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UC Berkeley adds alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium

The athletics department of the University of California, Berkeley has detailed a number of enhancements to the game-day experience at California Memorial Stadium, including the introduction of alcohol sales.

The move reverses the stadium’s long-held policy of not selling alcohol, although beer and wines had previously been sold in the nearby Tailgate Town area.

Metal detectors are also set to be introduced to screen fans for prohibited items upon entry to the 62,000-seat stadium, while new fan assistance booths have been added to help guests with queries they may have. The university did use metal detectors ahead of basketball games at Haas Pavilion and the devices are used at other venues on campus, including the Greek Theatre.

It is hoped the move to allow the sale of beer and wine will improve the game-day experience for ticket holders who are old enough to drink. Eight standalone locations will sell beer and wine, with over 21 wristbands to be required to purchase, possess or consume alcohol.

Cal Athletics said it had consulted and collaborated with various departments and organisations before making the decision, with other schools having also been consulted. Research showed that offering beer and wine inside stadia can lead to reduced alcohol-related incidents and reduced binge drinking at tailgates. Alcohol will not be allowed in the student section or in a designated family seating area.

Jim Knowlton, the university’s director of athletics, said: “Many of our ticket holders have told us that they would like additional locations for the purchase of beer and wine during our events.

“At the same time, it is imperative that we continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our fans in a family-friendly environment. We have been deliberate in our planning, meeting with numerous colleagues and subject-area experts on campus over the past several months, and then implementing best practices based on their guidance, as well as research and evaluation of how the best stadiums manage alcohol sales. While we have confidence in the systems we are putting in place to manage sales and consumption, we will not hesitate to make appropriate adjustments if needed.”

In June, US college sports organisation the Southeastern Conference (SEC) became the last major conference to abolish the alcohol ban after 30 years, giving each institution the autonomy to determine whether alcoholic beverages should be sold at their respective venues.

Image: Cal Bears