So should Washington State follow Texas' lead? A Texas spokesperson said last week that 27 universities now allow alcohol sales in general seating. Some, like Minnesota, determined over time there was "no significant increase" in alcohol-related incidents.
Minnesota last year took in $182,000 in profits from beer and wine sales, and put it all right back into athletics. Texas is estimated to rake in $1M in combined profits from football and other sports, with football naturally producing the lion's share.
Washington State's profits from expanding alcohol sales would likely be smaller given Martin Stadium's capacity, (Minnesota's stadium holds 50,000, Texas' 101,000) but the net revenues on such a venture are only expected to rise. Still, there are other considerations when it comes to WSU.
A good deal of WSU fans have a longer drive home after the game than do other schools. Having fans in line or congregating over a drink at the start of the third quarter isn't as beneficial to the home team as would having their butts in the seats.
IF WASHINGTON STATE wants to increase their revenue and profits when it comes to alcohol sales, one longtime CF.C poster told me the Cougs should instead look at expanding and enhancing the experience in the Field House before games.
Making it easier and more comfortable for alums to share pre-game drinks in the Field House, similar to how Oregon does things at the Moshofsky Center, would go a long ways, he said.
Sales to the general seating crowd seems almost inevitable, though. A number of schools were already strongly considering beer, wine and spirits sales and Texas' move is virtually guaranteed to accelerate that process. Many more schools will surely jump in to try and keep up with the Joneses.
For the Cougs, the challenge will be to find the right balance. Everyone wants less alcohol-related incidents, not more. At the same time, no one wants to take a pass on a revenue stream that the competition will be tapping.
So what's the right solution for the Cougs? Click to the CF.C Luxury Suites and CF.C Football Board to weigh in.