By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – If the thought of Kinnick Stadium being packed this fall gets you stoked, imagine if some in the capacity crowd were consuming beer that they purchased at a concession stand in the stadium.
Actually, you might not have to imagine it much longer, because based on what I keep hearing, beer being sold to the general public at Kinnick Stadium will happen, sooner than later, and probably this fall.
I can’t say with absolute certainty that it will happen this fall.
But at some point, Iowa will join the growing list of schools that sell beer during football games, because for one, it’ll generate revenue that is much needed in the wake of a global pandemic, and because enough schools now sell alcohol, or at least sell beer during games, and make a profit, to where it makes little sense not to do it.
Beer already is sold to those in club seating at Kinnick Stadium, so it seems only fair to make it available to all fans who purchase a ticket.
Signs right now point to Kinnick Stadium being full this fall from an attendance standpoint, barring any setbacks with the coronavirus.
The 2021 season is just under three months from starting, and a lot can happen during that time.
But it seems highly unlikely that Iowa would allow full attendance for games, while putting restrictions on tailgating due to Covid-19 health concerns.
Or, maybe Iowa would put some restrictions on tailgating, but also sell beer at Kinnick Stadium in order to control the market for one season.
Whatever the case, the time is right to sell beer at Kinnick Stadium during games.
The Iowa athletic department desperately needs money, and every little bit helps.
Those worried that it would send the wrong message with the global pandemic still a threat have a legitimate concern.
But there are ways to minimize the threat, like for example, getting two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and practicing good hygiene.
Hand sanitizer should be available at stadiums throughout the country, and as long as fans resist playing quarters in the stands, or sticking their fingers in other people’s beer, the risk of becoming infected should be low.
Just use common sense.
Another concern with selling beer at Iowa football games is that it would create more binge drinking and cause more people to make stupid and risky decisions from being intoxicated.
The problem with that theory is that it’s wrong.
There is no proof that unruly behavior and public drunkenness is more prevalent on game day at colleges that sell beer during games compared to those that don’t sell beer.
It’s hard to envision somebody drinking six or seven beers during a game for lots of reasons, including what should be the cost.
Let’s pretend that Iowa will offer a 16 ounce cup of beer for $12, or maybe even $10.
Some might consider that too expensive, but everything from the concession stand is overpriced at Iowa sporting events.
Why should beer be any different?
Alcohol probably should be the most overpriced item in order to control the consumption, and, of course, to make money.
A typical fan who likes to imbibe as a tailgater will continue that routine, while also maybe putting aside enough money in order to have a beer or two during the game.
It’s silly to think the game-day experience would become out of control just from selling beer at Kinnick Stadium.
I’ve been in favor of selling beer at Kinnick Stadium for quite a while, and feel even stronger about it now, partly because of the circumstances.
Iowa needs the money, of course, but it would also send a message to fans that the athletic department trusts them and is willing to enhance the game-day experience after coming off a tough year in isolation.