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Texas officials approve beer and wine sales at football games


Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The average Texas Longhorns fans will finally have the ability to purchase beer or wine at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium this fall after officials approved the move.

Horns247 first reported the news, which was quickly confirmed by other outlets just before the school issued an official release.

When new UT-Austin president Greg Fenves took office, he expressed his support for the move after the outgoing system chancellor tabled the decision last summer, despite the fact that there were no issues at basketball, baseball, or softball games during the 2013-14 season following the introduction of beer and wine sales at those events.

After another year without any significant events to argue against the decision, Texas fans will no longer have to sneak in flasks or risk losing their buzz.

"Fan safety and enjoyment remains our number one priority as we work through the process of expanding beer and wine sales into all seating areas of the stadium," said Texas Men's Athletics Director Steve Patterson. "During our extensive pilot, we found fans and staff handled the situation responsibly and we had no negative issues or situations. We will continue to monitor the service closely.

"We are expanding what we already do, in an effort to be more inclusive of all fans. Texas Athletics and Sodexo have vended these beverages in football private suites and club areas for several years without incident," Patterson added.

Two schools in the Big 12 already allow alcohol sales at athletics events -- West Virginia and Iowa State. Perhaps because of the connections between athletic director Oliver Luck and Texas, the Mountaineers have always received more publicity surrounding alcohol sales.

In 2012, West Virginia made $520,000 from alcohol sales at their events, a number that could perhaps double for the Longhorns since there would be other sports involved and the fact that Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium has a significantly larger capacity.

The bigger concerns surround post-game drunk driving and the possibility for high levels of intoxication, especially at football games, where some sections of the stadium are known for having a consistently high level of intoxicated fans who are disruptive and have to leave the game, some times because they need medical attention.

And researchers at Virginia Tech found that during pre-game tailgating festivities before football games, one-third of those who intended to drive after the game were already legally intoxicated.

A poll from 2013 when former athletics director DeLoss Dodds first mentioned the possibility of such sales revealed that 63% of BON readers supported the sale of alcohol at games and doing so at football games could get fans into their seats earlier because they wouldn't have to drink that last beer out at tailgates and get them back in their seats more quickly following halftime because there wouldn't be a need to hit up the University of Texas Club in the stadium.

Now it's finally happening. The next question? Will there be local offerings in addition to ubiquitous major brands that are typically sold at sporting events?