University of Toledo football fans guzzled nearly $120,000 in beer and wine at home games this season as they watched the Rockets win their way to a Mid-American Conference championship.
That’s twice as much in gross sales than in 2013, the first year the university offered alcohol for purchase at the Glass Bowl.
“From our standpoint, any time we can do things to enhance the fan experience, the better it is,” Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke said. “The fans want to come out, have a good time, and enjoy a beverage responsibly at the games.”
UT takes home a portion of the overall revenue based on a commission agreement with its vendor. This season the university profited $35,632 from beer and wine sales, while it took home $32,249 in 2016.
The university used a different vendor for the 2015, 2014, and 2013 seasons and as of Tuesday evening had not provided net revenue figures for those years. All profits go into the athletic department’s $28.6 million operating budget.
“Anything we can do to raise extra revenue for our program today is a good thing,” Mr. Nottke said.
Bowling Green State University brought in $53,737 in gross alcohol sales at the Doyt Perry Stadium this season, up from last year’s gross of $46,203 but significantly down from $87,710 in 2015. The Falcons won the Mid-American Conference championship in 2015 and played UT at home in 2015, which may have contributed to higher home game attendance and alcohol sales, Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger said.
BGSU keeps 30 percent of the stadium’s gross sales, per an agreement with its vendor. This year, that means just over $16,000 will go into the athletic department’s $23 million operating budget. It’s not a huge moneymaker, but Mr. Moosbrugger said the option to purchase alcohol is something fans have come to expect at home football games.
Universities across the country have started selling beer to entice fans into the stadium rather than lose them to a bar or have them stay at home.
“They can sit at home and have an adult beverage at their house and watch it on TV, but we want them to come to our game and be part of the atmosphere,” Mr. Moosbrugger said. “Our fans have said for years that having beer and wine sales is an important part of their fan experience.”
BGSU has offered alcohol for purchase at its football games since 2008. University spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said BGSU, like UT, already allowed tailgating in the parking lot before games, but offering alcohol for sale inside the stadium is more easily monitored.
“We’d rather have it inside where we can see it and make sure that it’s being sold and distributed properly versus outside in the parking lot,” he said.
Both UT and BGSU officials said there are practices in place to encourage responsible drinking. Alcohol is only served to those 21 and older, and game attendees can only buy two drinks at a time.
Beers at both institutions cost between $6 and $7.50. Last call is at the end of the third quarter.
“We haven’t had a lot of problems, and before we did it we had a lot of folks involved, including campus police and student affairs, and we really talked through all these things and put measures in place to make sure we can do it in a responsible way,” Mr. Nottke said.
Since 2013, 13 people have been arrested at the Glass Bowl during home football games while three have been arrested at the Doyt Perry Stadium, according to data from both institutions.
UT also offers beer and wine at men’s and women’s basketball games. Those gross sales totaled just under $23,000 last year. For BGSU, gross alcohol sales at basketball games totaled $7,400 last year and sales from hockey games came in just under $52,000.
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