Fresno State Football

Fresno State fans weather long lines to buy a beer (or 2) for first time since 2006

Fans line up for an $8 beer at one of two beer gardens set up within the boundary of Bulldog Stadium during the 2017 opener. Fresno State was able to sell alcohol in the stadium for the first time since 2006, an annual boost of more than $100,000 to the Bulldogs’ athletics department.
Fans line up for an $8 beer at one of two beer gardens set up within the boundary of Bulldog Stadium during the 2017 opener. Fresno State was able to sell alcohol in the stadium for the first time since 2006, an annual boost of more than $100,000 to the Bulldogs’ athletics department. Fresno Bee file

Beer sales were booming Saturday night as Fresno State sold alcohol at Bulldog Stadium for the first time since 2006.

Rosalinda Ybarra and her friend purchased four beers. Their total was $32. But it is worth it, Ybarra said.

“I literally stopped coming back the season they stopped selling beer,” said Ybarra, who described herself as in her 30s.

Ybarra wasn’t happy about the long lines and added another complaint: “The beer should be cheaper.”

Four lines, all long, stretched to the outside of the beer garden on the east side of the stadium. The other beer garden was set up in the northwest grass area.

Both gardens are technically outside the stadium, but Fresno State put up temporary fencing that allowed for in-and-out privileges. However, that layout means beer drinkers must climb the stairs or ramp while taking drinks back to their seats.

For Jessea Saldana, 42, just getting a beer was a challenge. Having to first get a wristband and then stand in line for half an hour was more than she expected.

“I would actually want to go watch the game … but it just took too long to get the drinks so we just stayed here,” Saldana said.

The long lines didn’t deter Saldana and her husband from going for a second cup of Bud Light.

“All I really wanted was a beer,” Saldana said.

Fresno State planned to enforce a two-beer limit per sale and cut off sales at the end of the third quarter. Wristbands are required for entry into the beer garden and for anyone who consumes alcohol.

At least one fan had a complaint about behavior. Teri Brosseau commented on Facebook, “Just left the game at halftime after a belligerent drunk vomited on my husband, son, and nephew. Thumbs down to beer at the games.”

I literally stopped coming back the season they stopped selling beer.

Fresno State fan Rosalinda Ybarra

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 also recently allowed beer sales.

How well did beer sales go Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium?

Elizabeth Robinson, 42, who declined to identify the nonprofit she works for, said her beer stand sold 1,082 cups of beer. Each beer was priced at $8, so roughly $8,656 was collected.

Robinson said the earnings likely were about the same at every stand, eight total. A different nonprofit manned each stand, and a portion of each stand’s earnings goes to the nonprofit that worked it, Robinson said.

“It was hectic, I think because it was the first time being back in the stadium like this,” Robinson said. “But the crowds were great (and) they were patient.”

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

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