Well folks, maybe Mitch Barnhart does listen to what the fans think after all. It was announced on Friday that the Kentucky Athletics Director had approved a “pilot program” to allow alcohol sales, starting out at baseball and softball games. This is huge news for Kentucky Athletics fans who enjoy an adult beverage, while they cheer on their Wildcats.
“Our priority is, as always, to positively impact our student athletes and the experience of our fans,” Barnhart said. “As has been our longstanding practice, we approached this deliberately, keeping in mind our priorities and principles. We focused on data and the lessons learned and best practices from other institutions. After careful consideration of these factors, we concluded that the time is right to implement a pilot program at baseball and softball games this season so that we can learn more.”
“Mitch and his team moved thoughtfully through a process that led to this pilot program,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “The decision to initiate a pilot program is one that the institution grappled with, and the methodical approach taken by the athletics department will lead to the best experience for our student-athletes and sports fans alike. It is through that lens that we will make decisions about future seasons.”
While we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, thinking that the Coors Light and Maker’s Mark will be flowing at Kroger Field this fall, we can be excited that the administration has finally recognized the desires of the fans. Ultimately, this move is likely related to the huge amounts of revenue that other SEC schools have raked in via alcohol sales. Schools like LSU generated over $2 million in alcohol sales for home football games alone. This is a huge key to funding the smaller revenue athletic programs, as well as giving the larger programs more money to use for things like facilities upgrades and possibilities for NIL opportunities.
Here is Information regarding the pilot program (via UK Athletics):
Alcohol beverage sales will include beer and seltzer products, sold in cans or cups
Sales will have a limit of two per transaction.
Identification check will take place at each transaction.
Alcohol sales at baseball will conclude at the completion of the top of the seventh inning (i.e., middle of the seventh).
Alcohol sales at softball will conclude at the completion of the top of the fifth inning (i.e., middle of the fifth).