How Colleges Can Implement Effective Alcohol Policies

Bobbi Busboom and Mackie Feierstein open their athletic departments’ playbooks for best strategizing and executing thoughtful alcohol service initiatives.


College athletic departments around the country are grabbling with a common issue. Should they, or should they not sell alcoholic beverages in their venues? And if they do execute alcohol service, is it confined to premium seat spaces? Or is it sold venue-wide, including to students? And if it’s sold venue-wide, will that amenity cannibalize premium seat revenues and donations?

In this video, hear how two universities answer those questions to implement thoughtful alcohol policies that provide their constituents with what they are asking for, while remaining mindful of liabilities and intentional in their preparations to provide all fans with safe environments and friction-free experiences.

The chief reason for adding alcohol to a venue’s beverage menu is simple: It’s a new, seemingly lucrative revenue stream. But be aware, that’s often not the case in year one of sales. To sell and serve alcohol effectively, most existing collegiate stadiums and arenas will require investment for renovated concession stands, portable concession stands, point-of-sale upgrades, new signage, additional restrooms, and additional security.

“A lot of people see dollar signs when you start rolling out that concept, and it’s not necessarily the case in the early years,” says Bobbi Busboom, Assistant Athletics Director of Development and Operations for University of Illinois Athletics. “This is not going to be a huge moneymaker that first year, so let’s do this right so that eventually it is.”

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