OU Regents approve sale of alcohol at sporting events
NORMAN — University of Oklahoma officials see beer and sports as a winning combo.
On Friday, the OU Board of Regents authorized the advertising and sale of alcoholic beverages at athletic events including football games at Gaylord Family—Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
OU tested the sale of alcoholic beverages at sporting events for six months, selling beer at the 2019 OU football Spring Game, as well as at men's and women's basketball games at Lloyd Noble Center and at baseball and softball facilities.
President James Gallogly said no negative incidents regarding the sale of alcohol have been seen and recommended the board approve the sale of alcohol at all sporting events going forward.
“The program has been successful,” Gallogly said.
OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said the move is one Sooner sports fans have been asking for quite some time, but OU officials wanted to make sure they had adequately prepared with proper policies and procedures to ensure fan health and safety.
“It’s part of the fan experience,” Castiglione said. “We don’t expect a larger percentage of the fans at the stadium to buy a beer or consume alcohol. What we have offered is the opportunity for the fans who want it.”
Gallogly and Castiglione both agreed that the sale of alcohol won’t be a big profit driver for the university. Castiglione said the university had netted less than $80,000 on alcohol sales during the pilot program.
- Related to this story
- Article: OU football: Expanding beer sales all about luring, keeping new fans
- Video: Castiglione comments on sale of alcohol at OU sporting events
“That is not at all the reason we have brought this forward,” Castiglione said. “We are just trying to make sure that our fans can enjoy the experience at our venues like they can anywhere else.
"Nationally, as well as within the state, most other venues of college and pro sports offer the same amenities.”
Gallogly said staff underwent alcohol server training and security procedures were put into place to help monitor fan activities in regard to alcohol consumption.
The university also established a designated driver program where a person who identifies themselves as a designated driver will be given a free soda.
Castiglione said OU has studied other universities who have implemented alcohol sales at their universities and found the number of incidents declined once sales were regulated by the venue.
“The data shows it’s been proven to reduce the number of incidents they had at games prior to when they started to sell alcohol,” he said. “Perhaps one of the main reasons is because those fans that want to consume a beverage don’t have to do it on a binge basis before they walk into the stadium.”