Thursday, June 25, 2009

No Alcohol Aftermath - Truth, Not Baloney?

The Pioneer Press has a good article:

The total cost of going dry has yet to be determined, officials said, but athletics director Joel Maturi said compensation for suite buyers at TCF Bank Stadium and Williams and Mariucci arenas — all of which now will be dry — could come to about $1 million.

Associate athletics director Phil Esten said compensation will take the form of price reductions or items of value offered to fans.

The Board of Regents voted last year to allow liquor sales in the new football stadium, which opens in September, in premium seating areas but not general seating, which would have applied to Williams and Mariucci as well.

But legislators criticized the arrangement as elitist and passed a provision last session saying the U had to either sell to all fans or none.

U President Robert Bruininks didn't want to sell alcohol generally at an on-campus stadium, which meant the only option was going dry.

"(It's) an issue the Legislature should not have visited upon the University of Minnesota," Bruininks told regents at their meeting Wednesday.

Larson and Venora Hung were the only regents to vote against Bruininks' proposal to make the stadiums alcohol-free.

Several, however, mentioned going back to the Legislature to see if the law could be changed after this season.

One lawmaker, Rep. Pat Garofolo, R-Farmington, said Wednesday that he wants the U to reverse its decision so that everyone of legal age can buy alcohol at the new stadium.

Nobody has canceled a suite purchase over the alcohol issue, Maturi said, though several people have asked about what compensation might be offered to them.

All nonpremium seating for the new football stadium is sold out for 2009, and of the premium seating options, all the outdoor club seats and loge boxes have been sold, Esten said.

Thirty-two of the 37 suites have been sold, Maturi said, and about 200 of the 250 indoor club seats. Suites cost $45,000 per season, and indoor club seats go for $3,000, which means at least $375,000 in premium seating remains unsold with two months left until opening day.

The premium seating in the new stadium accounts for only about 5 percent of the seats but about 40 percent of overall stadium revenue, Bruininks said.

Forecasts projected the on-campus stadium would generate $3 million to $3.5 million more in net revenues than the Metrodome, where alcohol was for sale to anyone of legal age.

But those forecasts assumed the new stadium's premium seating would sell out, and it's unclear how much lower the stadium's revenues will be given the alcohol decision, Maturi said.

The concern is more about lost suite sales than lost revenue from the sale of alcohol, which he called "minimal in the overall scheme of things."

Wednesday's vote makes the U the third school in the Big Ten — along with Michigan and Ohio State — to have a completely alcohol-free football stadium.

Alcohol was not allowed in Memorial Stadium, the last place the Gophers played on campus before moving to the Metrodome in 1982. Fans will be able to tailgate with alcohol in designated areas outside the new stadium.


Given the sale of alcohol at University of Minnesota football games in the Dome, I think that President Bruininks is being hypocritical in making the House That Bob Built a dry one.

The no alcohol policy - except in premium seats - was clearly a marketing decision as can be demonstrated by careful examination of then Regent Metzen's remarks at the Board meeting a year ago. The idea was to make premium seats more valuable by allowing them the perk of alcohol.

So let's cut out the baloney about this being for the children... If this is the case where was Dr. B. all these years while alcohol was being sold in the Dome at Gopher football games?

And don't hold your breath waiting for the legislature to come around on this one. What Garofolo is up to is to force the U to sell alcohol throughout the stadium.

He plans to make us an offer we can't refuse...

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