The Prevalence of Alcohol at Sporting Events

The Prevalence of Alcohol at Sporting Events

Spring marks the start of another baseball season — a time when millions of people will flock to stadiums across the country to watch their team. Chances are that many of those who attend one or more games this summer will consume an alcoholic beverage due to the strong correlation between beer and baseball. The two seem to go together like a pitcher and catcher.

The rules regarding the sale of alcohol vary widely among the 100 major and minor league stadiums throughout the United States. Some stadiums, such as AT&T Park in San Francisco, prohibit beer sales by vendors in the stands. Other stadiums, such as Miller Park in Milwaukee, allow it. Another example, such as the Fresno Grizzlies in California and many other minor league teams, promote drinking specials like “$1 beer nights.”

The Prevalence of Alcohol at Sporting Events

While beer and baseball have long seemed synonymous, the connection can also have a dark side. A University of Minnesota study found that when leaving games and getting into their cars, 40 percent of fans had measurable levels of alcohol in their systems and 8 percent were considered legally drunk. This statistic becomes especially alarming with you take that percentage and multiply it by the 130 million fans attending the 162 games played during a regular season.

Furthermore, the same study discovered that the alcohol laws and guidelines at stadiums are not always enforced. Researchers determined that 74 percent of people were still served despite pretending to be intoxicated.

Alcohol abuse and baseball doesn’t only impact the fans. Beer is readily available in a majority of teams’ locker rooms after a game. In 2007, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was declared legally drunk when he crashed his car following a game and subsequently died.

The abundance of alcohol consumption isn’t just a problem inside the stadium. The same study from the University of Minnesota discovered that while the 18 percent who chose to tailgate were in the minority, they were 14 times more likely to get drunk than fans that waited to drink until they were in the stadium.

While it’s unlikely that Major League Baseball and other sports organizations will completely ban alcohol from games and clubhouses, it’s important to realize that abusing alcohol in any capacity is dangerous and can cause harm to yourself and those around you. Although they may seem connected, you can have just as much fun at a baseball game without the negative consequences alcohol abuse can bring.

By Jenna Mitchell

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