Have you, San Francisco 49ers ever been to a game to root for your team only to have part of it spoiled by a drunk idiot nearby? I certainly have. I particularly remember the 49er-Minnesota Vikings game two seasons ago at the Metrodome. My seat happened to be near those of two other 49ers fans (whom I had never met). Unfortunately, these spectators were completely wasted and quite annoying, causing a Vikings fan behind me to comment post-game that “I used to respect the 49ers and their fans, but not after this.”
It thus became quite interesting to see a potential solution to this problem during my past six weeks in London. I could not help but observe that alcohol was not allowed at seats. It could be bought and consumed, but only in the hallways and terminals in the building. Though fans still happened to be extraordinarily crude, vulgar, and prejudiced by American stadium standards, they were not obviously inebriated and annoying.
Following my London excursion I happened to go to Camp Nou and attend an FC Barcelona game. One could not miss that the only “cerbeza” served was “sin alcohol.” Yes, that is right. Spanish soccer only served non-alcoholic beer. Again, the fans seemed to be in fairly good control of themselves—though a 6-0 victory may have had soemething to do with that.
These experiences and observations brought an interesting question to my mind. Would the NFL provide a better fan experience if alcohol was not served or at least not allowed in seats? I would imagine that the games would become much more family-friendly and fathers would take their youngs sons to games at much younger ages. However, the tailgating and drinking culture is heavily ingrained in football fandom—and that’s not even mentioning the loads of cash that NFL teams make in sales of extremely marked up alcohol.
Personally, I do not see the NFL getting rid of alcohol. I could, however, see it implementing a rule similar to English soccer’s, where you can only drink it in the hallways and no alcohol is allowed in seats—though I do realize that the beer guy walking up and down the stairs would not be too happy about this. For this ban to happen, however, the NFL would have to see a clear problem with its current system. More importantly, a strong movement would have to bring such a problem to the public’s attention. I would like to see this happen, as it would be a good compromise to allow alcohol while making children more welcome into the stadium.
So am I right? Am I off my rocker? Let me know in the comments below!