KNOXVILLE (UT Athletics) — In an effort to enhance the fan experience at home football games, UT will implement alcohol sales at Neyland Stadium starting with the BYU game on Saturday, Sept 7.
During the summer, a group appointed by Chancellor Donde Plowman has been developing policies and infrastructure to support responsible alcohol sales in accordance with all applicable laws. Throughout this process, the university placed an ardent emphasis on fan experience, safety, and security.
“I appreciate everyone whose efforts have helped us develop what we believe is a comprehensive and responsible plan for alcohol sales at home football games,” UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said. “The game day experience at Neyland Stadium is historic and unrivaled, and I’m confident these new concessions options will aid our continued efforts to enhance that experience for Tennessee fans and visitors throughout the stadium.
“We remain committed to providing a safe, positive, and family-friendly atmosphere in our venues and have measures in place to assure that standard is met.”
Trained and licensed servers will sell beer throughout the stadium at concession stands and kiosks, excluding areas near the student section. Wine also will be sold in the Tennessee Terrace and East and West Clubs. Complimentary water will be available from large “Water Monster” tanks located in the concourse.
A maximum of two alcoholic beverages may be purchased per transaction, and fans are asked to be patient while waiting in line. Per Southeastern Conference policy, each alcoholic beverage must be poured into a clear cup upon purchase.
Beer sales throughout the entire stadium will conclude at the end of the third quarter, and alcohol will not be allowed to leave the stadium. Personnel at the gates will ensure that all cups containing alcohol are poured out and empty as patrons exit the venue.
Regardless of age, everyone will be required to produce a valid photo ID each time alcohol is purchased. Accepted IDs include valid driver’s licenses, military ID cards, passports, and government-issued photo ID cards.
Individuals consuming alcohol must be able to produce a valid photo ID at all times, as stadium personnel may ask to see an ID at locations away from the original point of sale. Anyone consuming alcohol must be able to prove—at any time or location—that they are age 21 or older.
Law enforcement and game day staff will be trained and focused on alertness to binge drinking, underage drinking, and other potential alcohol-related incidents in all areas of the stadium.
Individuals will be ejected from the venue and are subject to prosecution if they pass off alcohol to a minor, attempt to use a fake ID, or are intoxicated.
A game day text-message system is in place for fans who request assistance due to inappropriate fan behavior or for medical or custodial issues. If such a situation arises, fans are asked to send a text to 69050, beginning with VOLS and then including their seat location and a description of the issue. They will receive a confirmation text and appropriate staff will respond.
Ride sharing and designated drivers
On game days, a designated ride-share pickup area will be located on Circle Drive near Ayres Hall (not Circle Park).
Game attendees who visit the fan information booth at Gate 21 and register as designated drivers, pledging to refrain from alcohol consumption, will receive a wristband and a voucher for a free water or soft drink. Designated drivers can register through halftime and will be asked to provide their name, driver’s license number, email, section, row, and seat number.
Clear bag policy
Tennessee’s clear bag policy remains in effect for all athletic events. Additional game day info—such as parking and first-aid maps, permitted and prohibited items, and code of conduct—can be accessed at UTsports.com/gameday.
Q: When did the sale of alcohol at athletic events become permissible for Southeastern Conference member schools?
A: At the 2019 SEC spring meetings, conference presidents and chancellors voted to allow campuses the authority to make decisions relative to the sale of beer and wine in public areas at athletic events. As part of the policy that was approved, all beverages must be served in a cup, and no more than two alcoholic beverages may be purchased per transaction. In addition, each transaction will require a valid ID. The SEC game management policy on alcohol can be accessed at secsports.com/article/26864537/sec-revises-conference-alcohol-policy.
Q: How did the UT arrive at the decision to implement alcohol sales at athletic events?
A: During the summer, Chancellor Donde Plowman appointed a group to examine the feasibility and review what it would take to responsibly move forward with the sale of alcohol while prioritizing student and participant well-being, safety, and security. That group also worked—along with the official vendor, Aramark—on the development of policy and infrastructure to responsibly implement sales in accordance with state law.
Q: When during game day will alcohol be available for purchase?
A: Alcohol sales will begin when gates open—two hours before kickoff—and will conclude at the end of the third quarter.
Q: Can I request an extra empty cup when I purchase alcohol?
A: No. In an attempt to discourage overserving and pass-offs to underage patrons, servers are prohibited from providing customers with additional cups at the point of sale.
Q: Is it still permissible to enter the stadium with an empty see-through container?
A: Yes. The containers must be empty and see-through (metal Yeti-style tumblers, for example, are prohibited). To promote hydration, bottled water will be abundantly available for purchase throughout the stadium, and complimentary water will be available from large “Water Monster” tanks located in the concourse.
Q: What should I do if I suspect someone near me has consumed too much alcohol or has passed alcohol off to a minor?
A: You can inform the nearest usher. You can also send a text—beginning with the word VOLS—to 69050, and include your seat location and a description of the issue. Stadium personnel will respond. The text-messaging system also applies to medical and custodial issues.
Q: When will alcohol be available for purchase at other UT sports/venues?
A: The university is still working through specific implementation dates for other sports/venues. However, no alcohol sales at other athletic venues will precede the Sept. 7 football game vs. BYU at Neyland Stadium.