Gophers lose money…. on beer sales?


College football and beer – if there are two things that go together better than those… well, you get the picture. Last season Minnesota began to sell booze and beer to the patrons of TCF Bank Stadium. It should've been a slam dunk, hit a home run, empty the kids' wallets of all their disposable income type move. Instead somehow they managed to lose money selling booze in their stadium.

No, seriously…. A booze selling endeavor at a college actually lost money. Surely you are asking the same question we here were: How the hell is that possible?

If you believe the spin from Minnesota's higher up's it was because they were focused on stopping underage drinking and that's how they lost out on those precious $16,000 dollars. 

From the article:

“Making money on it is not really the main purpose of it,” Allen said. “We’re more interested in being sure that we can control the sale of it.”

Ya, sure… That's it, because no booze hungry freshman or sophomore has ever found a way around the underage drinking bans in the history of bars or booze at stadiums.

We get that Minneapolis and Minnesota as a whole aren't exactly known for their drinking culture, but knowing plenty of UofM alums and seeing their ability to get down at the bars during an NCAA basketball appearance just a few seasons ago I can attest that the students can and do throw down to at least an above average rate.

At least enough to have made a difference in turning a losing situation into a profitable one. Surely they could've made at least one freakin' dollar off the endeavor. Nope, it didn't happen, instead they lost $16,000 dollars on the deal they struck with vendor Aramark.

Did someone at Minnesota's athletic department miss contract negotiation 101 or something? It sure appears that's exactly what happened in this case. According to the article the Gophers powers that be negotiated a deal that saw them take 22.5% of all booze sales at "The Bank." 

(not the nearly 50/50 split the AP reported on in March, hence the coverage now)

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, that clearly wasn't a big enough of a percentage of the sales to make a profit. However, someone really dropped the ball big time when it came to simple math equations and projections. 

It's not as if attendance dipped to a dramatic enough level to have affected anything that they should've projected. The UofM had about 1,000 less people attend a game according to the averages. Quick math says that they were less than 1% off the mark in being able to make money last season alone. Perhaps they were figuring based on last season's attendance mark – forgetting that simple forecasting and contract negotiations should always be based on the worst case scenarios in front of you.

I don't know about you, but the fact that a college athletic department wasn't smart enough to make money off of beer sales, selling to the two biggest demographics of beer drinkers (football fans and college kids), is mind boggling at best.

It damn sure doesn't help rivals from chanting safety school at them with basic math failing them like it did this past season.

Of course, hindsight got them to renegotiate with Aramark and all should be well from here on out, but good lord I swear this could only happen at a place like the University of Minnesota. 

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college football for nearly half a decade. He is the Managing Editor of and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site,