Point/Counterpoint: Should Queen's sell alcohol at sporting events?

Allowing alcohol sales at on-campus sporting events could be a new source of revenue for many schools, but it also comes with its fair share of hurdles.
Allowing alcohol sales at on-campus sporting events could be a new source of revenue for many schools, but it also comes with its fair share of hurdles.

YES- Adam Laskaris, Sports Editor

I once witnessed a Queen’s student getting caught for sneaking beers into a Queen’s hockey game. This sight isn’t too uncommon, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

A large portion of Queen’s students like to drink on Friday and Saturday nights. A large portion of Queen’s students also don’t attend university sporting events on those days.

Alcohol currently isn’t sold at any campus sporting events, but it should be.

The only Queen’s-affiliated sporting events that sells alcohol are select football games, but only in certain areas that are restricted from student access. For most Queen’s sports, home game attendance often hovers in the low hundreds, with crowds of even 1,000 for non-football events a rare sight.

There are a few reasons why alcohol sales would ultimately benefit the Queen’s athletic community.

A lot of students like to drink alcohol, and people who are drinking often like to get loud. A home team with a loud rowdy crowd is more likely to win.

That’s not to say alcohol is going to be the deciding factor in every game. But rowdy crowds can develop an atmosphere at an often empty ARC or Memorial Centre. If a few hundred more students show up to games, it can help create a place where road teams don’t want to come for fear of being intimidated by the home crowds.

So while it may take time for a large body like Queen’s Athletics to get a liquor license, the benefits would outweigh the negatives.

A main concern is that the alcohol will lead to poor crowd behavior and affect the family-friendly atmosphere. But by including security and designating student sections, Athletics can combat intermingling and families can still feel welcomed.

Underage drinking would be no more of a problem here than anywhere else on campus. With proper training of staff (who would likely be StuCons), it’s easy to properly ID patrons, especially when a student card is involved.

While alcohol would lead to added security costs, university sports have never been real money-making opportunities in Canada, unlike college sports in the U.S. At the very least the move should be put into place as to bring in as many students as possible to home games.

The CIS doesn’t currently have a public policy against the sale of alcohol, stating only in official policy that: “Any sponsorship of alcohol must be accompanied by an educational piece, ensuring participants are fully aware of alcohol abuse.”

If you can buy alcohol across the street at QP, or at a Frontenacs game, which advertises a family-friendly atmosphere, there’s no reason Queen’s shouldn’t be selling alcohol at games in the ARC.

NO- Joseph Cattana, Assistant Sports Editor

An alternate reality to consider: Queen’s home games are packed with the loudest student section in Canada, making the ARC, Nixon Field and Richardson Stadium some of the toughest places to play in the country.

Unfortunately, game attendance is rarely in the hundreds. 

As a student I understand the appeal of selling alcohol at games, but the drinking culture present at universities across Canada leaves me very hesitant.

With most colleges and universities across North America struggling with underage drinking on campus, it’s frowned upon to sell beer at their stadiums. 

I’ve seen too many nights where  students stagger through  the streets of Kingston at a barely functioning level. The ARC doesn’t need this kind of hassle.

Alcohol consumption at sporting events is linked to injuries, altercations, harassment and inappropriate public behaviour.

From my own experience of reporting, I’ve seen many families brought to Queen’s events. But the actions of drunken university students would put them off.

Those who aren’t non-Queen’s students actually have to pay for games, and they generate a small profit for the University in regards to ticket sales. 

If there was a rise in alcohol consumption at the games, there’s a greater chance many patrons would turn away from an environment they no longer deem family-friendly.

At the University of Colorado  Boulder, the school has banned beer sales at sporting events since 1996. The university cited many incidents of violence linked to drunken fans. This type of ban isn’t uncommon around the country.

At a school like Queen’s, with a long history of incidents linked to drunk students, the community doesn’t need another opportunity to get in the news for all the wrong reasons.

It’s difficult to compare, but only about 30 of the 120 largest American schools allow sales of beer or other forms of alcohol inside their stadiums.

Even then, they limit sales to select areas of the stadium — often keeping them away from the student section.

There are many places around to buy alcohol, but student athletic venues don’t need to be one of them.

Queen’s sports shouldn’t be exclusionary, as in many cases, they’re the highest level of that sport in the area.

By promoting alcohol sales,  some people will be pushed away. 

While I’d enjoy the experience of being able to watch the game with a beer, it doesn’t seem to be worth the headaches it would cause.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.