One phrase that you will now be able to say at Rutgers football home games and other athletic events beginning this fall is “Beer Me!”. Rutgers athletics announced on Wednesday that they will now be selling beer and wine at venues they manage in general seating locations including HighPoint.com Stadium, the RAC, Yurcak Field, as well as at baseball and softball games.
“This decision was the result of a year-long review of the experience and data from across the college landscape,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “Universities have seen a dramatic drop in alcohol related incidents on game day by providing a controlled environment for beer and wine sales. We will work closely with RUPD to achieve similar results at Rutgers.”
The press release stated that the decision to offer beer and wine at athletic events was fully vetted the Rutgers University Senate. It was fully supported by a Senate group comprised of faculty, students, staff, administrators and alumni.
”Data from peer institutions shows a correlation between a decrease in alcohol-related incidents when a venue provides a controlled environment for beer and wine sales,” said Rutgers University Chief of Police Kenneth Cop. “The RUPD will continue to be vigorous in working with Rutgers Athletics to promote public safety at athletic events and expects attendees to respect all applicable laws to ensure a safe and enjoyable game day experience.”
“This is part of a broader effort to improve the overall fan experience in the years ahead, from concessions to apparel sales,” said Hobbs. “We want our venues to be the destination for our fans here in New Jersey and across the New York metropolitan area.”
Rutgers joins fellow Big Ten institutions Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue that sell alcohol in general seating areas. Also from the press release was that a peer review found that “51 of the 129 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs allowed in-stadium alcohol sales to the general public.” Make that 52 now!
The revenue generated from alcohol sales will “serve to off-set scholarship costs, which support the State University of New Jersey’s more than 600 student-athletes and exceed $16 million annually.”
The hope is that serving alcohol at games moving forward will help to increase ticket and concession sales as well. The recommendation to sell alcohol was made last month in the CSS report that the university had commissioned to help develop a fiscally responsible plan to move the athletic department to becoming more competitive in the Big Ten.
Credit athletic director Pat Hobbs and University President Robert Barchi for making a decision that will certainly please most fans, while also creating another revenue stream, something that is sorely needed as Rutgers works to reduce its athletic subsidy.
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