BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU athletic department is “aggressively working” to bring beer sales to Tiger Stadium for the 2017 football season, per an article in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.
Of course, the SEC bans the sale of alcoholic beverages in non-club-level seating in member stadiums, so LSU will face an uphill battle in getting this approved.
But even if this proposal does get approved, it really won’t change a thing about game days in Tiger Stadium.
All right, football purists, before you flood to the comments section to post about how Tiger Stadium is perfect and doesn’t need any changes to improve the game-time atmosphere, I don’t disagree with you. But the fact of the matter is LSU’s proposal for how it will serve beer won’t improve the atmosphere at all. Or make it worse. At best, it’s a neutral decision. At worst, it’ll be a minor nuisance.
Were LSU to allow beer sales at Tiger Stadium, there wouldn’t with a tap at every concession stand. The proposal is based around the concept of a “beer garden,” or a single, centralized place in the stadium — likely between the club and suite levels — where fans can go to purchase a cold one.
Heads or tails
As someone who spends his whole life at sporting events, I can tell you how this will go down. If everyone in the stadium has to funnel through one place to get beer, the lines to buy it will be so long that the cons (missing a quarter of action) will undoubtedly outweigh the pros (having a beer).
If you’re worried about fans getting too rowdy or too drunk because of beer sales, that really shouldn’t be an issue either. Most sporting venues that serve beer — take the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, for instance — limit customers to two beers per purchase. And if the line to get a beer bottlenecks through the whole stadium, people won’t be able to buy it quick enough to get drunk off it.
Maybe I’m too idyllic. Maybe I think that all 100,000 people in attendance prioritize watching an LSU football game over getting a soft buzz. But it strikes me as impossible that people will find a way to get drunk inside the stadium on overpriced beers that will take forever to buy, especially when people can still get drunk outside the stadium on their own dime.
What about the students? LSU is a public institution of higher learning and it shouldn’t condone alcohol consumption in any facet, especially when at a game played by many students who are underage.
First off, you’ve got to be pretty naive to think underage students aren’t already finding a way to drink. But more importantly, think about the Superdome again. The Superdome is just as much of a public facility as LSU is. Bloomberg estimated that taxpayers spent about $471 million on the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina. And last I checked, people under the age of 21 are permitted inside the Superdome for Saints games.
And despite alcohol sales, the Superdome hasn’t been overthrown by riotous drunks or lost its license for mistakenly serving minors. No, people just get used to it and it becomes normal.
Wish in a bottle
That’s how it will be at Tiger Stadium if this proposal is approved. It’s not bad. It’s not good. It will just be normal.
Will people find ways to exploit the system? Sure. Are there going to be some people drinking who maybe shouldn’t be? Probably. But that’s not a good enough excuse to tell a university not to do something that would make it a ton of money with few overhead costs.
According to a Forbes.com article a year ago, the NCAA only prohibits alcohol sales at NCAA-sanctioned championships.
If you don’t plan on drinking, this won’t change the way you watch the football games. It will be like any other concession you don’t buy. If you don’t want it, you won’t be forced to have it. And if you do plan on drinking, enjoy it in moderation. Be the adult you are and have a drink or two.
But don’t think this will drastically change the Tiger Stadium fan experience. Because it won’t.