Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Preakness Uses All-You-Can-Drink To Bring Crowd Back

134th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course
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For years, you could bring your own alcohol into the Pimlico infield for the Preakness. Until last year that was, when the race track decided to change up the rules after the drunks caused a ruckus.

The result?

The young legals (21- to 25-year-olds) who had made the infield their own over the years essentially boycotted and the attendance plummeted to the lowest in 24 years. Not exactly ideal for the racetrack, whose parent company Magna had filed for bankruptcy.

So this year, they were challenged to come up with a solution. And it’s a bold one. Pay $40 for the infield ticket on Preakness Day and it’s all-you-can-drink for the $20 MUG Club.

Since the infield is presented by Budweiser Select , fans who buy the ticket will get unlimited refills in their 16-ounce mug of Bud products, plus some hard alcohol.

Drink ten cups and you’ve essentially made your money back versus what you could have brought in.

It’s definitely a fine line the folks at Pimlico are walking, but business wise, it seems it to be working. Pimlico spokesman Mike Gathagan said that, as of yesterday, the track was 1-2 percent off its ’08 numbers.

And while the track has been criticized for even doing what they are doing now, Gathagan says that they'll make sure things don't get out of hand.

Said Gathagan: “If people are too hammered, we are going to shut them down.”

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