Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

How Much Is Beer Worth?

If you haven’t heard, there’s a lot brewing over brew in Minnesota.

You see, the University of Minnesota is moving into its spanking new TCF Bank Stadium this season and part of the expectation was that there was going to be alcohol served in the premium seating and suite areas.

But the state legislature recently passed a law that made the University decide whether or not it would serve beer to the entire crowd or to none at all and the school’s president Robert Bruininks has recommended that the stadium debut with a no suds policy.

The issue will next be discussed at the Board of Regents meeting nine days from now. In the meantime, Gophers fans are lighting up Internet message boards.

If people bought suites that cost $45,000 a year on the alcohol assumption, what discount should the university offer for the inconvenience of only serving sodas and virgin strawberry daiquiris?

While in-stadium alcohol service isn’t a given at college stadiums – especially the ones that are located on campus – it can be argued that drinking is more a part of the Golden Gophers game experience as compared to other games. After all, for nearly three decades, fans have been able to get all the brew they wanted while watching the team play at the Metrodome.

It’s obvious that Bruininks was concerned about the perception of serving alcohol in a stadium when 75 percent of the student body is underaged. But what about financial concerns?

The unconfirmed number on the money the school pulled in from beer sales at games is around $2 million. Can the school that is not part of the “haves” in the Big Ten afford to do this? Can a school whose stadium is $40 million over budget afford to do this?

I’m assuming the law isn’t going to get repealed and I’m assuming the president isn’t changing his mind. Now we’ll have to find out exactly how much that alcohol is worth when the school figures out how much to discount, if at all, the seating where it was assumed alcohol was going to be served.

Makes sense that the last name of the Minnesota's football coach is Brewster.

Questions?  Comments?