LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Texas Tech’s Board of Regents have approved the sale of beer and wine in the general seating area at home sporting events. This comes after Texas Tech’s Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt made a presentation to the board on Thursday afternoon about enhancing the overall experience for fans.
The presentation also included increased safety measures, connectivity, tailgating and concessions at all home sporting events.
The increased safety measures include adding surveillance cameras in all athletic facilities as well as adding more law enforcement at each sporting event. They will also enhance some of the rules they have in place, such as the clear bag policy and the heat management program.
Connectivity at each sporting event has been an issue for fans for years. They are looking to improve the internet and signal connection for fans to be able to use their phones and social media. Hocutt says AT&T is working on a project to enhance the digital antenna system that would raise the bandwidth to allow more texts and calls to go through.
When it comes to the tailgating experience, they will be adding food trucks, live bands and more student activities closer to tailgating areas. Hocutt said during the presentation he has been collaborating with the City of Lubbock and Mayor Dan Pope about the tailgating experience.
Hocutt told regents they have to give fans an unrivaled experience. “You can’t get by staying home. You want to come to Jones AT&T Stadium. You want to come to the USA for the lifelong memories and the experiences and be part of the action.”
When it comes to concessions, they want to allow students to be able to spend their Raider Cash at concession stands. They also want to lower the price of items to be more “fan friendly,” meaning popcorn, hot dogs and nachos would be $2. Hocutt says he wants fans to be able to get food and drink for $5. He also wants to add more and new food options to the fans.
Hocutt also mentioned several other ideas that he hopes would bring more people to games. “The landscape is changing, and the technology is changing. There are more games on TV than ever before and consumers can make choices. Do I want to come to Jones AT&T Stadium? Or do I want to take out at a tailgate? Or do I want to stay at home and watch this game?”
Hocutt says the selling of alcohol in the general seating area could lead to a reduction of alcohol-related incidents. He said Oregon State and OSU both have reported a 49 percent reduction since they started selling alcohol at games. The motion to approve alcohol sales states that TTU President Schovanec be authorized to conclude the negotiations and execute an amendment to the University’s agreement with its vendor, Spectra, with the changes including an authorization for the sale of alcoholic beverages at intercollegiate athletic events... under the terms and conditions set forth in executive session.
He did admit the reentry policy at Jones AT&T Stadium would change. “When you look around the country, it’s common for re-entry to be eliminated when you talk about safety and liability when you’re seeing alcohol in the general seating area... That would be one change that would have to be re-implemented with football if we continue to move down this path and in the negotiations.”
Currently, fans are not allowed to leave and reenter the United Spirit Arena.
Hocutt predicted revenues from alcohol sales could range from $800,000 to $1.4 million for the Texas Tech athletic department.
No timetable was given on implementation, but Hocutt did say they would like to have something in place by the time the basketball team begins Big 12 conference play.