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Banking on Booze

Athletic Management

“Cheers to the Rockets!” could be the battle cry of University of Toledo fans this fall, as the school was recently issued a permit to sell alcohol at home football and basketball contests. Toledo joins 22 other NCAA Division I FBS institutions and three fellow members of the Mid-American Conference in this practice.

Toledo Athletic Director Mike O’Brien spoke out in favor of this policy change in May. He thinks it’s something the Rockets faithful will enjoy.

“Obviously our stance on responsible behavior from our fans won’t change,” he told The Toledo Blade. “That’s always in place. A number of schools have done this and some of our fans have asked about it. We thought this was the year to make this move.”

In the past, fans were only allowed to purchase alcohol in suite or luxury areas of the football stadium and basketball arena. Offerings will be provided by local distributors and will include Budweiser, Coors, and Michelob beers, with a pint selling for $6. Wine will also be available.

With nearby Bowling Green State University raking in approximately $25,000 a year from beer sales at football games, Toledo is confident it will turn a profit from this decision. However, O’Brien believes the benefits of selling alcohol go beyond dollars and cents.

“The financial piece is clearly a part of it, but it could also create for a more entertaining experience during our events,” he said.

Athletic Management recently featured a cover story on colleges allowing alcohol at their athletic contests, and like the schools mentioned in the article, Toledo will have safeguards in place to ensure legal consumption. For instance, concessions employees will be required to attend training and police officers will be present wherever alcohol is sold. Any individual purchasing beer or wine will be asked to show identification and will be limited to purchasing two beverages at a time. And alcohol sales will stop at the end of the third quarter in football and midway through the second half at basketball contests.

“All of the alcohol service management items will be in place to ensure responsible consumption,” O’Brien said.

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