Beer sales coming this fall
April 4, 2019
A decade ago, it was rare for a school to allow alcohol or beer sales at football or basketball games.
On Tuesday, the University joined a rising tide of institutions that are selling beer at athletic events.
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Memorial Stadium and the State Farm Center will add beer to their concession stands for football and men’s and women’s basketball games beginning this fall.
“The opportunity to purchase beer at our events was the number one request in a postseason survey of our football ticket holders,” said Director of Athletics Josh Whitman in a press release. “Fans indicated beer sales would encourage their use of purchased tickets and increase the length of time they stayed in the stands.”
The University is also getting set to begin beer sales during baseball and softball games, as the DIA’s statement acknowledged that “it is possible” Illinois Field will have beer sales during the last three home series of the regular season.
Eichelberger Field is expected to begin beer sales at softball games next season.
Memorial Stadium will continue to serve a wider variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks in the premium club and suite areas, as it has since 2008, and the State Farm Center will do the same, as it has since it reopened after renovations for the 2015-16 season.
Illinois joins Big Ten schools Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Maryland and Rutgers in the move to sell beer during events.
Ohio State announced $1.23 million in beer sales for the 2017 season after beginning sales during 2016.
The DIA will dedicate some of the revenue generated by beer sales to pay for added police officers and security measures during events.
Senior Associate Director of Athletics Marty Kaufmann said in a press release the University had been considering the move for a while, especially as more and more institutions are selling beer during events.
“This is something we’ve monitored for quite some time as other schools have ventured into public alcohol sales,” Kaufmann said. “We have proceeded with due care and caution in our study of the issue. The feedback we have received from our fans has overwhelmingly asked for this availability, and we feel we are appropriately prepared to start this process at our athletics facilities.”
The University will limit purchases to two beers at one time per legal ID in the east and west stands and horseshoe area of Memorial Stadium and will have a one beer per legal ID in the north stands, where the students sit.
Prices are expected to be $7 for domestic and $8 for premium or craft beers at Memorial Stadium and the State Farm Center.
Illinois Field and Eichelberger Field are expected to set prices at $5 for domestics and $6 for craft and premium beers, respectively.