Alcohol in Stadiums will give a boost to WSU athletics

With the expansion of alcohol sales in the stadium, attendance could be on the rise



Butch T. Cougar hypes up the student section during an NCAA men’s basketball game against Arizona, Jan 26.

LUKE INGHAM, Evergreen columnist

The positives of alcoholic drinks simply outweigh the negatives. This is a way that the athletic department can give back by generating more revenue for the university.

When you think about the stereotypes and traditions at a sporting event, right behind the hot dogs and the nachos, is the beer. Fans getting together to watch, cheer on their favorite team and enjoy a couple of cold ones is a staple of American culture.

But for years fans of WSU Athletics have not had this privilege within the walls of on-campus venues.

Alcoholic beverages in stadiums are something that has long been a hot topic for college athletics. According to The Hill, up until 2019, the NCAA did not permit alcohol to be sold in stadiums at collegiate events.

WSU fans were finally able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in their seats at Beasley Coliseum as of Feb. 11.

It is obvious that many of the people in attendance for a college athletic event are going to be alumni and people over the age of 21, and they are going to want booze.

For a long time, WSU has tried to figure out different ways to find a compromise between ethics and, in reality, the revenue that can be generated from beer sales.

“Liquor and cannabis board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said there is ‘no timeline’ for a decision,” the Lewiston Tribune said back in 2016.

Though the decision has clearly changed and evolved since then, this is not the earliest discussion of alcohol being allowed in the stadiums.

For the past two years they have allowed a beer garden to take place at Beasley, limiting fans in attendance to one section in the upper deck to consume their beverages.

The athletics department has allowed fans to visit the beer garden outside the stadium after halftime of football games.

According to Newsweek, in their first football season selling alcohol LSU generated $2 million in revenue for their school.

Now, Martin Stadium isn’t exactly Death Valley, but knowing the way Pullmanites operate in stadiums, beer sales can definitely turn a pretty significant profit.

Not only can it help the school monetarily, but it can be done safely without alcohol ending up in the hands of underage fans.

According to ESPN, The Cougars rivalry win against UW brought in 5,647 people in the stands of Beasley.

WSU basketball, until recently, has not had tremendous success in their season, which is why it is abnormal, even for a rivalry game, to see this high of attendance at the Coliseum. Coming into the game against the Huskies, the Cougars only had 10 wins to their 15 losses.

Granted, this game had a lot of additional implications, including the return of former cougar Noah Williams to the Palouse.

That being said, it would be hard to argue that the expansion of alcohol sales did not have some effect on the attendance.

According to ESPN, this past weekend the Cougs drew their third-largest crowd of the season against the Oregon Ducks.

To see Beasley brimming with fans has been an unusual sight, and the team has only found moderate success this season.

While the advanced analytics will tell you that the Cougars are better than their record says, the casual fan is just going to look at that under .500 season performance next to their logo.

Most fans care about the gameday experience, and that has been greatly improved with the addition of alcohol in the stadium, whether people agree with the drinks being so close to minors or not.

Although some may be worried about alcohol ending up in the hands of students, security officers line the top of the student section with a watchful eye to ensure not a drop of alcohol was returned to the area.

If the student section is under close watch, and there is alcohol enforcement roaming the building, it becomes no different to a professional sporting event.

If you are just a fan of Cougar Athletics that wants to see more people in the stands, this will certainly build that motivation to attend that some might have needed. Hopefully, this is something we see brought to Martin Stadium this fall.

At the very least, alcohol in the stadium could take some pressure off The Coug and Valhalla when Wisconsin fans come to town on Sept. 9.