The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Moody reopening may offer alcohol

The $47 million renovation of Moody Coliseum will be completed in time to host a doubleheader on Jan. 4. (ELLEN SMITH / The Daily Campus)

In the past six weeks, SMU Athletics has been focusing on the development of one unanimous recommendation of the President’s Task Force on Athletics Marketing, Attendance and Community Outreach: the sale of alcohol in Moody Coliseum and Ford Stadium.

“We’re working towards providing [the sale of beer and wine] to begin on Jan. 4 with the reopening of Moody Coliseum,” said Rick Hart, director of athletics and a task force co-chair. “Barring some unforeseen development or obstacle, that’s what we’re working towards. We’re still in the process of putting our plan together on how we would responsibly and in a controlled environment distribute beer and wine.”

The sale of alcohol in the two venues was one of 79 recommendations of the task force formed in March 2012. Its objectives were to increase attendance, enhance fan experience, enhance the SMU brand and maximize revenue.

“This is part of a whole addressing a bigger topic,” said Brad Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs and a task force co-chair.

Currently, Hart and Cheves are relying heavily on the guidance of Aramark, SMU’s food and beverage service provider. They say that Aramark is an industry expert that will help them figure out the distribution details.

Those details are being discussed and Hart was not able to name any specifics. However, he said there will be a specific serving cutoff time, limits on the number of beverages that can be purchased at a time, stand alone points of sale, ID checks, and some type of identifying process in the student section to help security officers differentiate between those of legal drinking age and others.

Stand alone points of sale shouldn’t be a problem in Ford Stadium’s large concourse but they will be more challenging in the more confined Moody Coliseum. All distribution will occur through licensed, certified vendors employed by Aramark, not regular concessionaires or volunteer organizations.

When it comes to the revenues from the alcohol sales, percentage share between Aramark and SMU Athletics has not been finalized.

“There will be a positive net effect on revenues,” Hart said. “But that’s not the driver of this decision. We haven’t and don’t plan to adjust our budget until we have a better feel for what those revenues might be.”

SMU would join seven of the 10 current American Athletic Conference schools that serve alcohol in all areas of their sports venues. Ford Stadium and Moody Coliseum would also join the AT&T; Stadium, American Airlines Center, Rangers Ballpark and other Dallas-Fort Worth sports and entertainment venues that serve beer and alcohol to customers. Hart said that all constituents represented on the task force recognized the expectations of the metroplex’s professional sports fans to have a drink with their experience.

“Now, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do and that’s why it required additional study,” Hart said. “We recognize that what makes us unique from those other venues is that we’re on a college campus and students are at the focal point of our events. We will have to do some things that are above and beyond what others do.”

The task force’s target demographic was broad based, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, board members, donors and ticket holders. “Maintaining a family atmosphere is very important to us which is why it will be important that we ensure that the distribution occurs in a responsible, controlled manner,” Hart said. “If for some reason this leads to a significant change in the environment and begins to affect health and safety issues, it may be short-lived. [It] will be very important that we maintain a family-friendly, collegiate environment. I think many of the venues here in Dallas have found a way to do that.”

With alcohol already accessible on the pre-game Boulevard, Hart said the task force is working to create the experience that people want to have, and are already having, on game day.

“In our current environment our fans are able to access beer and wine and they’ve done that in a responsible manner,” Hart said. “So, there’s nothing that would indicate that expanding those services into the venues would be overly problematic as compared to what’s already occurring. It makes the transition a little bit more palpable.”

Hart said that a proposal will be taken to President R. Gerald Turner once all details are finalized.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure that what we do respects best practices and is data-driven [and] that they’re proven methods,” Hart said. “If we do those things we should be in a position to begin serving when Moody reopens. If we run into things we don’t anticipate then that could still change.”

After a $47 million renovation, Moody Coliseum will reopen Jan. 4 with a men’s and women’s doubleheader.


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