Beaver Stadium. Photo by Ben Jones, StateCollege.com
Penn State is exploring the possibility of selling alcohol to the general public at Beaver Stadium, but must still receive approvals before plans can move forward, an athletic department spokesperson confirmed Wednesday night.
“The expansion of liquor sales at Beaver Stadium has been considered and we have plans in place for this possibility,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement to StateCollege.com “The University will need to secure the board of directors and other necessary approvals before proceeding.
The move would break a long-standing university position that alcohol would not be sold to the general public at the venue during Nittany Lion football games.
Penn State has held a public place liquor license for the stadium since 2016, but has only permitted the sale of alcohol in suites and club areas. Pegula Ice Arena has a similar policy. The Bryce Jordan Center and Medlar Field at Lubrano Park allow the sale of alcohol at non-Penn State Athletics events, such as concerts and State College Spikes games.
Citing anonymous sources, the Daily Times Center reported earlier Wednesday that Penn State was preparing to use the Sept. 24 game against Central Michigan as a tryout for liquor sales, which would include a two-drink limit per person.
The move would present an obvious financial opportunity for an athletics department seeking to serve in the ongoing arms race of college athletics. Compared to the conference as a whole, Ohio State began selling alcohol to the general public in 2016 and generated $1.1 million in revenue. The following year, that figure rose to $1.23 million.
A sports department investigation of “selected constituencies” in the spring included a question about alcohol sales at Beaver Stadium, but the results of that survey were not made public
Details regarding the potential sale of alcohol are limited, although given the need for the Penn State Board of Directors to approve the decision, it seems unlikely that the plan will be implemented in time for the game. Nittany Lions home opener against Ohio on Sept. 10. The Penn State board of directors is scheduled to meet Sept. 22-23, just before Penn State returns to Beaver Stadium to take on Central Michigan after traveling to Auburn in week three of the season. The board may, however, schedule special meetings.
If approved, the move would be the first major change and decision made under new athletic director Patrick Kraft. He assumed the role in July after the retirement of longtime Intercollegiate Athletics vice president Sandy Barbour, who had long been publicly against the potential for alcohol sales to the general public at Beaver Stadium during games. Penn State.
Geoff Rushton, editor of StateCollege.com, contributed to this report.