LSU ‘aggressively working’ to open beer garden in Tiger Stadium for football season

Limited beer sales in Tiger Stadium could become a reality by the start of the fall football season. LSU officials confirm that plans for a beer garden in the stadium are firming up, though the deal hasn’t been finalized yet.

“We are aggressively working to have it in place in the fall,” says LSU Spokesman Ernie Ballard. “But we are still working through everything to make it happen.”

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has said for years that he would like to bring beer sales to Tiger Stadium. In 2014, he told the Baton Rouge Press Club that “it’s going to happen at some point—I don’t know if it will be five years from now, 10 years from now.”

More recently, during an interview on LSU’s pregame radio show last September, he said a beer garden “was on the horizon,” though he didn’t specify when.

Now, it appears the beer garden concept—which would limit beer sales to a single area in the stadium as opposed to having taps at all concession stands—could happen this year. Talks between the university’s athletic department brass and the Southeastern Conference are under way, and appear to be going well.

“They are having those conversations now,” he says. “They are working towards doing it in the fall.”

The SEC prohibits its 14 member schools from selling alcohol at athletic events, which is why beer sales at LSU home games are only allowed in the stadium club and suites, technically separate structures from Tiger Stadium.

While university officials are waiting for the green light on the beer garden, they are trying to determine where in the stadium it should be located. Ballard says it will be somewhere below the club and suite levels.

“The goal is to do it for our fans who don’t have access to the premium areas,” he says.

In the past, Alleva has said expanded beer sales in Tiger Stadium would enhance the fan experience, and boost revenues and attendance at games. He’s even suggested fans would be less likely to binge drink before entering the stadium if they knew they could buy beer inside.

A growing number of universities around the country are of like mind. More than a dozen colleges and universities have begun selling beer in their stadiums in the past five years, and several others are currently considering such a move.

Though there’s no data yet linking limited beer sales to higher attendance at games or enhanced fan experiences, schools have seen revenues increase as a result of beer sales at games, according to a September article in the journal Inside Higher Ed.

—Stephanie Riegel

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