Minnesota may ban booze at new stadiumThis fall’s eagerly awaited return of University of Minnesota football to a campus stadium will feature nostalgia, pageantry and fresh air. But no beer.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — This fall’s eagerly awaited return of University of Minnesota football to a campus stadium will feature nostalgia, pageantry and fresh air. But no beer.
University President Robert Bruininks will recommend Friday that regents ban alcohol from the new stadium after state lawmakers demanded that fans in the TCF Bank Stadium cheap seats get as much access to booze as those in the suites.
He is extending the no-alcohol policy to the hockey team’s Mariucci Arena and the basketball team’s Williams Arena. While alcohol isn’t broadly sold in either, it has been available in suite and reception areas.
“We know people will drink before they get to our games. We’re not naive,” Bruininks told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday. “But we do think this is the best, most responsible way to manage our game days and to really make this a high-quality experience for our fans.”
Lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty hemmed the university in by attaching conditions to a liquor license for the football stadium. They said the school could sell alcohol stadium-wide or not at all. They also blocked the university from serving free alcohol to fans in premium seating areas, such as luxury boxes and club rooms.
University officials opposed the conditions, saying stadium-wide sales would be out-of-step with on-campus stadiums in the Big Ten and send the wrong message to students about drinking. Lawmakers argued that limiting booze to people holding expensive tickets smacked of elitism.
The Gophers’ campus homecoming comes after 27 football seasons in the Metrodome.
The old campus stadium was torn down after the school shifted games to downtown Minneapolis in 1982. The novelty of the climate-controlled Metrodome wore off fast. Average attendance steadily slipped and fans began clamoring for a new home. Three years ago, state lawmakers authorized the $288 million, horseshoe shaped stadium with room for 50,000 fans.