Arizona Athletics applies for McKale Center liquor license

Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 1:36 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 12:14 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - If you're going to the McKale Center in the coming weeks, you might notice some new signage. That's because the Department of Athletics recently applied for a liquor license, and is required to post signs letting the public know.

The department said if the application is approved, the McKale Center will start beer and wine sales during Wildcat basketball games this season however, the start date is yet to be determined.

"I think if we can make sure people drink responsibly, then I think it would be an okay thing," said U of A President Dr. Robert Robbins.

Dr. Roberts says it's not about generating revenue of putting more people in the seats, he said it's about giving the fans a better experience.

But there is some concern about those fans.

"We'll have third party vendors that are professional in making sure there's not over consumption and not underage drinking," he said. "That is the most important thing to me, the safety of our fans and students."

Athletic Director Dave Heeke said the decision to serve alcohol is based on research and fan feedback. He also said selling beer and wine is more about enhancing the fan experience, rather than increasing revenue.

Arizona Athletics is considering selling alcohol at other athletic venues like Arizona Stadium, but currently there are no plans for alcohol sales at venues other than McKale. Heeke pointed out that alcohol is served at Hi-Corbett Field during baseball games, but the City of Tucson owns the field and the liquor license.

Heeke said liquor licenses are not new to the U of A, citing several that the university currently holds.

"I should point out, the University already holds six liquor licenses, including one for limited service in private areas at Arizona Stadium. As with our current licenses held by the University, the athletics department would contract with a third-party company to sell and serve the alcohol at McKale Center. These outside providers are strictly regulated by the State of Arizona and are insistent on serving alcohol responsibly," Heeke said.

If the license is approved, Arizona Athletics will announce the timeline for beer and wine sales.

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