Troy University to sell beer at baseball games

Published 12:43 pm Thursday, February 13, 2014

Troy athletic director John Hartwell announced Thursday afternoon the university will sell beer inside Riddle-Pace Field this spring.

Hartwell said the decision to sell alcohol boiled down to two things.

“We wanted to increase our fan experience,” Hartwell said. “It also can help revenue, but the main thing was to enhance our fan experience and game day atmosphere. It is something we have been looking at for a long time, and wanted to go about it in the best way possible. It isn’t something we decided to do last week. We have looked at studies from other schools, and like what we see.”

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Fans over the legal drinking age of 21 years will be given the opportunity to receive a wristband upon entering the stadium. The wristband, much like the ones patrons of bars and clubs receive, will designate fans that are over the legal age.

“The studies we saw, and looked over, show that the number of alcohol-related incidents have gone down since the schools have added in-stadium sales,” said Hartwell. “When people are tailgating before an event, they sometimes feel the need to finish their adult beverages outside because they know they will not be able to get one inside for two or three hours. We feel that by offering beer, it will reduce the number of fans that feel the need to drink several drinks in a short span.”

The beers will be 16-ounce cans, but will be poured in to cups by Sodexo vendors at the concession stand. Customers will be allowed to purchase two beers per trip, and alcohol sales will cease at the middle of the seventh inning. The concession stand will carry a variety of brands of beer at a cost of $5.00 a piece.

Hartwell said security personnel would be checking to make sure “there is not alcohol consumption by individuals who do not have the proper wristbands.”

“We are making sure we follow the industry standards in terms of battling the underage consumption of alcohol,” said Hartwell. “You will have to have a wristband to purchase, consume or carry beer inside the stadium. Our Sodexo employees have gone through the training to identify patrons that are over-served, and will not sell to them.”

Troy will become the eighth member of the Sun Belt Conference to sell alcohol at on-campus athletic events.

Hartwell specifically pointed to Troy rival South Alabama, which has sold alcohol for over a decade.

The idea to serve alcohol at sporting events first came about two years ago, before University officials decided not to pursue the effort.

If all goes well, and Hartwell sees no issue why it won’t, fans could see alcohol sells at other Troy sporting events.

“It is definitely in our plans to have alcohol sales at other events,” Hartwell said. “One of the main reasons we started with baseball is because of the smaller crowds and smaller, more confined space. It is easier for everyone to see how things will be conducted. If baseball goes successful, then yes, we will offer it at other venues.”

Troy opens the 2014 baseball season at home against Northern Kentucky on Friday.