Update: Trustees at A-State Vote to Sell Alcohol During Red Wolves’ Football, Baseball Games

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Update (April 10):
JONESBORO, AR (News release) – The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees today unanimously approved a lease agreement with NEA Sports Club of Jonesboro that would allow the nonprofit organization to dispense alcoholic beverages in designated areas on campus.

System President Charles L. Welch told the board that the lease agreement is required as part of NEA Sports Club’s large event facility permit application to the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

“We’re taking steps to be responsive to requests of our patrons at special events while being cautious and responsible,” Welch said. “If NEA Sports Club is successful with its application, then an additional agreement will be executed regarding operations of the club at our facilities.”

Welch said Arkansas State’s change in alcohol policy is consistent with many of its peers in the state and the Sun Belt Conference.

“Our policy will actually be more restrictive than most,” Welch said. “Also, additional security will be present where alcohol is served, and all servers and managers will complete appropriate training to comply with ABC regulations and to protect the safety and enjoyment of all patrons.”

The 10-year lease includes a 90-day termination clause with or without cause, Welch said.

NEA Sports Club is an Arkansas nonprofit corporation that, subject to obtaining an ABC permit, would be allowed to dispense alcoholic beverages to its members at certain events and locations on the A-State campus. Net revenue generated will be distributed annually to the Red Wolves Foundation, which supports A-State athletics.

Facilities included in the lease are Centennial Bank Stadium, the Convocation Center, Tomlinson Stadium, Fowler Center, Cooper Alumni Center, and the A-State Pavilion.

Original Story (April 9):
JONESBORO, AR – A-State fans may soon be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at Red Wolves’ games. 

Arkansas State University released a statement stating its plans to enter into an agreement with a nonprofit organization that will facilitate limited dispensing of alcoholic beverages in designated ares on campus. 

The primary objectives are to dispense alcoholic beverages to patrons who have requested the amenity at sports and entertainment venues on campus to enhance economic development by attracting more tourism-related activity and generate new revenue of the Red Wolves Foundation. 

Alcohol would be dispensed in specific, limit-access area of Centennial Bank Stadium, Tomlinson Stadium, concerts and special events at the Convocation Center (excluding athletic events) and special events at the Fowler Center, Cooper Alumni Center, and the Pavilion. 

Highlights of the proposal:
  • NEA Sports Club, an Arkansas nonprofit corporation, will enter into a lease agreement with Arkansas State that will allow NEA Sports Club to dispense alcoholic beverages at certain events and at certain locations on the A-State campus. The lease agreement is subject to approval of the ASU Board of Trustees.
  • NEA Sports Club will apply for a large event facility permit through the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

  • Any associated costs related to the application process will be the responsibility of NEA Sports Club and the RWF and not at the expense of Arkansas State.

  • Patrons of athletics events and concerts have requested the opportunity to be served alcoholic beverages, and the service has become common at sports and concert venues throughout the country.

  • The proposal will allow the Convocation Center to recruit performing artists who require alcohol to be served as an amenity for their fans. A-State expects to increase the number of concerts, resulting in additional rental-related revenue for the university and increased tourism-related expenditures in Jonesboro.

  • NEA Sports Club plans to contract with Sodexo, the existing A-State vendor for food and beverage services, to manage all alcohol-related services and assist in enforcement of all permit guidelines required by ABC Board.

  • Net revenue generated by NEA Sports Club from the dispensing of alcohol will be distributed annually to the RWF, and the RWF agrees to assist the A-State Student Government Association in promoting a responsible drinking awareness campaign. No member of the NEA Sports Club board of directors will receive compensation from the nonprofit organization.

  • Alcohol may be served at Centennial Bank Stadium and Tomlinson Stadium in limited, designated club sections and other premium seating areas.

  • Alcohol may be served at the Convocation Center at special events such as concerts and banquets upon mutual agreement with the leasing party.

  • Alcohol may not be dispensed at A-State athletics events in the Convo except in areas with lease-space agreements.

  • Alcohol may be served at the Fowler Center at special events upon mutual agreement with the leasing party.

  • Alcohol is already served in designated areas on campus at certain events in accordance with state law as part of lease space agreements.

  • The alcoholic beverage permit sought will include the right to dispense beer, wine, and liquor.

  • Alcohol will be dispensed in limited areas of the football stadium to enhance the value of the seating options.

  • Additional security will be present where alcohol is served, and all servers and managers will complete appropriate training to comply with ABC regulations and to protect the safety and enjoyment of all patrons.

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