Story by Jarrod Castillo Staff Writer, Illustration by Nolawi S. Wolde Yohannes Illustrator
After a 12-year drought at sporting events, alcohol has made its way back to concessions at Walter Pyramid along with a VIP “Courtside Sand Bar,” which could bring hoards of fans back into the stands.
Roger Kirk, the Assistant Athletics Director for Long Beach Athletics, says that fans and donors alike have “really missed” the sale of alcohol at sporting events and are excited for its return.
“I’m sure many of them had figured it was in the works after that executive order went through,” he said. “But they were excited. Not in a crazy way, but as as people who want to have one beer while they’re watching the game, and now they’ll have the opportunity to do that.”
Kirk says the Beach is one of the more well-attended universities when it comes to men’s basketball compared to other schools, but the implementation of Executive Order 966 might have turned some fans away.
“I think there are certainly people that, when the alcohol sales went away, it may have affected and they chose not to go to games,” he said. “If this is a way to get those people back, then we’re all for it.”
In addition to bringing fans back, Kirk says that the re-introduction of alcohol will improve the atmosphere of the games as there is a certain excitement that comes along with it.
“People have a tendency to get more engaged in the atmosphere and I think it’ll be exciting,” he said. “We’re always looking for anything we can do to help create a great fan experience, and I think this is one way we can help accomplish that.”
As it currently stands, alcohol will be limited to two per transaction, following general practices at events that sell alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol will stop being served at a certain time during the event, to make sure no one is over-served. For example, during men’s basketball games, alcohol will stop being served at the end of halftime.
Kirk says he’s personally glad to have alcohol sales back, as fans have been asking for its return for years. Getting the opportunity to provide that for the fans is “gratifying” for him, as long as it is done in the right way.
The precautions follow the rules and regulations that have been set up by the California Alcohol Control Board as well as 49er Shops, the sports department, University Police and the university at large.
“I think it’s important to continue to ID responsibly and make announcements, same as we do at Blair [Field], to make sure that everyone drives home safely,” he said in regards to making sure people drink responsibly.
“They’re little things but as long as you keep hitting them, hopefully people get the message,” Kirk said.