Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium / Photo: Courtesy, Arkansas Razorbacks.com
Razorback fans who’d like to enjoy an adult beverage while they cheer on the Hogs won’t have to stay home (or purchase a club or box seat) to do so beginning this year.
University of Arkansas officials earlier this month announced plans to offer beer and wine sales in designated public areas of Razorback Stadium beginning with the upcoming 2019 football season.
The decision comes after the Southeastern Conference revised a policy that had previously restricted alcohol sales in public areas of athletics venues back in May. Under the revised policy, the SEC granted their member institutions the ability to decide whether or not to sell alcohol in their venues, subject to some restrictions.
“By expanding our established alcoholic beverages program to include the sale of beer and wine in public areas of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, we are building on an already successful model while furthering the fan experience in a responsible way,” AD Hunter Yurachek said of the new rule. “Working in coordination with campus officials and within established guidelines adopted by the SEC, we will now be able to offer this gameday amenity as an option to fans while working to further educate University of Arkansas students and the general public about safe and responsible consumption.”
The UA will offer beer from Anheuser Busch and Core Brewing, as well as a limited wine selection throughout the stadium. Additionally, Miller/Coors products will be available in club areas. Domestic drafts will run around $7 inside the stadium, with craft beer and wine priced at around $9. The beer and wine stations will be separated from the regular concession areas.
Alcoholic beverages will be sold and dispensed only at designated stationary locations, and not by vendors in seating areas. ID checks will be required of every person at the point of each sale and alcohol will be dispensed in cups, and a limit of two servings per person will be allowed in each transaction. Sales of alcohol will be halted at the end of the third quarter of the game, UA officials said.
UA Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and AD Hunter Yurachek / Staff photo
“We have confidence in the many mechanisms being put in place to ensure that sales are limited to those 21 years or older as well as supporting responsible consumption for those who are allowed to purchase beer and wine,” said UA Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, Melissa Harwood-Rom. “We begin educating our students about the effects of alcohol and how to act or intervene in alcohol-related situations from the time they first arrive on campus, so the proceeds from sales designated to support our educational efforts will be put to good use.”
Yurachek said the UA will implement several policies and guidelines to prevent the sale and consumption to underage students, including a ‘We ID Program,’ a designated driver and rideshare program, and others.
“In many cases at other power 5 conference institutions, alcohol-related incidents at events have decreased following the introduction of a formal alcohol sales and educational program,” Yurachek said. “As with other gameday options, we realize individuals will ultimately make their own choices on whether to utilize these expanded opportunities. Our focus will be continuing to work with campus officials, UAPD, the SEC and others to ensure that fans of all ages can enjoy their gameday experience.”
Alcohol sales inside the stadium have been available since 2014, but had previously been restricted to public suites and private club areas.
Even with the new regulations offering sales in the public areas of the stadium this year, alcohol will not be allowed in UA student seating areas, and beer and wine kiosks will not be located in the immediate proximity of the student section.
UA officials say a portion of the proceeds from alcohol sales “will be designated for use by the University of Arkansas’ Division of Student Affairs for alcohol related education and programming for university students.”
The UA has also partnered with rideshare app Lyft to offer a $5 discount to and from each home game this season. The rideshare drop/pickup zone is located at the UA Student Union, on campus just to the east of the stadium.
Levy, the UA’s current partner on concessions, will implement the alcohol sales within the stadium, and will be responsible for training gameday staff on the SEC alcohol management guidelines. Servers will be trained to identify public intoxication, and are instructed to “refuse service to any fan who appears impaired.”
Fans who witness unruly behavior or in-game security concerns are encouraged to report them to campus police by texting the keyword “HOGS,” their location, and a message to 69050.