Alcohol a security problem, but NFL loves sales

NFL security chief Milt Ahlerich estimated that more than 90 percent of fan behavior problems are alcohol-related. If that's the case, then the league has an inherent conflict - evident by the beer ad on a flap of the Browns' 2008 pocket schedule:

Beer companies are valued NFL sponsors. Alcohol sales contribute to game-day revenue.

At Browns games, fans literally go from tossing cans and cups of beer into trash cans at the gates to vendors selling cold ones no more than a first down away. Then the league tries to set an example, asking fans to act and drink responsibly while promising to crack down on those who don't.

"It's virtually impossible to balance without someone crying foul," said David Carter, a sports business professor at USC.

It's also virtually impossible to control entirely.

For instance, most college football stadiums are dry. Operators stopped selling alcohol at Southern Cal games about three years ago, which costs the university and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission a combined $1.4 million a year.

The move also encouraged many fans to get sloshed before games instead.

"There is no easy way to go about it," Carter said.

Don't worry, beer drinkers. The NFL isn't about to eliminate alcohol sales. It's in pro football's DNA.

"We believe strongly that you can have alcohol sold and used responsibly in our stadiums," Ahlerich said. "We know it can be done. We see it by a larger percentage of our fans."


Loading