CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — With the start of the Illinois football season in August, the crowds at Memorial Stadium will now be able to purchase beer in public concession stands.
Illinois announced the addition of beer sales in April. They tested it during the final three home series of the baseball season. Josh Whitman said that test run went well.
The athletic department did multiple surveys with fans asking what they wanted for the fan experience. Whitman said overwhelmingly the answer to each survey was the chance to buy beer inside athletic facilities. Now, they will be able to.
“Well, I think, I wouldn’t dismiss the obvious. It’s a chance to get people to buy more tickets. To use those tickets. To come to the game earlier. To stay at the game longer. Ultimately, we want people to be in the stands. And we also take a lot of pride in being responsive to our fans. And overwhelmingly, we’ve surveyed them, we’ve talked to them, we’ve solicited their feedback, the number one thing they wanted was the opportunity to buy beer at public concession stands,” Whitman said. “We had resisted that long enough. We wanted to see it become nationally acceptable and we we’re at a place now where over half the Big Ten schools are serving beer to the public. Over, I think 50 schools in the FBS are doing beer sales in their football stadiums so we felt like it was time now where with the blessing of the campus police and the support of our dining partner, that we were in a good position to roll that out and hopefully it will be a great success for us.”
Memorial Stadium, State Farm Center, Illinois Field, and Eichelberger Field will all begin selling beer at their home games starting in August.