Arkansas Athletics joined other Southeastern Conference schools this season in lifting the ban on alcohol sales at games, bringing new choices for fans at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
SEC officials adopted a new policy, effective this season, that will give each conference member the choice to implement beer and wine sales at athletic facilities.
“SEC member institutions now have an opportunity to provide an amenity that is already readily available at many collegiate and professional sports events as well as other entertainment venues,” said Hunter Yurachek, vice chancellor and athletic director for the Razorbacks.
Special kiosks exist to keep lines at concession stands shorter, but none will be located near the student section or other concession stands. Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed in the Razorback student section.
The new policy keeps all fans in mind, said Kevin Trainor, the chief public relations officer for Razorback Athletics.
“We were looking for entertainment value, and fans wanted the option,” Trainor said.
A partnership has been established between Arkansas Athletics and Lyft, Trainor said. The partnership encourages safety by offering fans a gameday discount on Lyft’s rideshare services after home games.
The new policy has a set of alcohol management procedures each institution must follow. In addition to a two-drink limit per individual per transaction, identification will be checked at every location, and each sport will have a predetermined cutoff point in the game when beverages will no longer be available for purchase.
Beer and wine are the only alcoholic beverages allowed to be sold at designated locations. Draft beers go for about $7 inside the stadium, and craft beers and wines average $9.
“Most people want to watch a game with a cold beer in their hand,” senior Reagan said. What says “football” more than that? There’s more incentive to go into the games and stay.”
Students sitting outside the Razorback student section will be likely to take advantage of the new policy, according to information from a 2018-19 campus climate survey.
Greater than 80 percent of students drink at least once per month, and 80 percent of students consume enough alcohol to get drunk at least once per month, according to the survey.
Most students consume three or more drinks at events like football games, according to the survey.
The SEC is the last of the Power Five conferences to allow alcohol sales in general seating.
Several other institutions in the SEC plan to accept the new policy, including Tennessee, Vanderbilt, LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M.
One of the notable institutions not making changes to its current policy is the University of Alabama.
“We have one of the best game-day atmospheres in the country, and we don’t envision making changes at this time,” University of Alabama officials said in a press release.
The revised policy has no effect on private areas of Donald W. Reynolds Stadium that previously had access to alcoholic beverages.
A revision to the policy was recommended by a group of campus leaders in May 2018 at the SEC Spring Meetings.
Alcohol will only be sold at Razorback football games with baseball and basketball currently under review by the university.
The next chance fans have to grab a beer at Razorback stadium will come Sept. 14 against the Colorado State Rams.