A new pilot program will allow UF sports fans to enjoy alcoholic drinks while watching Spring sporting events.
On Feb. 6, the University Athletic Association announced the expansion of alcohol sales for Spring sports. After serving alcohol at men’s basketball games during the season opener in November, the UAA implemented a pilot program that will allow baseball, softball and lacrosse fans to purchase alcohol at games.
The alcohol sold includes 12-ounce beers, 8-ounce wines and 12-ounce seltzers.
Steve McClain, the senior associate athletics director, said the decision took place after the SEC announced a revision to its existing limitations on the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletic events back in May.
SEC athletic programs have been prohibited from selling alcohol in public areas of athletic venues in the past.
The new policy requires any SEC institution choosing to permit alcohol sales at athletic events to establish policies governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.
Sales and distribution of alcohol will stop at the top of the seventh inning for baseball, end of the top of the fifth inning for softball and at the 15-minute mark of the second half in lacrosse.
Ana Mata, a 22-year-old UF criminology senior, said she is more likely to attend sporting events with the alcohol expansion.
“My friends and I usually watch games at a bar. So now that alcohol is served at games, we can enjoy our drinks at the actual game,” Mata said.
The operations of the university police department have not changed with the implementation of the pilot program, said UFPD spokesperson Brad Barber.
“We have had meetings in collaboration with UAA to ensure that alcohol is only sold to those who are legally authorized to buy drinks,” Barber said.
Centerplate, which operates concessions on behalf of the UAA in its athletic facilities, will continue to train staff by following its responsible alcohol service policies and state laws, according to a press release.
Guest services will also have staff training with the Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management Coalition, McClain said.
The pilot program is in progress, and the UAA said it will continue evaluating alcohol sales with the idea of expanding the program to other events.