Submitted by Mark Mitchell, Ph.D*, Robert D. Montgomery, Ph.D*

1* Department of Marketing and Resort Tourism, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina 29528

2* Department of Marketing, University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana 47722

Mark Mitchell, DBA is Professor of Marketing and Chair of the Department of Marketing and Resort Tourism at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.

Robert D. Montgomery, DBA is Professor of Marketing at the University of Evansville in Evansville, IN.


This manuscript examines the issue of in-stadium alcohol sales for collegiate sporting events. In the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of Division I FBS football programs allowing alcohol sales in their stadiums. While it is currently not the norm (25% do allow it, 75% do not allow it), the number is increasing. And, others allow alcohol sales in premium seats as well other smaller venue sports (such as baseball and basketball). This manuscript examines: (1) the reasons collegiate athletic departments might consider allowing in-stadium alcohol sales, (2) the mitigating constraints that may cause them to not allow its availability, and (3) a look a current ‘best practices’ among institutions that currently allow in-stadium alcohol sales.

Key words: in-stadium alcohol sales, beer sales, fan experience, tailgating.


STATE U needed to renovate its on-campus baseball facility. To do so, STATE U was able to play its college baseball games at a nearby Minor League Baseball Stadium. While at the off-campus stadium, fans at the STATE U games were able to buy beer from stadium concessions. The availability of beer/wine sales at the stadium may have increased the appeal for some fans, particularly community members seeking a relaxing day at the ballpark. Now, as renovations are being completed, STATE U will be back on-campus. STATE U must now address two very important questions:

1. Is STATE U interested in selling alcohol at its on-campus facility?

2. Is STATE U able to sell alcohol at its on-campus facility?

And, if beer sales were to be allowed at the baseball stadium, might STATE U consider expanding the program to, say, its football or basketball stadiums?

The availability of alcoholic beverages at professional sporting events is a long-held tradition. However, there are a growing number of universities that are adding (or that are considering adding) alcohol to the concessions available in their Collegiate Sports Stadiums. For example, beer is sold at over 20 on-campus Division I Football stadiums, an increase from 10 such schools just 10 years ago (6). When we add in off-campus stadiums, the number increases to 32 institutions (37). This number constitutes 25% of the 128 FBS football programs.

Many fans consume alcoholic beverages during their pre-game tailgate parties. Others enjoy drinks in the stadiums and arenas (some by sneaking alcohol into the stadiums). Until recently, West Virginia University (and others) allowed fans to leave their football stadiums at half-time and re-enter (often after having alcoholic beverages at their tailgate spots) in the third quarter (21). Colorado State University has been allowing in-stadium alcohol sales for over 35 years. With the neighboring Coors Brewery and a number of craft brewers, supporters argue the location in the “Napa Valley of Beer” would make it conspicuously absent to not allow beer sales at such sporting events. And, interestingly, beer sales amount to 55% of total concession revenue (19).

The purpose of this manuscript is to examine the issue of alcohol sales at collegiate sporting events. First, a brief look at current practices with respect to in-stadium alcohol sales is provided. Second, the reasons schools are considering alcohol sales are discussed, along with the limitations to its possible introduction. Finally, a look at ‘Best Practices’ for enhancing the fan experience and the safeguards used to limit the problems associated with fan over-consumption of alcohol are examined.

The Current State of Affairs

Many institutions currently allow alcohol sales at basketball and baseball games. The University of Cincinnati sells beer at most on-campus sporting events – including the sale of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day (40). During Spring 2014, the University of Texas began a pilot program of allowing alcohol sales at selected sporting events (5). Southern Methodist University piloted alcohol sales at Basketball games before considering its sales at all home sporting events (17). It must be noted that the NCAA limits the sale of alcohol at NCAA-sponsored events such as championships. As such, fans at the Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX) were not able to buy beer and wine (5). But, fans at December and January Football Bowl games (not NCAA Championship events) can typically purchase alcohol in-stadium.
As noted above, alcohol was available in-stadium at 32 Division I Football programs during the 2014 season. These schools are listed in Table One.

From Table One, we see a mix of public and private institutions. Also, we see most schools are NOT in the elite Power 5 Conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, PAC 12, and SEC). To be clear, state laws may preclude alcohol sales on state property (15). Of the Power 5 Conferences only the SEC bans such sales while the others leave the issue to the institutions themselves (8). And, Athletic Directors are not unified in their view on the subject. Peterson (26) notes that Athletic Directors see big differences between alcohol availability in luxury boxes (where boosters pay a premium to attend events) and its mass sales to legally-aged ticketed fans throughout the stadium. The issues will be discussed in the sections that follow.

Drivers of Interest in Adding In-Stadium Alcohol Sales

Access to New Revenue Streams

Recent research by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics (11) found that athletics expenses are rising at an annual rate of approximately 7% and that revenues (from current sources) are not expanding as quickly. NCAA research (22) found spending for athletics increased 43 percent between 2004 and 2008 while revenue increased by 33% during the same period. In December 2014, the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) elected to disband its Men’s Football program citing rising costs, stagnant revenues, and needed capital expenditures in facilities upgrades. In the UAB case, the University had been providing a $20 million annual supplement to the Athletic Department’s $30 million annual budget (35).

Additionally, the Power 5 Conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, PAC 12, and SEC) are proposing an increase in student aid known as the ‘Full Cost of Attendance’ which will increase the aid amount by $2,000 – $5,000 per student-athlete recipient (27). Further, there could be increased costs associated with court rulings on athlete compensation for earnings from use of the ‘images’ by their institutions (e.g., the O’Bannon case). Finally, conference expansion has increased travel distances (and costs) for member institutions. As such, today’s Athletic Administrator is looking at new ways to fund their operations. The sale of alcoholic beverages in stadiums and arenas can generate revenue in two ways; increased attendance particularly among students and more lucrative suite sales, and increased concession sales (4).

As noted earlier, West Virginia University used to allow re-entry into football games in Milan Puskar Stadium. That policy was changed in 2010 by Athletic Director Oliver Luck. But, concurrently, the decision was made to allow in-stadium alcohol sales. The university reported over $500,000 in new concession revenue tied to alcohol sales (21). With the introduction of Alcohol Sales at Troy (AL), it was estimated that Troy would generate an additional $200,000 in commissions in its first season. Breaking it down, Troy gets about $2 for every $5 beer sold. Troy is among 5 Sun Belt Conference schools allowing alcohol sales in stadium (along with Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, South Alabama, and Georgia State) (6).

For municipal stadiums, the access to new revenue streams can be similarly appealing. The city of Memphis, TN operates the Liberty Bowl (home to Memphis State University). The city reported annual operating losses of at least $250,000 with needed infrastructure improvements. Their decision to allow in-stadium alcohol sales was one attempt to increase stadium/concession revenue (25).

Enhancing the Fan Experience

In his well-known seminal piece in the Harvard Business Review titled “Marketing Myopia”, Professor Ted Levitt (13) warned marketers to avoid myopia in defining their markets, consumers, product uses, reasons for buying, and other consumer-related matters. Extended to athletics, today’s sports marketers well-recognize they are offering an entertainment option in a crowded marketplace. In response, the in-stadium fan experience continues to evolve with the introduction of enhanced WiFi and DAS (Digital Antenna Systems) access, game-oriented smart-phone applications, unique video footage only available to in-stadium patrons, the ability to order concessions from your seats, and other innovations which are key to attracting and retaining young fans (3).

According to Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, “Less than 25% of our in stadium crowd uses their mobile devices during games. But of that 25%, a super majority are students,” (28). Young fans want instant access to other scores, they want to take selfies, Instagram videos or tweet, and stay in touch with family and friends that are following the game but are not there. Students who enjoy the game day experience are more likely to return to the stadium as alumni, many of them with their children which expose a whole new generation to the sights, sounds and rituals of the game day experience (28).

For some fans, the ability to enjoy a beer (perhaps a more expensive craft beer) in-stadium may enhance their game day experience. Scott (32) suggests cold weather baseball programs in particular should consider alcohol as a means to attract fans. When the University of North Texas opened its new Apogee Stadium, alcohol availability was a constant discussion. As noted by Athletic Director Rick Villarreal, “In a market where we are in constant competition for the consumer’s entertainment dollar, we have to provide the amenities sports enthusiasts expect. With the addition of beer sales in the stadium, we will now offer what venues like AT&T Stadium and the American Airlines Center have provided from day one ” (16).

Some institutions, such as the University of Toledo, make alcohol only available in premium seats/suites (1). Many of these ticket buyers purposefully elect to ‘buy up’ to the premium seating option for the enhanced entertainment value. When asked about others offering beer in stadium, the Athletic Director at The Ohio State University responded, “I understand why Akron is doing it. They’re trying to enhance their atmosphere. We just don’t need to do that.” (1).

Addressing Declining Student Attendance

According to a Wall Street Journal study (2), the average student attendance at college football games from 2009 – 2013 was down (on average) 7.1% for all institutions (n=79) and 5.6% for the members of the 5 Power conferences. To be clear, some schools have seen increases in their student attendance but, on average, fewer students are attending college football games when all schools are added together. The decline in student attendance is attributed to a variety of factors, including rising ticket prices, more lopsided games, fewer match-ups with long-time rivals, and the proliferation of television and internet broadcasts (2). Some selected examples are provided in Table Two.

Related to the section above on fan experience, the availability of in-stadium alcohol sales (a legal product) sold to of-age students may be one-way to encourage greater student attendance. Louisiana – Monroe introduced in-stadium alcohol sales in 2013. As noted in Table Two, student attendance increased by over 1/3rd for the 3 years of data provided in the study (2). ULM Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom offered the following preliminary assessment, “It went really well. We actually had no complaints from fans. We didn’t have any increase in arrests. We got a little bump in revenue from beer sales. But, it actually went off really, really well” (28). It is unknown if there a causal relationship between the introduction of alcohol sales and an increases in student attendance. About ½ of the total gain was in 2011-2012 (no alcohol sales) and the other ½ in 2012-2013 (alcohol sales). Prices were kept low ($4 per cup) and availability was NOT limited to premium seats.

Crowd Management

Providing alcohol in a controlled environment may help schools overcome the challenges of binge drinking, violence, and other alcohol-related issues. The police chief of West Virginia University, Bob Roberts, stated “In 2010 we made 117 game day arrests, while in 2011 (after the implementation of in-stadium beer sales) we made 79 arrests on game day, which is nearly a 35% decrease” (21). Similarly, the University of Minnesota reported fewer alcohol-related incidents when alcohol sales were allowed in stadium (29). The ability to buy a beer in the stadium may have the effect of discouraging binge drinking just before entering the stadium (6). The logic here is simple: facing a 3-hour game, some fans over-drink before entering the stadium in order to “keep their buzz” for the duration of the game. Ready access to alcohol for sale may discourage this practice.

Colorado Mesa University used to allow students to drink in an area just outside the baseball stadium. Here, they lamented that students could drink for all 9 innings and harass opposing players (assuming an escalating matter with continued alcohol consumption). The introduction of in-stadium alcohol sales encouraged greater fan attendance while concurrently given the institution greater control over who was purchasing and consuming alcohol (21).
Many institutions have strict alcohol policies such as the presence of a ‘dry’ campus. It is a bit naïve to assume alcohol consumption is not occurring in such cases. However, the institutions are not providers (or approving providers) of the banned substance for selected events (such as football games). Allowing for in-stadium sales allows a school to model good behavior while working to limit abuse of an already-legal product.

Appealing to New Market Segments

A primary target market for any university sports program is its alumni network given their connection to the institution. Yes, we can find dedicated alumni well-clad in school colors tailgating with classmates under a school logo tent while introducing their children to the institution and rituals. Enticing the casual sports fan is another matter. While planning for the introduction of alcohol at Southern Methodist University (SMU), the University’s research team consistently heard the theme of “beer and wine availability” among casual fans who were really looking for new entertainment experiences (such as attending SMU sporting events) (18). Also, these causal fans will often find the cost of attending collegiate games to be below the costs of professional sports.

Recognizing the Local Culture

Each community, region, and/or state possesses a ‘drinking culture’ and corresponding alcohol consumption patterns along with the related problems from over-consumption (10). Relating back to Table One, some pockets of availability do appear:

  • 5 schools providing on-campus alcohol sales are from Ohio (Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Kent State, and Toledo).
  • 5 schools providing on-campus alcohol sales are from Texas (Houston, North Texas, SMU, UTEP, and TX – San Antonio).
  • 3 schools providing on-campus alcohol sales are from Louisiana (UL Monroe, UL Lafayette, and Tulane).

So, 3 states account for 41% of the sites where a sports fan can purchase in-stadium alcohol. This suggests some locations may be more inclined to support alcohol sales.

The University of Nevada is located in Reno, a community filled with downtown casinos where alcohol flows 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. In a natural extension (to some), alcohol sales are allowed in the University’s Mackay Stadium (football). The same is true of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) where athletic leaders feared they be “crucified” if they did not allow public alcohol sales in their stadiums. It is argued that the availability of alcohol in casinos creates an expectation that extends to sporting events and venues (19).

Conversely, Syracuse University has sold beer in the on-campus Carrier Dome for both football and basketball games since 1980. When they switched conference affiliation to the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference), they found that no other schools allowed on-campus alcohol sales. The ACC schools located further south are often more rural and conservative and do not allow on-campus alcohol sales as it is inconsistent with local culture and behavioral norms (8).

Local craft brews may be a natural addition to concessions given their connection to local culture (1). The same may be true to allow local wines to be sold in areas where a high concentration of wineries can be found (such as California, Virginia, New York, and other states). Distilled spirits can also be concentrated in their production locations (such as Kentucky or Tennessee). Their sales or availability may bring different issues to schools. But, their presence in the local community may make perceived “safer” or “less harmful” alcohol (such as beer or wine) more likely to be welcomed.

Constraining Factors in the In-Stadium Sale of Alcohol

Mixed Messaging (Family Affairs – Mixing Alcohol)

As noted earlier, college sports are one of many entertainment options available to interested fans/consumers.  Given their provincial nature and lower price points, college sports compared to professional sports, are often a very attractive family entertainment option.   It is the presence of large numbers of children that prompts discussions of the appropriateness of mixing alcohol-induced fans and a day of family fun.  For some, they don’t’ believe this mix is appropriate.  Consider the National Football League (NFL) which has experienced problems of intoxication, profanity, abusive language, and violence associated with alcohol consumption.  During the 2013 season, 8,000 NFL fans were ejected for violations of the league’s code of conduct (9).

Promoting Alcohol Use among Young People

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have consistently opposed any introduction of in-stadium alcohol sales given that many college-aged students are under age 21 (the legal drinking age).  It is further argued that children are always watching adults for behavioral leads or cues (i.e., accepted behaviors).  The organization doesn’t like the implied linkage in the mind of a child.  Noted MADD National President Jan Withers, “If they see the only way to have fun is to drink a lot, then they’re going to model that.  That’s not the message we want to be sending them (24).”  Further, it is argued, it is counter-intuitive to express institutional concerns about binge drinking among college students and then allow them to buy/consume alcohol while watching collegiate athletics.

Safety / Legal Concerns

Each institution considering possible in-stadium alcohol sales will need to check local, state, and athletic conference regulations to see if any restrictions exist.  For example, a state institution may find some restriction on alcohol sales.   The 23-school California State University system has a ban on alcohol availability in the general seating areas of sports facilities (24).  Most athletic conferences leave the decision to provide in-stadium alcohol sales at the discretion of each member school (19).  There is one notable exception … The Southeastern Conference (SEC) policy is provided below:

No alcoholic beverages shall be sold or dispensed for public consumption anywhere in the facility and the possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the public areas of the facility shall be prohibited. These prohibitions shall not apply to private, leased areas in the facility or other areas designated by the SEC. There shall be no advertising displays mentioning or promoting alcoholic beverages in the facility.

Note the policy does not preclude alcohol availability is premium-seating sections of a stadium.  For example, fans in select premium seats and/or suites at LSU games can get access to alcohol but fans in the broader stadium cannot (38).

Vendors that elect to sell alcohol are held liable under what is known as “dram shop” statutes which allow injured plaintiffs to recover damages from a seller or vendor of alcohol for injuries sustained as a result of a consumer’s behaviors while intoxicated (15).  Under this scenario, a fan injured by the actions of a drunken fan can seek damages from the supplier of the alcoholic beverages.  This enhanced legal liability may discourage some institutions from allowing in-stadium sales.  In other cases, the food and beverage partner (such as Aramark, Sodexho, or Center Plate) is the vendor of record and splits the proceeds of stadium concessions with the university at a pre-negotiated rate.   In fact, the University of Minnesota reported a revenue increase but incurred a net loss of $16,000 due to the compensation agreement with its food and beverage concessioner (Aramark) (23).

Recommended ‘Best Practices’ for In-Stadium Alcohol Sales

As of this writing, a relatively small number of colleges provide for in-stadium sale and consumption of alcohol.  It was noted that 32 Division I football programs provide for such in-stadium sales.  A consistent theme among Athletic Directors has been the recommendation that an institution pilot alcohol sales in some venues/sports before choosing to expand to other sports and stadiums.  As noted above, Southern Methodist University (SMU) used basketball games as it’s trial-run before considering expansion of alcohol to its football games (17).   Applying this trial-run logic to this manuscript, below are the currently-considered best practices reported by institutions that do allow in-stadium alcohol sales. In the diffusion of innovations, these early schools are the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” while broader majority of athletic departments will decide if they will follow these earlier adopters (see Rogers (30) for more information on the Diffusion of Innovations).

Premium Seats Only (not for general admission consumption)

There is a clear distinction between allowing fans in more controlled environments (such as suites or premium seats) to purchase alcohol and allowing fans in the general admission section unlimited access.  From a policing standpoint, the more limited the area it is assumed that greater control can be exerted.   Purdue, for example, introduced alcohol sales in a new South End Zone Patio built in Ross-Ade Stadium.  Here, fans pay $250 for a VIP card redeemable for beer and wine to be consumed only in the patio region.  Interesting, the patio replaced some 6,100 bleacher seats that were removed (31).  Louisiana Tech does not allow in-stadium alcohol sales but may well consider its introduction in a new multi-purpose facility under construction in an end zone area (38).

Alcohol Free Family Zones

To address the problems associated with alcohol consumption many stadiums have alcohol free, special family friendly sections.  For example, Sun Life Stadium in Miami has two such sections for Miami Dolphin games and 7 sections for Miami Hurricane games (36).  These seats are not in the best location however, as all are located in the upper end zone.  As an additional enticement, the Cleveland Browns sell discounted tickets in their family friendly section (7).

Age Checks / Wrist Bands / Constant Carding

Alcohol buyers must be at least 21 years of age.  Some concession operators use centralized ID checking with wrist-bands where others use ID checks on a per-transaction basis.   Advocates suggest the availability of in-stadium sales gives schools greater control over under-age drinking.  North Texas uses 4 hand-picked and well-trained employees per service window.  Two people ID buyers while two others pour the beer for patrons.  Further, North Texas security was able to reposition some security team members from tailgate patrol to in-stadium security (33).   West Virginia introduced its “HIGH FIVE RULES” to help all fans (including students) to make good choices during game day.  The High Five Rules” are (41):

  1. No excessive drinking – intoxicated fans are not allowed inside or outside the stadium.
  2. No foul or abusive language.
  3. No smoking in the seating or concourse areas.
  4. No throwing stuff (anything) onto the field.
  5. No ignoring of the instructions of Event/Security personnel.

Then, an in-stadium system is used to allow fans to text security personnel when any incidents occur (19).

Limit Number of Drinks Sold Per Transaction

Institutions commonly restrict the number of drinks a single buyer can purchase per transaction with 2-3 drinks being most-commonly reported.    This approach can be combined with a wrist-band with 2-3 tabs to only be removed by concession personnel at the time of beverage sale (18).  And, clear cups can be purposefully used to allow security personnel to see what fans are drinking.

Additionally, the issue of cup or serving size must be determined.  Food research suggests larger serving sizes tend to lead to larger amounts consumed.  That is, we eat/drink all that is served (39).  So, whether a beer’s serving size is 12 or 24 ounces … it is likely to be consumed.  Consistent with limits on drinks sold, drink portions can be controlled with container size selection.

Terminate Sales at Pre-Determined Times

Some schools, such as Syracuse University, terminate beer sales at halftime of football games to encourage safe transit home of its fans (while concurrently discouraging over-consumption of alcohol) (12).  West Virginia University extends sales until mid-third quarter (19).  These practices are akin to baseball stadiums having “last call” in the 7th inning.  The University of Minnesota also uses this halftime break in sales.  Additionally, they do not begin in-stadium sales until 1 hour before kickoff (29).  Interesting, the University of Nevada worked with its conferences to schedule more afternoon games to avoid evening games which allowed more time for pre-game alcohol consumption (29).

Use Higher Price Points to Influence Consumption

The selection of a price point will influence the profile of the in-stadium alcohol buyer.   Lower prices may mean more student sales whereas higher prices may equate with less student in-stadium purchase given their (assumed) lower level of disposable income. West Virginia University used an aggressive pricing strategy for beverage sales ($7 domestic bottles and $9 craft beers).  Cash-strapped students will be less likely to over consume (1).

Sponsoring a Designated Driver Program

Taking a cue from various bars and taverns, some stadiums have developed designated driver programs with complimentary beverages for each volunteer.  For example, West Virginia University worked with Beer companies to develop/sponsor a Designated Driver program (19).  The University of South Florida (which plays its football games in Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers) partnered with Budweiser on its “Safe Ride Home” program to provide complementary soft drinks for designated drivers and free taxi rides home for intoxicated fans (34).

Locating Sales Points in More Remote Locations

The location of distribution points can have the effect of discouraging over-consumption of in-stadium alcohol.   Common strategies include: (a) locating beer sales outlets away from the Family Section (16); locating beer sales outlets away from the student section (20); and avoid locating beer sales outlets in the middle of corridors to avoid creating traffic jams (33).  Also, local craft beer sales outlets can be used to repurpose sections of a stadium by making them destinations (20).

This issue of remote site sales is consistent with food research which suggests that increases in the barrier to retrieve a snack tend to limit snacking (39).  Applied to in-stadium alcohol sales, the need to travel a little further to get another beer may act as a ‘pause point’ and discourage over-consumption.

Education and Punishment

Starting in the 2015 season, the NFL will ban fans ejected from one stadium from attending games at all NFL stadiums.  Ejected fans have to pass a conduct class before applying for reinstatement with the team that ejected them (9).  Conduct classes, which started in 2010 with the Giants, Jets, and Patriots, focus on alcohol awareness, disruptive behavior and the effect it has on other fans, and coping skills for acting appropriately in public.  Hundreds of fans have completed the class without a single repeat offender (14).

Concluding Remarks

There are currently 32 Division I Football Championship Series (FBS) programs that allow in-stadium alcohol sales from a total of 128 FBS teams (or, 25% of teams).  However, this number has increased in the last decade for the reasons outlined above.   Further, other schools allow alcohol sales at baseball and basketball games and many others are considering it.  The intent here is not to advocate a position to add (or not to add) in-stadium alcohol sales.  Athletic Administrators must examine their own operating situation to see if they believe this is appropriate for their institutions.  It must fit their fan base, local culture, local/state laws, conference by-laws, and other influencers.

Experienced leaders know that just because you are able to some something doesn’t mean you are always well-advised to do so.  The fact that more institutions have added in-stadium alcohol sales in recent years tells us that they’ve had both INTEREST and ABILITY to implement this strategy.   In marketing terms, innovators have introduced a new product/service and competitors are deciding if they should follow the lead of these innovators.  And, ‘not following the leader’ is always a strategy option.  If the decision is made to allow alcohol sales, we have provided some existing ‘best practices’ from these innovators to help guide their peers wrestling with this interesting, important, and perhaps controversial question.  Today, the ‘market penetration’ of alcohol sales at FBS schools is 25%.  Looking ahead a decade, which way will this number go (up or down)?  We’ll see . . .  but the arrow is currently pointed up.



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Table One: Alcohol Sales at Division I Football Stadiums in 2014


On-Campus Stadiums Off-Campus Stadiums
  1. Akron
  2. Bowling Green
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Colorado State
  5. Houston
  6. Kent State
  7. Louisiana-Lafayette
  8. Louisiana-Monroe
  9. Louisville
  10. Minnesota
  11. Nevada
  12. North Texas
  13. SMU
  14. Syracuse
  15. Toledo
  16. Troy
  17. Tulane
  18. UNLV
  19. UTEP
  20. Western Kentucky
  21. West Virginia


  1. Connecticut
  2. Georgia State
  3. Hawaii
  4. Massachusetts (3 games at Gillette Stadium)
  5. Memphis
  6. Miami
  7. San Diego State
  8. South Alabama
  9. South Florida
  10. Temple
  11. Texas-San Antonio


Source: USA TODAY (2014).  Alcohol will be sold during college football games at these 32 stadiums.  August 22, 2014.


Table Two – Student Attendance at College Football Games 2009 – 2013

Example Power 5 Conference Schools Example Non-Power 5 Conference Schools 
  • Ohio State, down 2.4%
  • Michigan, down 11.1%
  • Florida, down 22.4%
  • Michigan State, down 11.8%
  • Florida State, down 6.1%
  • Georgia Tech, down 29.7%
  • Arizona, down 21.2%
  • North Carolina, down 12.5%
  • Illinois, down 42.5%
  • Oregon State, down 10.1%


  • Florida Atlantic, up 2.8%
  • Marshall, up 5.9%
  • North Texas, down 47.5%
  • Western Kentucky, up 48%
  • Cincinnati, up 5.2%
  • Louisiana Monroe, up 34.1%
  • Fresno State, up 28.9%
  • Kent State, up 18.2%
  • Central Michigan, down 57.6%
  • Texas El Paso, down 10.5%


Source:  Cohen, B. (2014). At college football games, student sections likely to have empty seats.   Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2014.

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