So the cat is coming out of the bag with the big $$$ signs on it. Starting this season, beer will be sold at Ohio State Football games. Sure, it will only be available in 4% of the stadium - coincidentally holding the top 1% of patrons - but you can now officially start the countdown to vendors eventually selling Hang on Sloopy Jello Shots in the South Stands.
Is it a shameless money grab? Of course, but it does make sense on many levels and let's face facts: the next time a major college football program turns down a buck, it will be the first time. Beer is and always has been a huge part of the tailgating "experience" since Woody knows when, so let's quit making everybody sneak it in and sell it to them for a tidy little profit right in the Shoe. The red solo cup lobby is going to pitch a fit, but they had a good run. I hope they socked some cash away.
I even agree with starting sales in the pricey sky-box seats before eventually caving to the freshmen in the Block O section. Those luxury-suite seats are not cheap and if somebody is that big a supporter of the football program, as far as I am concerned they can drink any damn thing they please. It's also a good way to iron out bugs in the system. Flush the lines, so to speak.
But what lucky beer company gets the right to shooting all those drunken fish in a beer barrel? Is it Bud? Miller? Those crazy bastards at Coors? Some hipster craft label?
I had a thought. Why doesn't Ohio State brew their own beer to sell at the stadium? Last I checked, they have a school of business, marketing, science and agriculture. They have a shit ton of capital and an endless stream of cheap labor (interns/students). Do you need more than that to brew and market your own beer?
Additionally, there has been much ado about higher education doing a poor job training people for real world jobs and charging a whole hell of a lot to do it. Craft beer is exploding. Could you imagine how many people would apply to be accepted to the "Buckeye Beer" program? To grow the hops, maintain the manufacturing facility, make & deliver a tasty product, keep the books straight and market the whole thing?
Hell, even I could market beer to a captive Buckeye football crowd. Here is your slogan free of charge, Mr. Smith: "Buckeye Beer, you want one or not? NEXT!"
Seriously though, what better way to integrate the University with a real world business and make money doing it? It's really no different than the Lantern, except people would actually care.
And OSU, think about the money…..Oh, I have your attention now. (Brutus drooling.) Raking cash for $10 beers while your labor cost is kids paying you tuition. Where else can you bank untold millions on the backs of free student labor? Well, the football program of course, but not many other places.
It is the easiest money. You make it coming AND going. Besides, anybody not drinking Buckeye Beer is a bad Buckeye. Could jinx the team. Asshole.
"But Colin, this could never happen, it's just too, you know… Aren't there laws or something?"
Two Reasons this can definitely happen:
1) Nobody Says "No" to The Ohio State University when it comes to money.
2) And absolutely nobody says "No" to The Ohio State University Football Program when it come to anything.
Remember when our hard-ass Governor demanded Ohio State come up with a plan to lower the skyrocketing cost of tuition? After 6 months, the OSU committee - led by former President Gordon Gee - came back and pretty much said, "Actually, we are pretty happy on our end, why don't students just take out bigger student loans and you guys all piss off?" Kaisich basically said, "Yeah, that sounds good," and that was the end of the discussion. My point is, OSU is bigger than Government. They could do this.
Will they? I doubt it. Like any big bubble, even easy money is hard work. Way easier to just take the money up front and the future be damned. That's why they sold the parking rights. There was no reason to do that, really. They sold a guaranteed money maker for the rest of time to pocket some cash right now. How is that working out for everybody?
I suspect a big company will write a big check over a working lunch at Scioto Country Club and that will be the end of it. Back up the Bud trucks. Still, it would be nice to see a supposed place of higher learning actually put that brain power to work and think of an innovative approach that could be good for all involved and generate some much needed positive publicity for my beloved alma mater.
Anyway, enough of my yappin'. Let's get back to enjoying what is going to be a very exciting Ohio State Football season. Make sure to check in with Pencilstorm.com every Friday in September to read what The Baver has to say about the Buckeyes and college football in general. He is the best.
Go Bucks, Colin G.
Colin Gawel founded Pencilstorm.com and wrote this at Colin's Coffee. He also plays in the band Watershed. You can read all about him in the book Hitless Wonder. He is a big Buckeye fan.