The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 13, 2012

Beer and wine sales top $900,000 first year at Gopher stadium

— Beer and wine sales topped $907,000 in their first season at the on-campus University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, with beer sales trouncing earlier projections, yet university officials say the trouble some feared never materialized.

Sales at the Gophers' seven home football games averaged $129,610, the Minnesota Daily reported this week (http://bit.ly/UGHgzg ).

Associate Athletics Director Scott Ellison said the university sold between 12,000 and 13,000 cups of beer at each game — far more than initial projections of 7,000.

Profits from alcohol sales will go to the athletics department. Ellison said university officials are still tallying up the expenses and should have the final numbers within the next few weeks.

Ellison said fans gave mostly positive feedback about the alcohol sales, though there were complaints about beer spills and the feeling of being squeezed on the stadium's west plaza, where the beer tents were erected.

University administrators were apprehensive about allowing alcohol sales to students and wanted to limit sales to premium seating areas, but the Legislature insisted that beer and wine be available to all fans 21 and older.

Campus Police Lt. Erik Swanson said the stadium saw less trouble this season than in any of its previous three seasons. There were 56 incidents requiring enforcement action this year, down 10 from a year ago and down nearly 50 from 2010.

One potential reason, Swanson said, is that previous years, fans knew they couldn't drink inside the stadium, so some arrived already drunk. This year, knowing they could get alcohol inside, fans arrived in a better state, he said.

High prices also may have limited consumption, he said. Beer and wine went for $7.25 a cup. And because the beer tents were on the west plaza, students had to walk to the opposite end of the stadium to buy a maximum of two drinks at a time.

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Information from: The Minnesota Daily, http://www.mndaily.com/

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