by Hope Miller
A few weeks ago I started hearing whispers about the UA applying for a liquor license. And like many undergrads, the thought of being able to by a beer at the Student Union Memorial Center or a football game made me ecstatic.
As it turns out, the university’s liquor license application is a lot less exciting than my peers’ rumors made it out to be. In reality, the UA is only seeking liquor licenses for seven buildings. And these liquor licenses are only being sought because event organizers now have to acquire short-term permits from the state every time they want to host a special event with alcohol. Which I’m sure is an incredibly annoying process.
So I understand the reasoning behind it. The UA wants to be able to serve beer and wine at places like Centennial Hall and the Arizona State Museum without it being a huge ordeal.
But it got me thinking. Attendance at the UA baseball games has shot through the roof since the team relocated off campus and fans can now drink a few brews while they enjoy some baseball. Granted, UA baseball is having a stellar season, but I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that alcohol is now an option for fans. According to a May article from the Arizona Daily Star, the UA leads the PAC-12 in baseball attendance with an average of 2,000 fans per game. When I went to a few baseball games my freshmen year (three years ago) attendance was closer to 200.
So why not sell beer and wine at all sporting events? I understand that the university doesn’t want to be liable for rowdy, intoxicated college students, but it’s not like the majority of us show up to sporting events stone-cold sober. And students “pregaming” for events, in hopes of maintaining their buzz for three to four hours, isn’t that safe. Especially when it’s 100 degrees outside.
Because a CatCard is already necessary for entry into the student section at games, the UA could require a second form of ID for all student alcohol purchases. The university could also keep a tab on how much alcohol a student buys per game to make sure we don’t get devastatingly drunk. And vendors could stop selling booze an hour before a game is expected to end as a precaution against drunk driving.
I can only imagine the amount of money the university could rake in from offering alcohol at sporting events. Us college kids really enjoy our booze, so knowing that we could grab a beer while watching the game would undoubtedly spike attendance. It would also help foster fan appreciation. I have quite a few friends who would probably get off their couches and attend more UA football and basketball games if they knew that they could sip on a Bud Lite while they rooted for their team.
While there are obvious drawbacks, it’s something worth considering and I think the pros outweigh the cons. My tuition hasn’t stop rising since I was admitted to the UA in 2009, so I think it would be an excellent way for the university to draw in some extra revenue.