It’s beer o’clock at Rice-Eccles

By By Tom Quinn, , and

By Tom Quinn

For about the last week, I’ve had exactly one thing on my mind: booze.

I’m no alcoholic; in fact, the opposite is true. As a card-carrying Mormon, I’ve never so much as tasted beer. I smelled vodka once, and the decidedly uncomfortable burning sensation in my nose and eyes convinced me right then and there that I would never be able to live in Russia. Alas, I?digress.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about alcohol not as an intoxicant but rather as a source of revenue for the U. We’re sitting on a veritable gold mine, and all we have to do to capitalize on it is start selling beer at the U’s sporting events.

Before all you members of the Mormon Fundamentalist Jihad condemn my eternal soul to hell, take a gander at my economic reasoning.

In 2004, the average price of beer sold at professional football stadiums was about $5 a glass, with Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City offering the cheapest libations at $4.25 a pop. Now let’s imagine a situation in which beer is available at Rice-Eccles Stadium. If the Utes manage to draw 30,000 people, maybe 30 percent of those folks will enjoy some Rocky Mountain cold refreshment. For those of you who don’t have a calculator, 9,000 people times $5 a glass grosses dang near $45,000, enough money to pay the annual tuition of 12 Utahns.

Furthermore, those numbers reflect the gross earnings of just one game with approximately 15,000 empty seats. There’s no telling how many people would buy beer when a team like BYU comes to town. Hell, I’d buy one just so I could spill it all over one of those lousy blue ‘ballers. Of course, I am completely clueless as to the feasibility of my grand master plan, mainly because Utah’s liquor laws are harder to understand than a person from New Jersey, you know what I’m sayin’?

I read said laws from top to bottom without finding a single reference to the sale of beer in stadiums, though I did find an interesting section that dealt with “educational wine-tasting seminars.”

From what I understand, Utah liquor laws have a tendency to prohibit the sale of booze anywhere near schools and churches, a fact that would certainly stand in the way of the U making thousands of extra dollars by selling alcohol at its sporting events. The creators of Utah’s current liquor policy are clearly oblivious to the potentially life-changing impact that alcohol could have on both sports and college.

Anyone who has seen the movie “Animal House” already knows that students are at their sharpest and high jinks at their funniest when spirits are involved. Assuming that everything I’ve seen in movies and on television is true, selling beer at Rice-Eccles Stadium would invariably result in a happier, more enthusiastic student body. I’m told that with enough alcohol in one’s system, even the halftime show can seem entertaining.

Seriously, folks, beer is not inherently evil. And with all the revenue brought in by its sale at sporting events, we could afford to buy fur coats for every man, woman and child in the greater Salt Lake area. So let this be our battle cry: “It’s here! It’s beer! Get used to it!”