Fresno State announced its plans for selling beer at home football games this season, including that fans will be allowed to take their drinks to their seats.
The university said it will set up two beer gardens – one on the east side of Bulldog Stadium near the Red Lot parking area and one in the northwest grass area.
There will be a two-beer limit per sale and sales will be cut off at the end of the third quarter. Wristbands will be required for entry into the beer garden and for anyone who consumes alcohol.
“This was something the university wanted to do in a very responsible and moderate way, especially in the first year,” Fresno State Vice President of Administration Debbie Adishian-Astone said Friday. Beer “will not be sold at concessions or in portable stands, only in the two designated areas.”
Both beer gardens are technically located outside the stadium, and temporary fencing will be erected that allows for in-and-out privileges. However, that layout means beer drinkers must climb the stairs or ramp while taking drinks back to their seats.
Adishian-Astone said the university did not permit beer sales at normal concession stands out of concerns long lines would increase traffic on the main concourse and make access and egress more difficult.
$8 price of beer at Bulldog Stadium during the 2017 season
Addressing concerns beer sales will lead to an increase in unruly fan behavior, Adishian-Astone said security will be beefed up in both beer gardens and throughout the stadium. Officers from the campus police and California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control will also be present.
“Our goal is to maintain a family friendly atmosphere and make sure everyone can enjoy a good time at the game and obviously be responsible with their drinking,” Adishian-Astone said.
Alcohol sales have been prohibited at Bulldog Stadium since the 2006 season per Cal State University policy. However, CSU Chancellor Timothy White relaxed those restrictions June 30 with a new executive order that left beer and wine sales to the discretion of each campus.
About 40 of the 128 schools with FBS football teams sell alcohol at games, and that number has climbed steadily over the last decade. Besides Fresno State, Wyoming and San Jose State have also recently allowed beer sales.
Money is another component to this. Since beer sales were cut off, Adishian-Astone said the athletic department lost between $200,000 and $250,000 in annual revenues.
“Obviously, financially it helps,” she said. “But we don’t know how much and it was really more about having (beer) available to our fans who have asked that it would be nice to have at our games. Money was a factor in this but not the primary motivator.”
There will be only one price point for beer – $8 – for either 16 ounces of domestic draft or 12 ounces of premium. And although White’s executive order allows for wine sales in addition to beer, there are currently no plans to add wine to the menu.
“We have our award-winning Fresno State wine, which is something we could potentially look at,” Adishian-Astone said. “We’re very proud of our Fresno State wine.”