DES MOINES, Iowa — In college basketball the hops used to be limited to on the court, now Drake fans of age will also find them in their drinks. “Adding beer sales is only one part of what we are trying to do to enhance what we are trying to do at the Knapp Center,” said Drake University Athletics Director Brian Hardin.
Fans like Brent Mardis will be able to enjoy a frosty pint in their own seat at all Men and Women regular season basketball games. “It’s a great entertainment option. What I think people are looking for in Des Moines is where am I gonna spend my entertainment dollars? Now you can grab a beer and watch a basketball game,” said Mardis.
The decision was not made without input from all corners of the university. “We actually worked with great people whether it was the dean of students, head of security on campus, president’s council or the board of trustees, these decisions don’t happen in a vacuum,” Hardin said.
The first beer stand will greet fans in the front lobby of the arena. The second is in the northeast atrium pairing beer and basketball just steps away from the bleachers and on court action. Mardis said, “I think you are going to get more casual fans that want to come in and see a basketball game. They’ll enjoy what they are seeing. I think people are gonna get hooked and they’ll come back.”
Beer sales begin an hour before tip-off and end in the third quarter of women’s games and at the mid-way point in the men’s second half. Alcohol will be prohibited in the student section and directly across the court in a family zone area . Hardin said, “We will increase our police presence. We will redistribute security and have ID scanners so fakes cannot get through.”
Hardin says state law limits the university to 9.9% of alcohol sales. “This has very little to do with revenue. It has more to do with getting people to enjoy the game and get other people to buy tickets and experience basketball for the first time.
Providing long time fans with more entertainment value for their buck and perhaps new fans, a newfound love for sport in their own backyard. “We are doing whatever we can to become Des Moines’ hometown team.”
Iowa and Iowa State only sell alcohol to fans with special tickets in a reserved area. UNI began selling to all adult fans inside the arena during the 2017/18 basketball season but fans cannot take alcohol to their individual seats.