COLUMBUS –Ten questions about Ohio State’s announcement on Friday that it will begin selling beer at football games this season in the suites and club seats at Ohio Stadium:
1. Is it about money?
Of course it’s about money. No one is denying that.
2. How much money?
If they open up sales to the whole stadium next year, probably sales of $1 million or more. This year, not nearly that much because beer and wine will be available in only 4,370 of the stadium’s 109,444 seats.
3. Is this the end of Western civilization as we know it?
No. But it might be more evidence of the professionalization of college sports.
4. How many universities sell beer in their stadiums?
In 2014, only 32 of 128 NCAA Division I football stadiums sold beer outside limited areas but others, such as Texas, have gotten on board this year. Only five of last year’s beer peddlers came from Power Five conferences – Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Syracuse and West Virginia.
5. How many other Big Ten stadiums sell beer in suites areas only?
Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland did it last year. Maryland will expand beer sales throughout Byrd Stadium this season with a menu that includes national brands and local craft brews. It expects to make an extra $500,000 from selling more beer.
The names of two, possibly three of the craft brews would get me in trouble if I printed them here, so you can Google it.
6. Beer at stadiums isn’t cheap. Why would anyone pay $8 or $9 for one beer?
I have no idea. And at those prices, your friends will hate you for a long time if you disappear when it’s your turn to buy a round.
7. What’s next? Breakfast at the stadium?
With noon kickoffs that might be a big seller. It could also work at those night games where both teams throw 45 passes, the network televising the game runs twice that many ads and you get to your car after midnight.
8. What would Woody Hayes think?
Woody hasn’t been the coach for 37 years. And he might be more steamed that the Rolling Stones, a country music concert, One Direction, the Browns and the lacrosse team were using his stadium than that a few beers were being poured.
9. If beer sales are expanded to the whole stadium, will there be family no-alcohol sections in the future at Ohio State games?
I think that’s a good idea. Several major league baseball stadiums have family sections where no alcohol is permitted. I’ll bet some people would pay more for a ticket to get into a no-alcohol section.
10. In my 24 years of covering Ohio State football, what was the most alcohol-infused crowd?
Probably West Virginia. But even they weren’t close to the Dog Pound at Browns games at the old stadium in Cleveland or maybe the upper deck center field bleachers at Tiger Stadium on a hot summer night.