Walk through the tailgate area at a college football stadium, and beer drinking is as common a sight as fans adorned in jerseys of their favorite players.
A growing number of schools are bringing the party inside, opening taps in concourses that traditionally have been alcohol-free zones.
>> Seriously? You're following all those Twitter accounts but not @buckeyextra? Go ahead and move to Michigan while you're at it.
North Texas, Southern Methodist and Troy will begin beer sales to the general public this season. They’re among 21 on-campus football stadiums where any fan of legal age can grab a brew. That’s more than twice as many as five years ago.
Most schools continue to keep alcohol restricted to premium seating areas, if they allow it at all. But offering alcohol is increasingly attractive for some campuses, especially for cash-strapped athletic departments that are looking for ways to draw fans to their stadiums.
They are also encouraged by the schools that were among the first to sell alcohol and didn’t report an increase in bad behavior from fans.
“Every institution is looking at how they can increase revenue streams, and alcohol is one of those,” said Jeff Schemmel, president of the consulting firm College Sports Solutions LLC.
There are 11 municipal stadiums where Football Bowl Subdivision teams are tenants and alcohol is available to the general public. The municipality usually keeps most, if not all, of the alcohol proceeds.
According to an Associated Press survey of the 21 beer-selling schools that own and operate their stadiums, about half their concessions revenue is derived from alcohol.
Troy athletic director John Hartwell estimated beer would bring his school about $200,000 in commissions this season. According to its contract with concessionaire Sodexo, Troy will receive 43 percent of gross beer sales at its 30,000-seat stadium, or better than $2 for every $5 beer.
“That’s more impactful to a bottom line for a Troy than it is for a Texas or West Virginia or institutions similar to that,” said Hartwell, whose program runs on a $20 million budget. Alcohol proceeds will be used to pay debt on a $25 million expansion of Troy’s football facilities.
The Big 12’s West Virginia, with a budget of more than $80 million, began beer sales in 2011 in part to counter a problem with drunken fans coming and going from tailgate parties during games. Fans no longer are allowed to re-enter the stadium once they leave.
Beer sales have produced at least $516,000 each of the past three years for West Virginia, and campus police report alcohol-related incidents at Mountaineer Field have declined sharply.
Junior Tanner McEvoy has won the starting quarterback spot at Wisconsin, three sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. … Dorial Green-Beckham will not be allowed to play for Oklahoma this season after the NCAA denied the school’s request for a waiver that would have made the receiver eligible. Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma after being dismissed by Missouri in April.