ASU baseball games now offer beer to fans

The new plaza of Phoenix Municipal Stadium features highlights of the ASU baseball team's history. (J. Bauer-Leffler/ The State Press) The new plaza of Phoenix Municipal Stadium features highlights of the ASU baseball team's history. (J. Bauer-Leffler/ The State Press)

Buy me some peanuts and... Budweiser?

Don’t worry, ASU baseball fans can still get their Cracker Jacks fix at games, but the move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium has added a new offering at concession stands: beer.

Baseball has become the first NCAA sport at ASU to sell alcohol at games. Beer is also sold at hockey games at the off-campus Oceanside Arena, but it is unknown if it will be sold when the team is elevated to NCAA Division I status.

The University is piloting the program this year, ASU athletics spokesman Rocky Harris said. After the season is over, administration “will make changes and adapt the plan as appropriate,” Harris said in an email.

Over the summer, ASU banned kegs, beer bongs and drinking games at tailgating events.

Harris said despite the new policy, the University remains committed to reducing dangerous behavior in regards to alcohol.

“Reducing underage and dangerous drinking is a top priority for ASU,” Harris said. “Well-enforced policies and laws play an important role, as does education and social messaging.”

Harris said the University has researched other universities, including UA, for ways to reduce the number of instances of binge-drinking and underage drinking.

“We have found through our research that the incidences of binge drinking and arrests were minimized when venues at other institutions started selling alcohol in their stadiums because it led to fewer fans overindulging outside of the stadiums,” Harris said.

Harris said so far the pilot program at Phoenix Municipal has gone well, and there have been no instances of abusing the system so far, but officials will wait to see the results of the program over the course of the season before applying the practice to other sporting events.

In a meeting with The State Press editorial board, ASU President Michael Crow said he did not support selling alcohol at sporting events and would not consider alcohol sales as a way to increase revenue. He also mentioned he did not support excessive consumption of alcohol near the stadium.

Psychology senior Cierra Wilson said she did not support or oppose selling alcohol at games, but said the policy should apply to all sports.

"I think whatever they do, they need to be consistent,” Wilson said. “If they sell beer at baseball, then next season they need to do the same for football.”

ASU banned kegs and drinking games at tailgating events for the 2014 football season in an effort to cut down on binge drinking and underage drinking, but ASU Police Department spokesman Daniel Macias said policies do not easily translate from one sport to another.

“At a football game, if there’s a sellout, there are 70,000 fans there,” Macias said. “As for a baseball game, there are usually about 2,000 to 3,000 fans there, so they are dealing with a much smaller crowd.”

Macias said officers at sporting events watch for people who are drinking too much or too quickly, as well as people drinking underage.

Macias said tailgating “is part of the experience of the football game,” which also does not usually translate to other sports.

“If you are going to go to a sporting event and drink alcohol, make sure you are doing it in a safe way, and not binge drinking or breaking the law.”

Harris said the policy, which is still in its early months, has given officials more control over alcohol at the games.

“We are also able to take a proactive role in monitoring and limiting the alcohol intake of customers through the direct sale model, including the checking of IDs,” Harris said.

So, for now, take me out to the ball game.

Reach the reporter at cvanek@asu.edu or follow @CorinaVanek on Twitter.

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