NDSU: Fan experience, not revenue, main motivation behind beer at football games – InForum

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FARGO — North Dakota State took a peek at the other 10 Missouri Valley Football Conference schools and saw a similar drink in each school’s concession stand. The athletic department took a look at professional sports and saw the same thing.

He reviewed a survey of NDSU season ticket holders that was sent out after the 2021 season and found that many fans had the same request: a beer at the football game. The school never made it available.

“So we’re trying to reflect as many of those opportunities as possible,” NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen said. “The sale of alcohol was one of them. We’re just trying to improve the experience in different ways and that’s just one element.

This item was presented to the Fargo Dome Authority at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, and the board appeared to favor changing the wording of the Fargodome’s annual lease with the NDSU to allow the sale of alcohol at games.

No votes were taken as more details between NDSU and the Dome need to be worked out, such as staffing and the distribution of concession revenue between the two parties. Larsen Wednesday sounded like an administrator who didn’t think they would be impassable barriers.

“There are still things we need to work on, so it’s not a done deal for this coming season,” he said. “Ideally we would like to have a decision, if we want to go ahead, in the next month or so. I think the dome would be in agreement in terms of personnel and infrastructure. better, but I think all parties, if we do it, want to do it well and do it right.

Potentially more revenue for the athletic department isn’t driving the decision, Larsen said. It’s also debatable how much revenue it would generate anyway, given that liquor sales will likely be halted after the third quarter. Concession lines and bathroom availability could also be sales-limiting factors.

In the past, Fargodome expansion discussions have included the need for more bathrooms and concession space. The dome’s liquor license is for any type of alcohol, but Larsen thinks the NDSU would limit it to beer and products like beer soda.

“I think time will tell,” Larsen said of the potential earnings. “The dome, and I’m sure they would tell you, for all the other events they do, football is really unique. It’s different. It’s one of those things that I don’t think you know until you do, but I would say this: (revenue) was not the main motivation. It was more from the point of view that we looked at everything. Certainly, if there is an impact on revenue would be great, but that was not our goal.

The Fargodome sells alcohol at many other events like concerts and trade shows.

“They are very well prepared for this, they understand the challenges in terms of points of sale,” Larsen said. “These are all things that if we move forward, we need to understand. We have to make sure that safety and security and all of those things are in place to make sure that we’re able to serve the clientele and the fanbase in a safe way.

The NDSU began serving beer and wine at basketball games and wrestling events at the Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in 2019. Larsen said there were no issues. He also spoke with all of the MVFC athletic directors about alcohol sales at football games and got much the same response.

“That was part of that process as well,” Larsen said. “We wanted to benchmark and see what everyone in our competitive leagues was doing, what they weren’t doing, but also potential issues and concerns. I think on all of their campuses it was handled very well, so there were very few, if any, issues.

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