Jimmy’s blog: UT alcohol sales should net over $1 million in revenues

By Jimmy Hyams

As expected, Tennessee announced today it would sell beer and wine at home football games this fall.

The initial game with alcohol sales will be Sept. 7 against Brigham Young.

The SEC cleared the way for alcohol sales at the most recent SEC Spring Meetings in June. UT is the sixth SEC school to announce it would sell alcohol at football games, joining Vanderbilt, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU.

Although Tennessee will turn a profit, don’t expect it to be an exceedingly high windfall. Tennessee officials do not expect to raise more than one percent of the overall athletic department budget.

For example, Texas netted $1.3 million in alcohol sales at football games in 2017. UT’s budget is about $140 million.

West Virginia made $520,000 in 2012, its first year of alcohol sales, and $600,000 last year. Ohio State made $412,000 in its first three games of last year. Texas made $1.1 million in 2015.

What isn’t known is how much of a decline those schools saw in soft drinks and water sales.

What is known is that the most common beer sale will be $12 for 24 ounces, with some other options.

All beer will be poured into cups and sales will begin two hours before kickoff and stop at the end of the third quarter.

West Virginia and Oregon reported fewer alcohol-related instances in the stands since those two schools sold beer and wine at football games. It supposedly cut down on the binge drinking that led to altercations, in some instances, within 15 minutes of fans entering the game.

Tennessee experimented with alcohol sales at the Aug. 3 Alice Cooper concert at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The good: Fewer people smuggled airplane size alcohol bottles into TBA.

The bad: Lines were longer at the bathrooms.

The good: Fewer people tried to flush those smaller alcohol bottles into toilets, which led to toilet repairs.

The bad: Lines were longer at the bathrooms.

The good: Cleanup was easier since soft drinks unfinished were not as prevalent and the beer in cups was mostly consumed.

Tennessee elected to not sell alcohol at the opener Aug. 31 against Georgia State, instead using that game to send educational messages to fans.

“Beginning alcohol sales isn’t tied to the beginning of the season,’’ Tyra Haag, UT spokesperson, said in a response to an email. “It’s about implementing sales in a thoughtful manner.

“The season opener is an opportunity to educate and communicate important information to close to 100,000 fans before implementation. There will be educational messaging to the public and students ahead of the Sept. 7 game as well.’’

It is not known at this time the split between UT and provider Amarak for alcohol sales.

It will also be interesting to see the difference in alcohol sales when Tennessee is winning v. losing.

Or on a hot day v. a mild or cool day.

Or at an SEC game v. a non-SEC game.

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