In years past, an obsolete bylaw set the Southeastern Conference apart as the only power-five conference to prevent athletic venues from selling alcohol in general seating areas. Instead, its member institutions were forced to contain alcohol distribution within premium seating areas like Vanderbilt Baseball’s Beer Tent.
Over the summer, however, the Southeastern Conference revised its outdated policy regarding in-stadium alcohol sales. For the first time, the choice to stay dry was to be made by the school, not the conference.
“Each institution is permitted to determine the permissibility of selling alcoholic beverages in athletics venues and shall establish a policy governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in its athletics facilities,” the conference’s website states.
Vanderbilt Athletic Director Malcolm Turner and his cohort used football as a trial run, permitting widespread sales in Vanderbilt Stadium. Now, according to the department’s press release, they’ll make the same adjustment at both Memorial Gymnasium and Hawkins Field.
“After the initial launch of alcohol sales for the 2019 football season and learning that those sales have been welcomed by our fans as a great enhancement to their overall game day experience, we’re excited to announce the addition of alcohol sales for men’s and women’s basketball and baseball,” said Malcolm Turner, the vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs.
The SEC still prohibits sales of any hard-alcoholic beverages, but there won’t be a shortage of options: the Commodores will provide a variety of domestic and imported beers, spiked seltzers and more courtesy of their licensed vendor, Spectra. In compliance with conference, state and local policies, all guests will be limited to two beverages per purchase.
According to Vanderbilt Athletics, a portion of the yielded revenue will go towards supporting on-campus alcohol prevention and education programs.
Sales will begin as soon as the gates open (two hours before the game starts). The SEC requires its member institutions to conclude sales at the following times:
Men’s Basketball – sales end at the 12-minute, second-half television timeout.
Women’s Basketball – sales end at the conclusion of the third quarter.
Baseball – sales end at the conclusion of the seventh inning.
In Memorial Gymnasium, fans can find alcohol at concession stands in the West Lobby, the Northeast Dance Studio Mezzanine Levels, and both the north and south second level sections.
Hawkins Field will continue providing alcohol in its premium seating section, The Home Run Lounge, and will introduce sales to the general public in concession stands by the third base concourse.
In compliance with SEC regulations, alcohol will not be dispensed from mobile vendors in seating sections – instead, it will only be provided at the designated, stationary concession stands.