By Ashley Day, Chattanooga, Tenn. —
Finley Stadium will begin selling beer on the West Plaza this fall in an effort to increase ticket sales.
Previously, the Stadium Club room has sold beer to fans who must then stay in the room while they drink.
Paul Smith, executive director at Finley Stadium, said it will be expanding sales to an outdoor section of the stadium.
“We wanted to offer the same situation as we have done but create an outdoor environment where football fans can see, hear and experience the great college football game that UTC creates,” said Smith.
Allowing more alcohol sales at the stadium could help the funding of UTC’s athletic department as well.
Andrew Horton, senior associate athletic director for external operations, said 50% of all concession profits go back to UTC’s athletic department.
Fans will have to stay in the West Plaza while they consume alcohol, and they must be 21 to enter the section.
Many students believe this could be a positive addition to the football experience. Kailey Dietz, sophomore from Murfreesboro, said she thinks it will draw more people to games.
“I think it could cause more people to stay the full game instead of going outside to tailgate where beer is allowed,” said Dietz.
Austin Perryman, junior from Fayetteville, has been the student manager for the football team for the past three semesters. He said he believes the sale of beer inside the stadium could greatly benefit the team.
Perryman agrees that selling beer will increase the number of attending fans, and as a result will “make Finley Stadium a much tougher place for other teams to play.”
In addition to intimidating the other team, Perryman said he thinks an increase in attendance will lead to an increase in school pride.
“Because they’ll be in the stadium, they’ll end up watching the games, and maybe they’ll appreciate the significance of what our football team has accomplished in the past three seasons,” said Perryman.
Smith said he believes selling beer inside could actually help to prevent over-consuming alcohol before games.
“Studies have shown that when beer is served inside a stadium, instances of binge drinking are reduced, and with that reduced instances of alcohol related issues,” said Smith. “I think this is a progressive move and will benefit the fan, the Stadium and the Athletic Department with increased ticket sales.”