Mac Engel

TCU selling fans beer while locking the door behind them

TCU fans tailgate outside Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2012. TCU on Monday said it will sell beer at the remaining seven home baseball games in 2018 as a trial run that could expand to football and basketball games.
TCU fans tailgate outside Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2012. TCU on Monday said it will sell beer at the remaining seven home baseball games in 2018 as a trial run that could expand to football and basketball games. Star-Telegram archives

Don't worry about Texas Christian University selling some beer at its ballgames, despite what the Bible says.

According to Ephesians chapter 5, verse 18, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery."

Proverbs chapter 23, verse 20 states, "Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."

Not only does the Bible not state bacon by name but it does not mention Budweiser, Miller Lite, Rahr and Sons or any cereal malt beverage that will be sold at TCU (although I am fairly certain consuming Natural Lite is a sin).

What must the founders of Texas Christian University be thinking? This - "What took you so long?"

On Monday, TCU formally announced the athletic department's long, quiet internal struggle with the university is over as it will make beer available for all patrons for the remaining seven home baseball games for a trial run before it broadens this offer to other events.

TCU has no choice. In the battle against phones, couches and parking lots, stadiums are not selling out and more options are needed to entice people to not only come to the game but also stay.

Previously, beer had only been available at TCU games in the club levels. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, beer will be sold at a TCU's baseball game against, you'll love this, Dallas Baptist.

While TCU is offering its fans something new, it will be taking something away that is very old, and cherished.

Gently slid into Monday's announcement is a trial policy of eliminating in-and-out privileges during these baseball games; fans have been allowed to come in and out of a TCU game at their leisure. If you leave and want to re-enter, you will now need a new ticket.

That one is going to be the difficult transition should both of these measures eventually be applied to men's basketball, and football especially.

Both of these seven-game trial initiatives are measures that former TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte desired, but never felt he could push. His replacement, Jeremiah Donati, is trying both.

The plan is for the school to study the results of these measures at the baseball team's remaining seven games before determining if it will enact one, both, or neither, for football and men's basketball.

Here is how the study will read: "Upon examining the sales of beer at seven TCU baseball games, we saw the trend that TCU sold beer. The formal recommendation is to sell more of it. Everywhere. To anyone that has a proper ID, including a library card. And people hate not being able to go back and forth to the parking lot and the game.

"Please send a $50,000 check to the consulting firm of We Take Money To State Obvious Things and Associates."

Although fans consume beer during tailgates, and a large number of people easily smuggle hard alcohol into the stadium, formally allowing them to do so in the venue was a line TCU was not eager to cross; to do so further distanced the event from amateurs to the pros.

In recent years, however, an increasing number of universities approved the sales of beer at sporting events, including Texas, North Texas, UTEP, SMU, etc. As of the summer of 2017, more than 40 schools had approved the sale of beer at campus venues.

Del Conte was also skittish about proposing a no-pass out policy for fear that it would deter fans from coming to the game at all. He wanted to create a destination at Amon G. Carter Stadium as a place to be. The party scene at a TCU home football game, especially since it joined the Big 12, is fun.

What Del Conte and TCU achieved was to create a party scene so fun that too many fans preferred to spend their time in the parking lot than the stadium.

That trend is not TCU specific. Tailgate scenes across the country are so festive, sophisticated and fun they often are better than going into the stadium.

In reviewing the attendance at every single home FBS football game in Texas in 2017, only one sold out - Texas A&M versus Alabama.

Now, there were other games that generated big numbers for games in Austin and College Station, but the trend is the trend: These large palaces for football that so many universities built are now too big to sellout, unless the game is premier.

As the good folks at UNT and SMU have witnessed since it approved beer sales, the impact of this measure is a little bump. The schools make a few hundred thousand dollars on beer sales, and the overall effect is a few ticks above negligible.

TCU is simply joining the rest of the world in selling brands from Bud to Miller to Rahr and Sons. A few people won't like it, but the vast majority have accepted alcohol sales at virtually all sporting events are a given.

What is not a given is asking a fan base to come for the game and make a hard choice to stay or go. Previously, fans had casually entered, departed, and re-entered TCU games at will, much to the frustration of the coaches, players, and athletic department officials.

Asking a fan base that is spoiled rotten to come into the game and stay put will be the real test of the product, and the in-game experience.

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