The 109,901-seat Big House will remain an alcohol-free environment for the foreseeable future. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
The largest football stadium in the country will remain completely alcohol-free, even as the sixth largest stadium in the country explores the idea of selling alcohol throughout its 100,000-plus seats.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said that the nearly 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium would remain completely alcohol-free -- and that applies to the premium seating, too -- moving forward.
Alcohol was sold inside the stadium for the NHL’s Winter Classic on Jan. 1, but that took a special OK from the state legislature. There has been no legislative approval for the sale of libations at Wolverines football games.
Brandon cited the liability involved with selling alcohol in the presence of so many underage fans and the cost of adding the infrastructure necessary to pull off the change as reasons to keep the stadium completely dry, as first reported by Ann Arbor News' Kellie Woodhouse.
But as Michigan shuts its doors to alcohol, others around the country have started to open the taps.
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While a host of schools allow beer, wine and liquor sales in suites -- sometimes with strict rules that require the suite owner to purchase a capped quantity -- a handful of large schools have opened up the beer line to the general public, including most recently West Virginia’s Milan Pusker Stadium and Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
And there could be a change coming to Texas’ Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium this fall, turning the nation’s sixth-largest venue into the largest to sell beer throughout the stadium.
The school started testing alcohol sales at basketball games in February and will continue the practice during spring sports. Consider this a super-soft run preceding a decision on alcohol sales at Longhorns football games.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb