Bryant-Denny Stadium joins wave of SEC schools to allow sale of alcohol

Nick Balenger, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday afternoon, the Tuscaloosa City Council ruled in favor of allowing Bryant-Denny Stadium to sell alcohol during Alabama football games. 

The decision has been a long time coming. On June 16, a step was taken after the City of Tuscaloosa decided to cut the service fee that would have come along with selling alcohol at sporting events. Now with legal action done, the decision is close to final. 

Levy Premium Foodservice LP, which has supplied concessions to Bryant-Denny Stadium for years, applied for a liquor license on Aug. 8. The city council voted 6-1 to approve the sale of beer and wine inside the stadium. Although the deal isn’t set in stone yet, the University is now waiting for approval from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. 

The deal allows the sale of beer and wine in most parts of the stadium. In light of concerns about underage drinking, alcohol sales will remain prohibited in the student section. It was brought to the council’s attention that students over the age of 21 may distribute alcohol to their underage peers. The only way around that was to keep the student section dry in its entirety.  

Although the deal includes the sale of alcohol in the concourse, according to the SEC, the sale of alcohol is prohibited within the seating bowl. To alleviate the ensuing lines this may create at concessions, Bryant-Denny Stadium will also be adding beer portables throughout the concourse.  

Other possible solutions have been brought up, such as giving wristbands to fans over 21 as they enter the stadium. Currently, it is required of all vendors to see proper identification before all sales. 

If given approval from the state, The University of Alabama will become the tenth SEC school to sell alcohol at games since the practice was approved by the SEC in 2019. LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M are among the schools that have been selling alcohol since the conference’s approval. Some schools that still do not allow alcohol sales, such as Georgia and Auburn, have yet to announce any changes to their policy. 

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell made a statement to the Tuscaloosa Thread on Tuesday, stating his belief that selling alcohol at sporting events would actually have a positive impact. 

At other campuses, this has actually been a positive experience in terms of safety issues associated with in-stadium or in-arena experiences,” Bell said. “It leads to less, let’s say, negative consumption prior to coming in, less pregaming, and I think the balance that we’ve seen is very positive. We expect to see that same positive experience and if we don’t, we’ll reevaluate what we’re doing. 

The sale of alcohol had been discussed as one of many ways to improve and maintain attendance during Crimson Tide football games. Dwindling attendance has been one of head football coach Nick Saban’s more vocal concerns in recent years. Although this decision may improve attendance in many parts of the stadium, the student section attendance issue remains to be solved. 

The Crimson Tide is set to open its season at home against the Utah State Aggies on Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]