for the stadium. Whether I have a coke mixed with bourbon spilled on me or a full beer spilled on me…I’m not sure I really care. I’d rather VT Athletics get some revenue out of it if something will be spilled on me.

  3. I work with an Ole Miss grad and not sure whether they sell beer at their games, but they have a set up where you can buy or rent a small locker under the bleachers and can store alcohol and mixers and access it as you wish during the game (plastic cups and ice provided). Can’t take glass bottles out of the locker room area, but you can enter and mix drinks and return to your seats. They price it toward the alumni (a few hundred dollars a season) and to the point about slamming down drinks before entering the stadium, this largely eliminates that with the knowledge you can visit your locker during the game.

  4. CSU fans are “mellow”. Imagine that. Does the school sell marijuana at the games too?

    1. Maybe not a bad idea at some stadiums…would keep the drunken idiots from ruining gameday

  5. I wouldn’t want beer served in the stadium as I would be afraid it would be Bud light or other crappy beer. Many of the Major League ballparks do not offer decent beer. Though at Croke Park last year for the PSU / UCF game they had Guinness; which was quite good.

    I’d rather just tailgate with my favorite beer with my favorite nosh and enjoy the game with my friends a nice coke (no bourbon).

  6. Does anyone read prior posts before posting? Half the comments in the immediately preceeding posts were addressed in mine at 12:11 pm. Are you drinking while you post?! C’mon, man!

  7. Yes x 100. We’ll do it eventually anyway, so we might as well get in quick to get the competitive advantage while we can. Let’s say we hold off 10 years, and still ultimately do it, we’re losing $10MM rev on what essentially is only a delay. The VT athletic dept needs ALL of the competitive advantages it can get, and this one is the low hanging fruit.

    If you vote anything but “Yes” it shows your clear lack of perspective and realistic vision of the future.

  8. I have enjoyed attending Hokie football games for 30 plus years, owned 6 season tickets for 20 years, am a top 10% Hokie Club supporter and travel across the entire state to see the games. If anyone thinks I do this to have inebriated, foul mouth fans ruin my family’s Lane Stadium experience, then please step up your contributions to the program so you can purchase my tickets. The moment beer is sold inside Lane, my seats will be available and I will never attend another game there. I hesitate to speak for other major supporters, but strongly suspect that many others would take the same position. So, rather than generate a few hundred thousand dollars in annual revenue from beer sales to satisfy a few casual fans, perhaps some of you thirsty “fans” could help the AD recruit several thousand more major supporters to replace the millions of dollars that will be lost when we stop supporting the program.

    I apologize to most of you good Hokies and TSLers who frequent this site for these strong comments. But, VT is not WVU and never will be. Nor is it Pro Sports. If Hokies have to resort to beer sales to sustain a competitive program, then we should just resign ourselves to mediocrity. The way to a better and more prosperous program is winning! Then support will increase and contributions will rise significantly. I’ll say it again: we Hokies need to focus on WINNING, then everything else will take care of itself!

    Let’s Go Hokies! See you in Lane September 7th.

    1. I agree; the day beer is sold in Lane Stadium it will be my last football game in B’burg.

    2. Way back during the Jerry Claiborne days, I invited my parents to a home game against Alabama. The individual sitting behind my Mom, ‘dumped’ most of an alcoholic drink on my Mom’s brand new coat. I changed seats with my ‘gal’ in an attempt to put an end to this idiotic behavior. The message got across ‘loud & clear’, in that the ‘cap’ went back on the bottle. However, I have often wondered what would have happened if this ‘tipsy’ individual had decided to continue on with the offensive behavior. The humor here is the fact that my ‘nemesis’ was a petite Virginia Tech adult FEMALE fan. Please don’t ask me what I would have done next ? To be honest, I felt like a ‘dumb-arse’, but my level of irritation was off the charts. If the woman’s husband had made any ‘catty’ remarks, our two families would have probably received ‘virile’ recognition. All of this because an ADULT gal had to have a

  9. My take….having alcohol be illegal in the stands doesn’t prevent people from being drunk or from drinking. Yeah, I agree to that….but having it be illegal DOES encourage them to be subtle. To try and hide it. IMO, that’s a good thing. It doesn’t particularly stop the sloppy drunks, but someone who sneaks in a flask or a few airplane bottles doesn’t want to call attention to themselves by being an ahole because they’ll get turned in. They’ll be careful spiking their drinks (therefore not spilling on other people).

    I’d rather not see it. I’ve been to a number of pro games, and at every one, the crowd DOES and HAS gotten much sloppier than I’ve ever seen at a VT game….with the possible exception of Boise State at FedEx….and that was a game where (surprise!! but a small sample) they sold beer.

  10. People who want to drink are already drinking, the entire game. You are naive if you think they aren’t. Unless they strip search everyone before they enter Lane, this practice will continue. If anything I believe less people will binge drink before they go into the game so you could easily see fewer drunks at the game. Plus, everyone handles beer far better than bourbon. If they want to appease the non alcohol fans then maybe they only sell beer on east side of the stadium.

    They could also pass a rule that on the west side you have to sit down the entire time unless it’s a 3rd or 4th down play & our defense is on the field. All other times you need to be seated as much as possible. I would not have a problem if they passed that rule for the entire stadium since we seem to have a few inconsiderate idiots that want to make fans stand the entire game.

    1. So, according to you, the people who want to drink are already drinking. On what academic study did you base this opinion? Are you trying to tell me that everyone who wants to drink is already drinking in the stadium? I can name you a ton of people who would like to drink but respect the game and the setting enough not to do so.

      1. But the ton of people you mention are the falling down drunks who are in the stadium now. Those ton of folks who you know and respect the game enough not to bring their own, but would drink a beer or two are the people who would not abuse beer drinking in the stadium.

        Also, the price that would be charged for a Bud, or the “upscale” Michelob precludes getting drunk. At least it would me. I don’t have deep enough pockets to support getting wasted at the game at those prices.

        Now, for those wondering, selling beer in the stadium will not move my meter one way or the other. I drink very little before games, don’t drink at all during the game. And that wouldn’t change with in stadium beer sales. The prime reason is I’m there to watch a game. If I’m so drunk I can’t remember the game, why go in the first place. That way now, and that way nearly 5 decades ago when I was a student.

  11. Should Virginia Tech sell beer at football games?
    should Virginia Tech sell beer in Lane Stadium?

    To me these could be separate questions.

  12. Athletes are getting cost of attendance pay….each VT student should be given two beers for free at each home game.

    Seriously, I’m in favor of beer sales, alcohol is being smuggled in anyway, VT might as well make a profit from alcohol consumption at games.

  13. No, no and no. And if I was not clear, No. This is the most idiotic idea that I have heard in centuries. We already have people who have drunk too much by the time they get into the stadium. What are we going to do, let them get drunker? We already have enough people who have been fueled by alcohol and engage in insulting, profane and crude language and behavior. Good Lord help us from adding to the issue. I am no stranger to a good drink, but I have sat in the stadium and listened to drunken jackwagons use the crudest of language and act in the most belligerent of ways, to the point that the game experience was horribly affected, for me and many others sitting around me. No, no and no.

    1. ^ ^ ^ what he said in spades ^ ^ ^ and

      a) enduring middle-aged drunks hitting on teenagers and early college coeds in sections 35 and 37 was unwanted by the young ladies and was distracting from the game.
      b) do we want a family atmosphere or to (1) have our kids exposed to alcohol, (2) the resultant behavior of those who can’t discipline themselves – think “WVU-Morgantown posts” we’ve all seen here on TSL and elsewhere, (3) fights and threats of fights in stadium and on way to/in the parking lots, and (4) its ads on speaker/on scoreboard/aisle vendors/below the stands (you know they’ll push it using every Lane-Worsham media possible). and
      c) my parents had liquor spilled all over their seats,overcoats and shoes from inebriateds behind them and had to choose to stand above it or leave a sold-out VT game.

      no thanks.
      it’s bad enough already.
      if VT ever does so, i’ll be less likely to purchase tickets and therefore not attend.

  14. The truly dedicated drinkers will always find a way to smuggle in some booze and get sloshed no matter what, but they’re a relatively small percentage of the overall crowd. As for the rest, to me there’s an obvious difference between a crowd that’s had a few belts in the parking lot before the game and one that’s swilling beer all game long. The biggest reason I stopped going to Redskin games more than a decade ago was the obnoxious behavior from so many clearly inebriated fans- particularly since my son was young and very impressionable at the time. If it costs VT $1 million per year NOT to be like the worst crowd in college football up in Morgantown, then it’s well worth it!

    1. This is spot-on. I have gone to dozens of Skins’ games but would NEVER take my kids. Drunk fans all over the place (not a small minority) acting rowdy, staggering, cussing and some puking. With that said, the pro game attracts a different crowd than the college game.

  15. I’ll say this…I went to WVU stadium this fall for the WVU/Oklahoma game. I saw no issues with beer sales in the stadium. To be honest, I thought it lessened people’s overall drunkedness. The thing is – no one was absolutely pounding alcohol before going into the stadium; they knew they could have more inside. Sure they were drinking, but not the last minute surge which is what often puts people over the edge. With watching the game and it being expensive, people werent going to town on alcohol inside either. Everything was pretty civil in that regard. I thought it would be crazy, but it wasnt. It changed my mind, I think it would be fine to sell beer at college stadiums.

  16. I think it’s ridiculous to point to the behavior of WVU fans as any indication of the impact of selling beer. You could sell VALIUM at WVU games, and they’d still behave like cavemen…that’s who they are!!

  17. We live in the greater Syracuse area – and attend a couple of football and basketball games each season (depending on Tech’s schedule, and which team we can cheer on to beat SU). The beer sales is a huge distraction to the fan experience. Granted almost anything can be better than watching SU football try to play, but basketball is a different story.

    We have season tickets at VT. It is a 10-12 hour drive (depending on road construction). We are at Lane Stadium for the game. To cheer the players on. To visit with family and friends before and afterwards. There is little room to navigate in Lane Stadium aisles when you are the first person in the row much less after adding the entire complement of fans for that row.

    Most stadiums that sell beer will not put a top on the cup – that means more of it to slosh on the folks in that aisle and the one below while the beer purchaser trying to inch back to the assigned seat. And slosh it does. More beer equates to more trips to the bathroom. For us folks who came to watch the game – the constant shifting to let someone by while missing “THE play” of the game – it translates into incredible aggravation. I feel guilty about disturbing my neighbors if I have to leave even at halftime.

    We’ve also been to games in Atlanta (college bowls and pro), DC (college), and Buffalo (pro). Invariably a person in the row behind is puking down the back of someone in our group. Not Fun.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against alcohol served at tailgates. I do believe in moderation and time/place. Inside the stadium is not the time or the place to be drunk or to get drunk. If drinking is the reason someone came to the game – stay home or at the tailgate.

  18. I think you mad an error in this statement… ” it’s reasonable to assume that by selling beer, the Hokies could net a similar amount as WVU. There is NO WAY we can drink as much as the folks from Morgantown.

    1. Speak for yourself 🙂

      But I voted “no” because I think it would hurt the game atmosphere. Too many people in line getting beer and not making noise.

  19. We attended the Wake Forest game last year and thought they had a good concept. It was basically a beer garden and you were limited to 3 drinks.

  20. I’ve been to college games here in Colorado where they sold beer. It isn’t pretty. Not only do you have college students making poor choices (drinking too much, fights, spilling beer on others, etc.), by selling beer, you also remove the social stigma of drinking at games – and yes, that stigma exists, even as many kids sneak in booze. They drink, but they hide it, and are more careful about it, than they will be at a game that sells beer. I sat in the end zone at a CU vs. CSU game at Mile high a few years back and have never attended a game there since. It was out of control. I saw multiplefights, people falling on bleachers, beer spilled on others who weren’t drinking, heard swearing from clearly drunk students, etc. I’d never take my kids there. It’s not worth it to sell beer at games. IF VT does, the crowd will change.

      1. That gets cited a lot here when the issue comes up at CU and other campuses. I have been to a couple of CSU home games as well, but they haven’t been a very good team for the most part, and as a fan base they are pretty mellow, and those games were maybe at best half full. I didn’t witness any drunken carrying on there.

  21. With all due respect to Whit Babcock’s WVU background, they are an obnoxious and disrespectful group of fans, beer in that stadium has probably turned it from bad to worse. VT should never try to pattern itself after WVU.

  22. I’m not sure what to think.

    Pros
    – It is a good way to raise money
    – Folks are bringing in alcohol anyway…why not sell it?

    Cons
    – Chris Coleman mentioned it during his radio interview and I hadn’t thought about it. It could really impact the atmosphere at key moments of the game if folks are in line to get another round

    1. questions regarding your two Pros:

      #1 — is it (selling beer) really a good way to raise money? please look at the collateral damage done during and after the game: staggering and drifting below stands and in aisles, spillage, lack of judgment and courtesy, additional inappropriate language, fights, increased security personnel, cleaning up, car accidents in parking lots and on the highway home, etc. :: no one has ever really done a complete profit/cost effect study (most i’ve read only hit the high points); and there are intangibles that are hard to measure: loss of families attending with young children, behavior reputation in town/community, PR if major problems erupt (our luck we’d have a major alcohol-related incident during game/post-game that gets splashed around on national TV). reputation can be “priceless,” to quote an advertisement. bottom lineS do you really make that much, if anything?

      #2 — folks are bringing in other contraband – i.e. umbrellas, video cameras, pocket knives, e-cigarettes, selfie sticks, foods not available at concessions – should we try and make a profit and sell those items, also? i’m not being cynical; know preceding is an old argument methodology.
      but on a Saturday for 5 to 6 hours is profit our 1st, 2nd, even 4th priority or is it having an enthusiastic game experience and competitive entertainment for person’s of all ages (safely while minimizing threats and inconveniences as reasonably as possible)?

      just raising some of the overlooked details and consequences for discussion

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