Purdue University plans to expand alcohol sales at sporting events

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INDIANAPOLIS — Purdue University is hoping to increase revenue and attendance at sporting events by selling alcohol.

Purdue announced in June that alcohol will be available throughout the university’s football stadium and basketball arena, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. Beer and wine won’t be available in areas immediately adjacent to student sections.

Officials spent two years testing alcohol sales on a patio near the football stadium’s end zone. Athletic Director Mike Bobinski said the fan response was positive and alcohol-related disturbances decreased.

Bobinski said the university hopes to use the alcohol sales not just to raise revenue, but to attract and retain more fans at the games.

The university’s football attendance dropped 8 percent in 2016, down to slightly more than 34,000. That’s only 60 percent of the capacity of the Ross-Aid Stadium.

“It’s no secret our football program has been struggling,” he said. “We’ve struggled recently to draw people to our games. We want to remove objections and obstacles for people coming to our games. This is one way to do that.”

The university hasn’t yet made moves to sell beer sponsorships or advertising, but they may consider it.

“If we do that, that’s something we’ll want to do carefully and thoughtfully,” Bobinski said. “But I wouldn’t rule it out.” He added that any alcohol sponsorship would include a reminder to drink carefully and responsibly.

Many schools have offered alcoholic beverages in VIP areas of sporting events, but don’t offer it to the general public.

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