Beer, wine sales at Memorial Stadium hit $470K

Indiana’s first foray into serving beer and wine at Memorial Stadium produced just over $470,000 in sales during the 2019 season.

About $180,000 of that money stays within the athletic department, while another $20,000 will be shared with IU’s Dean of Students Office in support of substance use prevention programs on campus.

The rest of the earnings either remained with the pilot program’s vendor, Upland Brewing Co., or was used to pay for equipment and labor costs associated with alcohol sales.

The roughly $200,000 that IU brought in exceeds the $171,000 projection offered by the Wasserman consulting firm when beer and wine sales were first considered.

“Our main goal with this initiative was to enhance the gameday experience for our fans and to reduce alcohol-related incidents in and around the stadium, and we succeeded on both fronts,” IU athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. “In addition to those positive results, we are also pleased to be able to support substance use prevention programming for all students on the Bloomington campus from the proceeds of this program.”

IU police reported 40 alcohol-related incidents during this season’s six home games, or 6.67 per contest. There were an average of 59 alcohol-related incidents in each of the last three years, according to IU, an average of 8.85 per game.

IU is one of a number of schools that has moved toward allowing alcohol sales at sporting events. In the Big Ten, Ohio State, Rutgers, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, and Maryland have sold alcohol at football games.

Other schools, like Michigan State, Iowa, and Penn State, only serve alcoholic beverages to fans in premium seating, while Michigan has resisted serving alcohol altogether.

IU limited purchases of alcohol at Memorial Stadium to two drinks per transaction. Sales ended at the conclusion of the third quarter.

In the grand scheme, $180,000 is a drop in the bucket for a department that brought in nearly $123 million in revenues during the 2018 fiscal year. But it was an added amenity for fans, as well as a way to try and curb alcohol-related incidents in and around the stadium.

“Controlled alcohol sales not only enhance the game day experience, they assist our public safety officials by reducing binge drinking by fans prior to coming into the venue,” IU associate vice president for public safety Benjamin Hunter said in a statement. “We were impressed with the overall care, detail and safety of this pilot program.”

As far as the long-term future of beer and wine sales at IU sporting events, the athletic department will continue to evaluate the pilot program’s results. But it seems like the outcome was positive, in their view.

Final attendance figures

As far as how fans responded to IU’s 2019 offerings, Memorial Stadium did see a slight bump in attendance.

IU averaged 41,244 attendees during its six home football games, an increase from last season’s 40,965 figure. That means IU had the 10th-best attendance in the Big Ten, ahead of Maryland (37,812), Northwestern (37,736), Illinois (36,587), and Rutgers (30,082).

On the other hand, IU trailed Purdue (54,021) and Minnesota (44,929).

The top seven were Michigan (111,459), PSU (105,678), Ohio State (103,383), Nebraska (89,348), Wisconsin (76,472), Michigan State (67,819) and Iowa (65,557).

IU’s football attendance was relatively steady during the 2010s. Memorial Stadium hit a high of 44,802 during the 2012 season, but the Hoosiers finished 4-8. In 2017, the Hoosiers averaged 43,952 fans during a 5-7 year.

The 2018 season was IU’s lowest turnout since 2008; during the ’08 campaign an average of 31,782 fans viewed a 3-9 team. But with this season’s 8-4 record — and a bowl game still to play — the Hoosiers will hope attendance continues in an upward trend heading into 2020.

36 comments

  1. It was a good idea to sell beer and wine inside Memorial Stadium.

    As for attendance relative to 2012 and 2017, IU had a better team, a better record, and played both Michigan and OSU at home this season, but still had lower overall attendance. What’s that about? Please don’t blame highway construction on Route 37 from Bloomington to Indy!

    Let’s see now. Purdue averaged 54,021 per home game. That’s 12,777 per game more than IU. Assuming an average spend of $35 per person per game (conservative estimate for ticket, parking, food & beverages), that’s a difference of $2,683,170 in revenue for the season. Ouch! The Hoosier Nation should be embarrassed by those numbers!

    1. Po,
      Hoosier Nation has been my concern all along. All we hear is they won’t come until a winning product is on the field. Well, IUFB put an 8 win team on the field this year, and the attendance for them was pathetic. This is why I have and continue to maintain the real problem with IUFB and IU athletics in general is Hoosier Nation. The quality of product on the court or field will only rise to the level Hoosier Nation demands. The administration has zero fear of Hoosier Nation, therefore Hoosier Nation gets the product it deserves.

    2. PO, you should be embarrassed for buying the BS that PU is selling about its FB attendance. As I have posted several times, “Interestingly, Purdue’s official attendance took the highest jump in the country last season, up 13,433 fans per game, but the school said they couldn’t report the scanned figures to the [Wall Street] Journal because of “outdated equipment, connectivity problems and user error.”” For the Wall Street Journal article: https://www.google.com/search?q=wall+street+journal+college+football+attendance&oq=wall+street+journal+college+football+attendance&aqs=chrome..69i57.16425j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      And as I posted a few days ago, Ross-Ade Stadium capacity is listed at slightly over 57k. Saturday’s reported attendance was slightly over 55k. Help me out, folks: any of you at the game Saturday? If so, did you see a stadium anywhere close to 95%+ full? No freaking way! The place was at least 1/3 empty. PU’s figures are total baloney. If you believe PU’s self-reported average 54k attendance this year, you are one gullible person.

      1. You realize IU also counts tickets sold rather than actual attendees, too, right? Regardless, Purdue outdraws IU by a healthy margin in football, and that’s not a good thing.

  2. Attendance is based on ticket sales, not people entering the game. Check out I U Basketball attendance when students are on campus and you will see the 17,000 plus number reported in the box score even with a number of “No Shows” and empty seats at Assembly Hall.

    1. If that’s the case, then it should be called tickets sold, not “attendance.” But it’s not the case; as I mentioned, the couple sitting next to us (who left at the half) said that they had “won” their tickets at work, but the way they said it sounded like tickets were being given away and PU was papering the house. And as the article I quoted stated, attendance figures are supposedly derived from tickets scanned at the gate, but PU couldn’t report that on account of “outdated equipment, connectivity problems and user error.” Some engineering program they must have there in W. Laughingstock.

      1. Pretty sure we had this conversation a long time ago on Scoop(tickets ‘sold’ vs. ‘attendance’).

        Jeremy is welcome to weigh in. Though since we just had Thanksgiving ….and all those pies, maybe not.

        The weather was pretty damn miserable at Purdon’t. I would imagine there were a lot of no-show’s and the reported number was “sold” rather than “attendance.”

  3. davis, your point is irrelevant. The key point is, as think pointed out so well, is that attendance at IU home FB games is weak, especially for a program on the rise. And the Hoosier Nation has no excuses.

    Support IU FB or watch it eventually backslide into the basement of the Big Ten.

    1. davis is simply stating truth. Schools are inflating their numbers via ‘sales'(probably many season ticket sales) rather than actual fans present for a game. There is also a likelihood of ticket broker sales by the thousands(a stock market approach where brokers gamble/anticipate predictors for teams on the so-called ‘rise) which come with the hopes of buying low and selling high. For every 100 hundred tickets where a profit may be doubled comes hundreds more where gambles failed and tickets are merely dumped or swallowed with resale (the original sale is made but the butt is never in the seat).
      I could be wrong, but I believe schools report the original sale as attendance without regard to whether or not such ticket stub ever attends the game or finds a seat (explaining how attendance gets reported as 53,000 while only 2/3 that number are actually at the game on an ugly rainy day concluding a season where expectations, in Purdue’s case, fell short of early season “buy in” prospecting).

      True attendance(actual butts in seats) is hurting nationwide…outside a very few and select places where a fervor and passion for a team still remains unaffected by cultural changes, economics and changing priorities.

      Have any of you watched many of the early season college basketball games? Unless it’s a top-10 team in a gym, the attendance is awful with careful camera shots still failing to hide the sea of empty sections/seats.

      For having such a long drought on the biggest stages(football and basketball), Indiana has nothing to be ashamed. For all the criticism of football attendance (which is hurting at many other schools not IU), our storied McCracken(even in the midst of poor decisions to segregate wealth in Skjodt Hall) remains one of the few gems consistently near capacity and with unmatched passion(even when the ESPN cameras are not present).
      Enjoy the rare beauty of what Indiana fans still support through many years of very thin results. post banners….

    2. Irrelevant? PO, it was you who brought up the subject of Purdoo-doo’s attendance, cited its phony figures, and said that we should be embarrassed about how IU’s numbers compared. I addressed your post squarely.

      1. davis- Very good point. It’s his repeating theme. We should be embarrassed for everything under the sun…except for the 10-year embarrassment that set our basketball program back even further(as we bitch about football attendance and a winning season built on a baker’s dozen of cupcakes).
        Fans are going to need a little more proof than celebrating a whipped cream party. We’ll see how this “better” batter bowl thing goes…..

      2. Once again, you’re ignoring IUs phony figures, too, which are based on tickets sold rather than people through the gate. Purdue outdraws IU in football by some margin, which isn’t disputed by anyone.

    3. “Program on the rise” is still very up for debate.
      Ironic how the national media keeps mentioning our weak basketball schedule(before any sort of test last night) as many of you reiterate the point on the basketball threads. Yet, you refuse to acknowledge the unprecedented weak opponents for IU Football (outside the usual Murderer’s Row we became dearly departed) while blasting poor attendance.

      You use the dull atmosphere not typical of Skjodt Hall as a result of weak opponents, but claim little of the same arguments for weak attendance because of weak football opponents (Along with a likely open debate for “Hoosier Football Rising”…Like we haven’t heard that somewhere before…?) .

      A program is on the “rise” when you beat somebody in the Top 10….and then you go do it again with no curtsy. Don’t expect every fan giving up their cash to be naive in assessing the product when wins aren’t against notable competition. Your attendance is what you sometimes deserve based on who you are willing to play. And isn’t that what you just said on a basketball thread? Hoosier Rising! We’re Back! (don’t want to use that one with Hoosier Football).

      1. Weak opponents for the pre-conf. FB schedule makes sense ’cause a win is a win is a win when it comes to getting a bowl berth. But in BB, the pre-conf. schedule is irrelevant when it comes to making the tournament. If a BB team starts 2-8 but finishes in the top half of the Big Ten or any other major conference, it will almost certainly be in the tournament. So why not get some road experience against top competition in far away places? Check out Mich. State: heavy duty pre-conf. schedule every year and deep forays into the tournament just about every March for the last fifteen years or so.

        We can argue about too many bowls, also-ran bowls, and all that jazz, but that’s the system in which IUFB and everybody else operates. Which still means that Glass should schedule Notre Dame now. ‘Cause it would make me so happy!

      2. 2 thoughts on this H4H,

        First, in football, one of the things I have seen programs in very difficult conferences do, is deliberately schedule weaker schools. There is a very practical reason for doing so – attrition. When you are in a tough division, which IUFB is, you do not want to deplete your roster with injuries before conference play. It is going to be tough enough within conference and division, let alone any non-conference play. When you are a program trying to build, depth is a crucial element and you can’t afford to lose too many of your best players.

        With the transfer portal and and the kids beginning to finally figure out sitting on the bench at an elite school doesn’t help their careers, the depth issue is becoming more evident even for the most elite programs. Classic example is what we are seeing in the last couple years with Alabama football showing signs of decline from the elite pinnacle they have held for so long. Back in the early Corso years, IUFB scheduled USC and Nebraska in their prime resulting in terrible blowout losses. What good did that do in building the program? By the time you got into the B1G season you were already so beat up, there was nothing left.

        The second thing, in the case of Archie this year, is a team which had virtually never played together. With all the injuries last year, this year’s basketball team really had no on court competitive experience. What good would being 0-8 going into your B1G season do for your program? Yes, you played a tough schedule, but all you did was get your kids beat up and their confidence shattered.

        What this year’s basketball team needed more than anything was an extended period of glorified scrimmages to solidify team chemistry. If Archie called this one correctly, the proof will be in the B1G results at the end of the regular season. At this stage of his tenure, I am still willing to give Archie the benefit of the doubt, as to what his team needs to develop properly.

  4. I can remember about a decade or so ago when IU attendance averaged around 30k. Organic increases over Wilson/Allen show a positive trajectory. No argument about the trend. Continued game day performance attracting yearly increases of 3-5% is very positive. It isn’t like striking a match.

  5. Even Alabama has had issue keeping people at the games, especially students. It has gotten to the point there that they are tracking cell phone GPS and as a student if you leave early you lose your tickets for the rest or the season or the next game. Not sure which. Students are into investing 3-4 hours into a football game anymore. This is happening across the country. More and more schools are trying to figure out how to keep students at the game and failing to do so.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/13/alabama-is-penalizing-students-leaving-football-games-early-is-that-normal/

  6. Exactly, iuhoosier1992. And there will be thousands of empty seats at the lower to mid-tier bowl games. You could probably hold many of the bowl games at larger high school stadiums and have enough seats.
    But it’s all about the sell and keeping alive the illusion that interest is overflowing.
    Without tv deals, college football would be failing on balance sheets….Hard to say how long it can continue. I would imagine there is a point of demolishing returns and the few subsidizing the interest for the masses.

  7. You reference a societal trend, iuhoosier, and you make good points. As for Alabama keeping students inside the stadium through the entire game, I would suggest that when their team is blowing out an opponent, it becomes easy for Alabama students to justify getting a head start on the after-game parties. When your team is beating the crap out of some opponent and winning by 40 in the fourth quarter, and the outcome has been determined, to many folks, staying in the stadium is just wasting time. I doubt a lot of Bama fans leave the stadium in the middle of a close SEC game.

    IMO, the bottom line is that this vastly improved IU FB program deserves more support from the Hoosier Nation. Winning eight games and going to a significant bowl game justifies people choosing to support the team by attending home games. And if the students are too young to appreciate the improvement in IU FB, their vacancies should be filled up by more mature members of the Hoosier Nation.

    Next year, after finishing this season with either eight of nine wins, we’ll see if success on the field translates to an increase in home-game attendance. I certainly hope it does, but I still have concerns about the Hoosier Nation’s level of support for IU FB. Nice stadium, great campus, ideal college town, low ticket prices, beer and wine in the stadium, and a greatly improved FB team. It’s getting really hard to justify not attending IU’s home games.

  8. Are you one of those “mature fans” going to many games at Memorial….Or is your function to simply shout at the cyberspace sky…and the five to eight regulars on Scoop to get our asses to a football game? My ass is mature… I’ll take some of the blame for still not ridding my moldy brain of a half century of dead synapses due to IU football underperforming in decades of embarrassments against the better teams of the conference. Will you?

  9. It’s not just the students leaving at halftime. The alumni side starts heading to the tailgates with 5 minutes to go in the second quarter. Even during the Michigan game, when we were still in it. If they return, there is usually 7 minutes to go in the third. They need to do away with the passouts. You can get a cold beer now. No need to hit the parking lots at halftime. I’m curious if other schools allow ticket holders to leave and come back in later.

    1. Kramer exactly right all the way down to the ground. The 2 most recent HC’s have changed the IUFB culture in the locker room and on the field. It’s now time to manage the culture of the IU fan base. The game day alcohol option is optimum timing for the AD to set spur into refining some other conditions and actions to invite increased attendance and change some traditions for leaving early. It will not hurt attendance 1 bit.

  10. Vote with your feet. And people are doing that. Trapping people inside will just keep them out in the first place.

    If the product inside isn’t enough to keep people in the stand under their own will, then no policy change that keeps people inside will do it.

    This is just what’s happening now. There are other things people want to do with their time now. 4k 90″ TVs, every game can be watched on demand without having some drunk bonehead screaming and being an idiot behind you. Paying a fraction of the price to eat much better food, better drinks and whatever else floats your boat. In sports bars, you can be social, not just sitting in rows and only being able to talk to the handful of folks around you. Going to games isn’t as enticing as it once was.

  11. DD, I wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t sitting behind you. As for being an idiot and a bonehead, I’ve certainly been accused of that while watching a FB at memorial Stadium. (Just kidding. I’ve never been drunk while attending an IU Athletic event. I get too nervous/excited).

    I agree that a lot of people feel they have better ways to spend their time, especially young adults who can rip their eyes away from their cell phones for anything. But still, we’re talking 53,000 people to fill the stadium and over one million people live within a 90 minute drive of B-town. You’d think that a good, competitive IU FB team could entice 53,000 loyal fans to show up and watch a game through the third quarter.

    1. OSU has a million in population in their backyard…with no need of a 90 minute drive each direction to add to your four-hour game experience made to go at a crawl thanks to replay…and demands of television advertisers (as NatHillIV added).

      And, again, highly up for debate if ‘Hoosier Football Rising’….is actually in full swing.

      1. Best three year run for IUFB since 92-94 (25 years) but you refuse to acknowledge IUFB is rising.

        1. Nothing to acknowledge. It’s open for debate based on the extremely weak opponents the wins came against.
          People on Scoop…(and national ‘establishment’ operatives) don’t shut up about our weak basketball schedule leaving many uncertain of the quality of our team. It’s no different with football. You can’t make a sound evaluation of anything “rising” in quality until a team stands toe-to-toe with better competition and doesn’t shrink on big stages(e.g. hopefully, a strong bowl game opponent).

          Did you also purchase Crean’s #1 DVD hit, “Hoosier Rising?” Indiana(mostly Fred) does a lot of marketing and selling of catchphrases….Compared to the rest of the Midwest, he’s delivered very little in the way of “rising.” We’ve barely moved the needle in football….(if at all and the schedule may soon prove it was fools’ gold) and it took him 10 years to finally rid us of a very substandard basketball coach.

          It’s all good…I think our true road to “rising” is now with Archie Miller. If not, I’m still content on watching a true professional not treating candy stripes like a carnival act. Respect the banners over using them to elevate oneself…with catchphrases, promotional gimmicks, t-shirts, holier than thou twitter quotes…. and reunions.

          1. Yes, I was gifted a signed copy of “Hoosier Rising” a few Xmas’s ago. But that’s besides the point.

            As far as those “weak” opponents go, that schedule didn’t look very weak in the preseason. You can’t predict injuries and you can only play who is in front of you.

      1. Podunker didn’t have a beer but he did enjoy the ….?….whine! And it even came with a plastic Glass!

  12. IU doesn’t do much to encourage an old fart like me to go to football games.
    Parking is becoming more scarce every year.
    New buildings, fields, stadiums, concrete separators, trees, anything that can IU can think of to put in that lowers the number of parking spaces for football games.
    Security theater to prevent terrorists from blowing up (or stabbing infidels with a box cutter) at a football stadium. I know I’m terribly scared by the folks I see at an IU game.
    Blaring piped in instead of letting the marching 100 play.
    Red hat guy on field for an eternity holding up play.
    Games that take what seems like half a day by the time you leave from home and get back home.
    Nothing but ads on the scoreboard.
    That’s all I can think of to gripe about at the moment, but you get the idea.
    I am such an IU football FANatic, I’ll continue to grudgingly put up with all of it.
    But not everybody is that much of a fan.

  13. It isn’t just college that is having this issue. The NFL has seen attendance drop at games the last few years too. As some pointed out, I can sit at home in my nice reliner, watch any game on a 4K TV, don’t have to wait in line for a over priced food and easy access to my own bathroom. If I don’t like what I see during the IU game I am watching I can switch to another game that might be more intriguing. Football stadiums, both college and pro, are having a hard time getting people to the game and keeping them there. The millennial generation is not going to sit at a football game for 4 hours whether the team is good or not.

    1. IU92,
      I think you bring up a valid point. You can only push the limits so far before you price yourself out of the game. In order to pay the salaries being payed to the athletes and still have the organization remain profitable, every ounce of revenue is being mined. The problem is, you wind up with 4 hour football games which is stretching the limits of marketability, both in attendance and maybe at some point, viewership. Anything which diminishes the appeal to your patrons is going to cost you in terms of revenue, at some point.

      Doesn’t matter whether it is professional or “amateur” athletics, there is always a limit as to what the market will bear. Crossing that boundary many times will result in a push back to opposite direction far further than anticipated. Sometimes you can ruin your sport marketability for a prolonged period of time or even permanently.

  14. iuhoosier provides us a glimpse of the future of live sporting events, and it’s depressing.

    Some of my best and earliest memories involve attending IU FB games with my father, starting at the age of eight. I got hooked on IU by the 1967 team that went to the Rose Bowl. Those were such exciting games that year, and I still remember Terry Cole running for that TD against Purdue. A packed Memorial Stadium (attendance was 52,770 that day) went bonkers at the realization that IU had beaten Purdue and was going to the Rose Bowl. It saddens me to think that little boys and girls are being deprived of those types of experiences because their parents are too lazy or too preoccupied to take them to a live IU Football game.

    As an IU student in 1978, I still remember IU upsetting a highly-ranked University of Washington team in Bloomington. It was a beautiful day and the IU campus was rocking that night. The next year, in 1979 a bunch of my friends and I took a road trip down to watch IU play LSU. Corso’s team played LSU tough and the game went down to the wire, shocking most LSU fans who thought beating IU would be a cakewalk.

    I guess I just happened to be living in Bloomington at the right times and was fortunate to collect a few really great memories of IU Football (and Basketball).

  15. PO, I don’t think parents are necessarily too lazy to take their family to a game, but I bet a lot of breadwinners are too financially prudent. $50.00/ticket x 5, $6.00/hot chocolate x 5, + $20.00/parking and that’s $300.00. That might be a reasonable treat once a year, but making that a fall weekend tradition doesn’t make much economic sense for a lot of families.

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