What’s the SEC’s problem with beer?

A few tidbits from this David Ching piece:

  • “Truth be told, most SEC programs already allow alcohol in their stadiums, just not for the common folks in the general seating areas.”
  • “… 50 college football programs – 36 with on-campus stadiums and another 14 that play off campus – sell beer throughout their stadiums. And even the stodgy NCAA recently removed its restrictions on alcohol sales at championship events, following a pilot program that started with stadium-wide sales at the College World Series for baseball and the Women’s College World Series in softball.”
  • “… the SEC remains as the only major conference that refuses to allow its member institutions to formulate their own policies on the matter, and there is some reason to doubt that alcohol sales proponents will be able to muster the necessary majority vote of SEC presidents and chancellors to end the ban.”

David ponders the reasons why.  Bible Belt morality is an obvious guess, but perhaps too facile, as most SEC programs allow for alcohol consumption in the luxury booths.  “Southern politics and reasonable concerns over fan safety”?  Well, let’s not forget we’ve seen more than one state legislature poised to allow guns inside college stadiums, only to be pulled back by SEC displeasure.

Then, there’s this one, which, admittedly, I’ve never thought about.

… there are also economic factors in play.

Some SEC schools are either unwilling or unable to do a cannonball into the booze pool, and that affects their leaders’ opinions on the matter. But for those who are willing, there is often a nifty revenue stream available to tap.

For instance, Texas generated more than $3 million in each of the last two football seasons with alcohol sales, netting $1.3 million of the annual totals after expenses. And that doesn’t even include the approximately $5 million Texas will rake in annually thanks to sponsorships with MillerCoors and Corona.

Ohio State made $1,231,280 in net revenue off alcohol sales last fall, up from $1,166,497 in 2016, its debut season with stadium-wide sales.

The earnings are more modest at smaller programs – Purdue reported $550,000 in gross sales last fall in football and another $241,701 from men’s basketball season, its first school year with stadium-wide sales – but the overriding point is clear: Alcohol can be a big moneymaker, and college athletics programs are rapidly warming to the possibilities.

Profitability may be part of the problem for the SEC’s alcohol-sales proponents, however.

At a school like LSU, where in-state colleges like Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane already sell alcohol at sporting events, the state’s festive culture and warm weather indicate that beer sales would be a massive success. Athletic director Joe Alleva has long been one of the conference’s most vocal proponents of lifting the conference-wide ban on alcohol sales. The school has already experimented with beer gardens at sporting events and sells alcohol at football games in premium areas like its Skyline Club, Stadium Club and suites.

Beer and wine sales figures from the 2016 College World Series showed 430 drinks sold per 1,000 fans, and it would be reasonable to expect LSU to at least match those numbers. Were that to be the case, LSU would have made approximately $3.4 million in alcohol sales in 2017 from football, men’s basketball and baseball games alone (with 1,137,124 in reported attendance and $7 per drink purchase).

But in a conference where member schools share TV and postseason revenue, some within the league might view alcohol sales as a potentially unfair advantage for the big programs who sell. Obviously the schools who shun alcohol sales would receive no additional revenue, and even if the smaller programs made the attempt, they likely would rake in only a fraction of the money.

Take Vanderbilt, for example. The Commodores reported 489,019 in combined attendance between football, men’s basketball and baseball in 2017 – about 50,000 greater than LSU’s baseball attendance alone. Operating by the same sales assumptions as above, Vandy would have generated approximately $1.5 million in sales in 2017 if alcohol had been on its concessions menu. Kentucky would have generated roughly $2.6 million based upon its 856,346 in reported attendance from the three sports.

While it might seem petty to quibble over a couple million bucks when your school boasts a $100 million athletic budget, this is the SEC we’re talking about. A conference opponent potentially gaining any sort of competitive advantage is sure to bring out the claws.  [Emphasis added.]

The SEC, where booze sales just mean more.

19 Comments

Filed under I'll Drink To That, SEC Football

19 responses to “What’s the SEC’s problem with beer?

  1. Russ

    How much did tOSU make on cooler sales? All those fans have to crap somewhere.

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  2. Greg

    Love a beer or two to go along with my Dawgs. Personally, wished they had it, but just some guesses here:

    1) some can’t handle the emotions of a game & alcohol. Probably some concerns about any kind incidents, liability and etc. Can’t imagine that along with guns being allowed to be brought in.

    2) probably too hard to monitor if someone has had too much to drink (liability). Also the risk of serving the underaged.

    3) people up and down taking a piss ever 10 minutes or so, too hard for the non-pissers to enjoy the game.

    With all that, not sure that I would want the responsibility if it were me. Wonder how much some of these schools are profiting once all is said and done. Pretty sure it has nothing to do with the “Bible belt”…but who knows. Plenty still sneak alcohol in anyway. Again, personally….I would like to see it at the games.

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    • “Non Pissers”………..LMFAO!!! I hate those people

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      • Erk's Forehead

        Then there is the fourth possibility: The Redneck Factor. We are unique in the crazy brand of fan that shows up in our SEC stadiums. While these borderline white trash fans only make up approximately 15% of most fanbases (Alabama probably sits at 85%), if you fill them with enough alcohol, they will be an obscene embarrassment. I guess this could be filed under “fan safety” mentioned above. I was thinking more “conference embarrassment”. Think Talladega in our stands.

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  3. HiAltDawg

    At first glance I figure: cost of upgrading facilities + hiring competent concessions > revenue stream from beer sell.

    That being said I’m still lucky as a middle-aged man, I can last a whole game not needing to leave my seat for fluids going in or out, lol; and went to get a Chick Fil A a couple seasons ago and decided I was never moving during a game again

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    • Greg

      Probably some of that too. I just do not see it at all as a “Bible Belt” thing. Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of any dry counties in the south. 20-30 years ago, there were a few.

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      • PTC DAWG

        They are around…

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        • Greg

          when I said “dry”, I was thinking of beer also. Just did a quick search and there are 11 dry counties in Georgia (159 total counties), counties that can’t sell “distilled spirits” (liquor). I believe all counties now sell beer unless what I read was wrong.

          Which was my point about the Bible Belt and beer being served/sold in stadiums. It is already being sold all over.

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      • Borodawg

        Bulloch County is dry.

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      • Henry County is, although there are a couple of towns with ordinances that somehow get around it

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      • The North Georgia mountains are still pretty backward. Believe me.

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  4. DoubleDawg1318

    I refuse to pay $7 for a Coors Light or some other cheap beer, and I want to watch the game rather than miss plays taking a leak, so I don’t care about the alcohol issue at all. I won’t be buying regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Got Cowdog

    Even if they sold it I’d still sneak it in.

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    • PTC DAWG

      You sneak in BEER? Turkey 101 I get….

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      • Monker

        I sneak in a beer to every game. Drink it during the first quarter. Just put it in the waistline at the small of my back. Though at my age there isn’t much sneaking. Somewhat offended how little attention they pay to old guys like myself.

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        • Uglydawg

          Did that with one of those chemical warmers once. It fell down and lodged in my crotch and cooked the backside of my SOS. A beer would be bulkier but more pleasant.
          Why hasn’t a beer company started using the pouches like fruit drinks come in? They would pack much more handily than a bottle or can. Maybe the pouch isn’t strong enough for the carbonation pressure. If it leaked, it would look like you were a closet pisser.

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  6. Otto

    it will likely eventually get approved by the SEC as the revenue will eventually make it possible. However, I hope it doesn’t. I

    have had many more instances of drunks being annoying, barfing or falling into the next row bruising a child at neutral site games than in a SEC stadium which includes visits to half the SEC, WLOCP, Iron Bowl, Tiger Bowl at both stadiums, SECCG, BCS CG, Chickfila Kick off game, and the playoff game in the Dome. Only once have had a problem with a drunk in a on campus stadium and that was Tennessee….. I also consider myself a beer enthusiast and enjoy brewery tours.

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  7. 79Dawg

    You’d think a guy writing an article for Forbes would be able to distinguish between revenue/sales and PROFIT. Unless you’re Jeff Bezos (apparently), absolute revenue is of little value as a single, stand-alone metric…

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  8. 92 grad

    The sec is waiting for a willing distributor to set up a business plan that pays the alcohol rights conference-wide. One customer to one vendor. That’s the way they will guarantee themselves the largest profits. The vendor might even run it at a loss but the conference won’t.

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