Just because LSU has lobbied for years for the SEC to lift its ban on member schools selling alcohol at athletic venues, that doesn’t mean the athletic department is in a rush to tap kegs and pop open corks.
In the days since the SEC agreed to allow the selling of beer and wine in public areas at its athletic events, LSU has begun reviewing the policy change to determine how—and whether—to open up more beverage sales.
While selling alcohol opens another revenue stream for athletic departments, the decision to chase those dollars is up to each member university. The policy requires participating schools to establish designated stationary sales locations, and it limits fans to purchasing one drink at a time, restricts vendors from selling alcohol in seating areas, and comes with designated stop times for each sport.
“We have to look at all the variables that come into play,” says Senior Associate Athletic Director Robert Munson. “We have to do what’s best for LSU. It’s going to be a deliberate and thoughtful process on our part.”
Based on the terms of an existing 10-year contract, Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services is LSU’s concessionaire and holds the rights to sell beer and wine at its athletic venues. Should LSU move forward with the SEC policy, Munson says the school would work closely with Aramark and any subcontractors the company hires in a “very open process.”
Munson says he would expect products to come from a “mix of local, regional and national partners”—some with which LSU has existing relationships, though he declines to name them.
But long before working out vendor details, there are other aspects of the policy LSU must consider, including the mandated alcohol management procedures.
“We have to look at our facilities and determine what we’re capable of doing now versus a few years from now,” Munson says. “We need to get everyone in a room and walk through everything in its entirety.”
LSU’s slow approach mirrors those taken by officials from Alabama and Auburn, who both told ESPN they planned to take their time considering how and whether to roll out the changes.
LSU doesn’t have a timetable planned for implementing the policy, which goes into effect Aug. 1.