UNT announced earlier today that it will begin selling beer on the concourse level at Apogee Stadium during football games this fall. I spent most of the day chasing down sources and banging out a story for tomorrow’s paper along with our higher educator reporter Jenna Duncan.
While we were doing so, we came across a couple of other points that are worth mentioning:
– UNT will sell beer at Mean Green football games, but won’t sell beer during high school games at the venue. That seemed like a pretty reasonable assumption, but it is worth pointing out.
– UNT doesn’t know exactly what the financial impact of selling beer will be at games, but the money will go back into the school’s athletic department. The assumption among UNT officials — and it’s a really safe one — is that the financial windfall will be pretty significant.
– UNT has not settled on how it will go about selling beer at games. The school has looked into different ways to go with cans, cups, et cetera.
As far as some thoughts go…
It’s a great move for UNT. People like to drink at games. That’s just the reality of it. I have no doubt that there will be more butts in the seats as a result — and isn’t that really what matters?
The revenue will also help UNT, which as a mid-major program can use every nickel it can get its hands on.
UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal said he would have liked to have started selling beer when Apogee Stadium opened. I have no doubt that is the case, but the journalist/cynic in me wonders if UNT isn’t better off having already sold a ton of club seats before opening up beer sales throughout the stadium since beer sales up there seemed to be one of the key selling points for the club level in the first place.
There will no doubt be some who are concerned about the environment at games, but I don’t think there will be an overly negative impact.
One of the big topics of debate over the years at UNT games has been people drinking in the parking lot and not coming in. Selling beer will help in that regard. I wouldn’t expect the hill where students hang out to empty out, though. The bottom line is that there are always going to be students who are more interested in the social aspect of hanging out on the hill than the game.
And like a couple of us were talking about in the office, the parking lot will always have the lure of cheep beer from Walmart and the Texas/Texas A&M/Oklahoma/Texas Tech game on TV as opposed to the higher-priced variety of beer in the stadium/the UNT game.
Dan McCarney and his team are doing a wiz-bang job of helping rectifying that problem. The Heart of Dallas Bowl win really helped boost UNT’s profile. McCarney and UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal meeting with freshmen has also really helped. There is pretty much no chance now that a young impressionable 18-year-old can sneak into college algebra without having the UNT fight song drilled into his head while being bear hugged by Scrappy.
Throw in a little beer and UNT may have a winning formula on its hands — and a Budweiser/Coors can.