Football games score liquor licence

AMS Campus Activities Commissioner, Dave Homuth, standing inside the new Boohoo Lounge.
AMS Campus Activities Commissioner, Dave Homuth, standing inside the new Boohoo Lounge.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) has granted the University permission to serve alcohol at all home football games this year.

The Boohoo Lounge—a fenced-off, licensed area at the north end of Richardson Stadium—will serve beer, pop and water beginning this Saturday at the Gael’s home opener against Guelph.

“I want to see every game like homecoming, and this is a step toward that,” said AMS campus activities commissioner Dave Homuth, who applied for the special occasion permit from the AGCO.

An increase in student attendance at varsity sports games was Homuth’s main goal in acquiring the liquor licence. While the homecoming game draws in excess of 10,000 people, Homuth said that half-filling the student stands at regular home games would be a success.

“It’s the AMS’s duty to do something about the chronic under-attendance of varsity sports,” Homuth said. “Varsity sports used to be a big part of the University experience.”

Jeremy Clarke, a first-year Politics Ph.D student, said the sale of beer at football games is a great incentive for students to attend.

“Where there’s beer, students will follow,” he said.

Kyle Galloway, Sci ’07 said he foresees one obstacle that could prevent an increase in attendance. “As long as [alcohol] prices are reasonable, then attendance will go up,” he said.

Homuth said the AMS Pub Services (TAPS) will staff the licensed area, and all employees are trained in monitoring the amount of alcohol patrons consume. He has also hired additional student constables, first aid responders, campus security and Kingston police to manage patrons in the lounge. The additional cost will fluctuate depending on attendance, he said.

“These are university-age students. They can be trusted to act responsibly,” Homuth said.

“The beer garden now promotes safe drinking,” he said.

Charles Scott, Sci ’07, agreed. “You can control [the alcohol] intake of the people drinking, so you can prevent extreme intoxication that could lead to fights,” he said.

Homuth said the licensed area offers a better view of the game than the beer tent set up for previous homecoming games, because the new area, which can hold 1,650 people, sits slightly elevated on a hill.

“Before you went to drink or watch the game, but now you can do both,” he said.

Simon Kiss, a first-year Politics Ph.D student, said the University is handling the licence in the wrong way.

“I think it could be made better by allowing the entire stadium to drink beer,” he said.

The Boohoo Lounge has two bars with four lines, structures that Homuth essentially calls “the equivalent of eight mini-bars.” The lounge will open an hour before kick-off during every home game. There is a five-dollar entrance fee, which will be waived for undergraduates.

“People may be more rowdy, but that could be a good thing,” said Diana Iacconi, ArtSci ’06.

“I’m sure there will be lots more spirit and people will get more into [the game],” she said.

Alumni will also have access to the Boohoo Lounge, and Homuth said this will encourage mingling between alumni and students.

“It’s usually a tradition to watch a football game and have a beer, so I think a lot of people would be happy to have beer provided at games,” said Erin Dupuis, ArtSci ’05.

While most Frosh are underage, Homuth said a licensed area should not deter them from attending football games.

“Campus Activities is trying to provide 100 per cent support for all ages, and we have more activities planned for the year,” he said.

Bruce Griffiths, director of food and hospitality services, said those who are underage should not expect to be served alcohol.

“I don’t see a reason for any backlash as the licensing is a service provided to those who can legally consume [alcohol],” Griffiths said.

Similar to past homecoming games, Homuth said that Sodexho will now be setting up a BBQ on the North and South side of the alumni stands at every home game, due to liquor licence regulations.

Any surplus from the Boohoo Lounge’s sales will go to Varsity Athletics, and any additional revenue from homecoming weekend will go toward balancing the potential financial losses from other home games. Homuth said even if the Boohoo Lounge loses money, the University could still benefit.

“If it succeeds in bringing more students to games, then it’s a success,” he said.

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