Thursday, September 5, 2013

Banning Beer at Football Games? Don't Hold Your Breath

Throwing beer in Cleveland. It's cheap there.
A little while ago, I was driving home from a photo shoot and I turned on ESPN Radio. The discussion was about banning beer from football stadiums, something about as likely to happen as Congress passing meaningful legislation--of any kind--in the near future.

Seems NFL teams have stopped beer sales in stadiums after the third quarter, thus, in theory, giving the drinkers time to sober up before driving home in traffic so heavy that it's often bumper-to-back-seat. That would also avoid some of the grandstand fights that break out among the boys mixing too much testosterone with too much beer.

 CBSSports.com tells us that of the 120 Division-I football programs, 21 sell beer and11 of those venues are on-campus, university-owned stadiums (in the other 10 colleges are tenants in a building). In 2011, West Virginia University had beer sales for the first time and made $520,000. WVU discovered, according to several reports, that arrests for booze-related crimes went down when it legalized beer. Beer at the stadium meant less drinking before getting there.

A small draft beer at NFL stadiums costs from $5 in Cleveland and Cincinnati to $9 several places and averages $7.13 per beer. Getting bombed is an expensive proposition, at the least, but pro football fans tend to like beer. These are most often blue collar fans and they like their beer. Blue collar fans have expensive habits. Here's what it costs to get into an NFL game (on average; different opponents have different prices based on how much interest there is) and if you think the beer's high, look at this:

WVU discovered, according to several reports, that arrests for booze-related crimes went down when it legalized beer. Beer at the stadium meant less drinking before getting there.
  • New England Patriots -- $431
  • Chicago Bears -- $416
  • Denver Broncos -- $317
  • New York Giants -- $317
  • New Orleans Saints -- $273
  • Green Bay Packers -- $269
  • Baltimore Ravens -- $268
  • Pittsburgh Steelers -- $255
  • Dallas Cowboys -- $254
  • Seattle Seahawks -- $250
  • New York Jets -- $222
  • Houston Texans -- $220
  • San Francisco 49ers -- $216
  • Philadelphia Eagles -- $199
  • Washington Redskins -- $196
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- $184
  • San Diego Chargers -- $180
  • Indianapolis Colts -- $177
  • Miami Dolphins -- $164
  • Carolina Panthers -- $161
  • Atlanta Falcons -- $157
  • Detroit Lions -- $140
  • Minnesota Vikings -- $137
  • St. Louis Rams -- $137
  • Jacksonville Jaguars -- $136
  • Cincinnati Bengals -- $134
  • Arizona Cardinals -- $126
  • Kansas City Chiefs -- $124
  • Buffalo Bills -- $122
  • Oakland Raiders -- $120
  • Tennessee Titans -- $112
  • Cleveland Browns -- $106
Fortunately for my pocketbook, I don't drink and I don't go to pro football games. I bought two tickets to a University of Virginia-Duke football game (as a present for my favorite ex-wife) recently for $5 each and as far as I know, UVa doesn't sell beer. Last time I saw these teams play each other, it was one of the most entertaining games of the year (and that one cost $4 a ticket at StubHub).

So, where I'm going with all this is really nowhere. People are going to drink beer at the games if it's being sold and they'll drink it ahead of time and afterwards if it's not. As one of the callers to the show I was listening to said, "I ain't watchin' football without beer." Hell, that'd be as un-American as banning guns.

(Photo: espn.com)



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