Alcohol sales to begin at UB Stadium for first time

UB Bulls Football open season vs Robert Morris

Mike Baggerman
August 29, 2019 - 3:00 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - UB Stadium will begin alcohol sales at concession stands for the first time on Thursday as the University at Buffalo Bulls football team open up their season against Robert Morris at 7 p.m.

Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said the decision to sell alcohol, which was made last November and featured a trial run of sorts at Alumni Arena during basketball games, was made after discussions with school administrators.

"Several folks came up to me about the gameday environment and how they enjoy the family-fun atmosphere, but there was something," he said. "Obviously, as I do now, you want to listen. There were several of our season ticket holders and donors who said 'Wouldn't it be great to have beer sales at our venue?'."

After studies that compared how beer sales are done nationally and in the MAC, all the reports were positive, according to Alnutt. They received the green-light to go forward with the process last May. He said this year is a pilot program for the football team.

When beer sales began over the winter with basketball, Alnutt reported no issues. Still, with thousands of fans expected to attend football games, especially now that beer sales are available on the concourse, Alnutt said the campus is prepared for any potential problems with any fans.

"There's one area on each concourse...One on the east and one on the west," he said. "We will start sales obviously when the gates open to the stadium. Fans are limited very similarly to basketball, two beverages at a time. We would then cut sales off by the end of the third quarter."

Alnutt said they will put their "best foot forward" to ensure no students are illegally drinking. ID's will be checked.

While most teams in the FBS do not allow beer sales, teams are trending towards the direction of allowing it. The Carrier Dome in Syracuse has sold beer since opening in 1980, according to DailyOrange.com, but before 2008, only six schools sold beer during games. Alnutt said that out of 129 FBS schools, around 80 serve alcohol in public areas. 

"I believe what really kicked this off is the NCAA," Alnutt said. "NCAA for a long time had a policy of not serving alcohol at their championship events. They started a pilot program two years ago to see if that would change the environment and atmosphere of the games. It didn't so they lifted that pilot program and they serve alcohol at their championship events."

Some schools, such as Clemson University in South Carolina, do not offer alcohol sales. The school has not had discussions about changing that policy.

There are no plans to expand alcohol sales at UB sports beyond men's and women's basketball and football.

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