Texas Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson is hoping that selling beer at DKR Memorial stadium will keep you happy and in your seat.
Longhorns fans will now have the opportunity to cheer on their favorite team with an ice, cold beer, no matter the sporting event. Beer sales will start immediately as the university uses the spring sports – including the spring football game – to “test the waters” for football season.
This policy has been a long time coming. Former athletic director DeLoss Dodds mulled over the idea for years but never did pull the trigger. Patterson did. It is his attempt to stymie the mass exodus at halftime that has become a Texas tradition.
When Smokey the Cannon fires off its customary shot to indicate the end the second quarter, this is the signal for fans to head back to their tailgates or to the alumni center for another round of drinking. Many fans do not make it back for the start of the third quarter. Patterson wants to change this and keep the game day atmosphere for the start of the third quarter.
It is a sound strategy. Texas players have not been happy with the support they have been receiving from the home crowd. Part of the problem is fans can leave the stadium whenever they like and return when they please. One way to combat this is to prevent them from returning. A better solution is to make beer available to keep people in the stadium.
Generating extra revenue does not seem to be the goal behind this move. Texas joins the West Virginia Mountaineers and Kansas State Wildcats as the only Big 12 schools to sell alcohol at games. West Virginia reported that during the 2011 season, game day arrest rates dropped 35 percent once the school started selling beer in the stadium. The number of alcohol-related cases being reported dropped 43 percent. No one can say if this will happen at Texas football games. It is worth finding out.
If selling beer in the stadium makes for a safer environment, then I am all for it. And if alcohol in the stadium means more people staying and cheering at the start of the third quarter I say sell that beer. Patterson wants to create an uplifting atmosphere that the players can feed off while still providing an enjoyable experience for the fans. It sounds like a win-win to me.