BOONE — Appalachian State grossed $311,310 in alcohol sales during the inaugural year of beer and wine sales at Kidd Brewer Stadium, retaining approximately 46 percent of it as net proceeds, according to figures released by the university.
According to figures obtained in a public records request, net revenue for the seven home football games in 2019 came out to $143,358 after $167,952 in expenses were deducted.
Overall, officials felt good about the first year of sales.
“Our goal was to offer this additional amenity to continue to attract fans to App State, and the 2019 sales data indicated a positive response,” said App State athletics spokesperson Joey Jones.
The $311,310 gross figures came from six regular season home games at Kidd Brewer Stadium plus the 2019 Sun Belt Football Conference Championship game on Dec. 7.
The $143,358 in net revenue goes into two different funds, Jones said.
“The net proceeds support both App State athletics and (App State) Campus Dining Services,” Jones said. “Athletics proceeds directly fund student-athlete scholarships. Campus Dining Services proceeds are reinvested into operations to enrich the quality of life for App State students.”
The gross sales numbers do not include alcohol sales in the club-level seats, Jones said. Alcohol sales in the club level have been ongoing for a number of years.
The average gross was $44,472.86 per game and the average net revenue came out to $20,479.71 per game.
The largest-single game gross sales and net revenue came on Sept. 7 versus UNC-Charlotte, which was also the highest-attended game of the season. Alcohol sales topped $62,021 from 29,182 in attendance that day. After $33,562 in expenses were taken out, the net revenue for Sept. 7 came out to $28,459.
Each of the first four home games, which took place from Aug. 31 to Oct. 19, grossed more than $47,000 in alcohol sales each. Those games were also the highest attended of the season, with at least 25,000 attending each game.
The last two regular season home games saw a dip in sales, both of which can be attributed to poor weather conditions. The Thursday, Oct. 31, night game versus Georgia Southern grossed $30,941 with 18,796 in attendance and the Saturday, Nov. 23, home game versus Texas State grossing $26,491 with a reported 22,125 in attendance.
The Sun Belt Football Conference Championship game on Dec. 7, grossed $45,760 in alcohol sales with a reported 18,618 in attendance on a good weather day.
According to Jones, expenses included cost of product, vendor commission, labor, refrigeration and infrastructure, among others.
“Logistics, staffing, equipment and inventory amounts varied each week based on overall demand,” Jones said.
The sale of alcohol to general seats at Kidd Brewer Stadium comes after Gov. Roy Cooper signed North Carolina House Bill 389 into law on June 26 to allow public universities to sell beer and wine at athletics facilities. Following the passage, ASU’s Board of Trustees approved a resolution on July 25 to allow the university to seek alcohol sales permits for athletics facilities, which was formally announced for Kidd Brewer Stadium on Aug. 23. Alcohol sales have since been implemented for the Holmes Convocation Center for App State home basketball games.
Out of the UNC system’s 15 post-secondary institutions with athletic programs, nine have approved alcohol sales at athletic venues since June in various capacities. The nine are Appalachian State, UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, N.C. A&T State, Western Carolina, UNC-Wilmington and UNC-Asheville. Those nine include all five of the UNC system’s institutions that compete in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision.
Out of the UNC system’s FBS institutions, N.C. State reported the highest alcohol sales numbers in 2019, with $633,320 in gross sales from 74,029 units over seven home games, according to athletics department spokesmen Fred Demarest. N.C. State averaged 56,466.3 attendees per game in its 57,483-seat Carter-Finley Stadium in 2019.
The athletics department at UNC-Chapel Hill reported $606,167 in gross alcohol sales during six home football games at Kenan Stadium in 2019.
“We sold 70,899 units of alcohol, including beer, wine and hard seltzers,” UNC-Chapel Hill athletics spokesperson Steve Kirschner said. “For context, we also sold 73,206 bottles of water and 47,750 cups of soda.”
UNC-Chapel Hill reported a sell-out crowd of 50,500 for all six home games in 2019 at Kenan Stadium.
According to East Carolina University athletics spokesperson Tom McClellan, football games brought in $282,000 in alcohol sales revenue in the 2019 season and had an estimated $70,000 in combined expenses at its six home football games. According to its game reports, ECU averaged 32,676.5 people per home game at the 50,000-seat Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in 2019.
The other UNC system program with an FBS football program, UNC-Charlotte, did not have alcohol sales figures immediately available. Spokesperson Tom Whitestone said on Jan. 21 that alcohol sales figures for football would be available in the “next couple weeks.”
UNC-Asheville, as well as UNC-Wilmington, does not have a football program. According to UNC-Asheville athletics spokesman Stefan Nolet, its program is a one-year pilot program at select men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games. UNC-Wilmington’s alcohol sales were planned for the entire basketball schedule and are being proposed for additional campus sports venues, according to the Wilmington Star News.
Western Carolina is the most recent to approve beer and wine sales, with its board of trustees doing so on Dec. 10, 2019. The approval came after a special committee was tasked in August 2019 to “examine pros and cons of having those alcoholic beverages available at university sporting events,” according to a WCU news release.
An alcohol sales implementation plan will be presented at the WCU Board of Trustees meeting in March, WCU said in a statement.
“Among the findings of the committee was strong support in favor of beer and wine sales from the local community, alumni, faculty, staff and students,” WCU Board of Trustees member Tim Haskett said at the December 2019 meeting. “Most of the interviewees said they considered the sale of beer and wine foremost as an enhancement to the fan experience.”
Other UNC system schools, including Appalachian State, were contacted by the WCU special committee, the news release stated.
UNC-Greensboro, Winston-Salem State University, N.C. Central, UNC-Pembroke, Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State have not allowed alcohol sales at campus sites; this was either confirmed with the Watauga Democrat or through other media reports.
UNC-Greensboro said “no” to general alcohol sales for campus athletic events, but its men’s basketball program mostly competes at the off-campus Greensboro Coliseum, which does sell alcohol.
The institutions that declined the option to sell alcohol at campus sporting events in the 2019-20 athletic season includes all four Division 2 football-playing members — WSSU, UNCP, FSU and ECSU.