Rutgers opens up to alcohol sales at venues

The athletics division of New Jersey-based Rutgers University has detailed plans to expand alcohol sales at its venues, starting later this year.

It will mark the first time that beer and wine have been available for fans to purchase in general seating areas at HighPoint.com Stadium, the 52,000-seat home of the Scarlet Knights college American football team.

Rutgers said that revenues from the sales will serve to off-set scholarship costs. The expansion has been supported by the Rutgers University Senate and other key internal groups.

Rutgers’ director of athletics, Pat Hobbs, said: “This decision was the result of a year-long review of the experience and data from across the college landscape. Universities have seen a dramatic drop in alcohol-related incidents on game day by providing a controlled environment for beer and wine sales. We will work closely with RUPD (Rutgers University Police Department) to achieve similar results at Rutgers.”

Kenneth Cop, chief of police at Rutgers, added: “Data from peer institutions shows a correlation between a decrease in alcohol-related incidents when a venue provides a controlled environment for beer and wine sales.

“The RUPD will continue to be vigorous in working with Rutgers Athletics to promote public safety at athletic events and expects attendees to respect all applicable laws to ensure a safe and enjoyable game-day experience.”

Rutgers Athletics has begun the request for proposal process to partner with a new food services provider, which will secure the required licenses to serve alcohol at the designated venues.

Currently, Rutgers serves alcohol at premium seating locations at HighPoint.com Stadium and in hospitality areas at the Rutgers Athletics Center (RAC).

Hobbs added: “This is part of a broader effort to improve the overall fan experience in the years ahead, from concessions to apparel sales. We want our venues to be the destination for our fans here in New Jersey and across the New York metropolitan area.”

A recent peer review revealed that 51 of the 129 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs allowed in-stadium alcohol sales to the general public.

Image: Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics