Going to the ball game isn’t what it used to be. Not only because the rising costs of tickets, but also because of the rising incidents that occur because of alcohol. A recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota, 362 adults exiting 13 baseball games and three football games were asked to complete a survey and submit to a breathalyzer test to determine their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). This study was the first ever conducted to measure blood alcohol content immediately after professional sporting events in the United States.
Results of the BAC revealed:
- 60% of participants exiting the game had zero BAC
- 40% showed a positive BAC
- Nearly 8% were legally drunk
The study also showed that people under the age of 35 were eight times more likely to be legally drunk than other fans, and those who "tailgate" before the game were the worst offenders. Tailgaters were shown to be 14 times more likely to leave a game intoxicated. In an anonymous survey following the breathalyzer test, one in four tailgaters admitted to consuming at least five alcoholic beverages. Those with the highest BAC range consumed an average of 6.6 drinks.
The study also showed that one out of every 12 fans attending a football or baseball game will leave the stadium legally drunk. Let’s do the math. If 60,000 people show up to a football game and one out of 12 leaves drunk, that’s 5,000 intoxicated people on their way home. The most alarming thing is a good percentage of these intoxicated fans will probably get behind the wheel and drive home.
In an effort to minimize alcohol related incidents many sports stadiums and arenas have set their own policies. For example at the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals, play they strongly encourage all fans to exercise responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. A few of their rules include:
- Any fan that shows signs of impairment and/or intoxication will not be allowed to enter or will be removed from University of Phoenix Stadium and subject to arrest.
- Any attempt to bring alcohol inside the stadium or possession of an alcoholic beverage not purchased from the University of Phoenix Stadium concessionaire may result in ejection.
- Concessionaire staff members reserve the right to deny service to fans that show signs of impairment and/or intoxication.
- A maximum of two alcoholic beverages or 32 ounces of beer will be sold per person per transaction.
- Alcohol sales in the general seating areas of University of Phoenix Stadium will stop at the conclusion of the third quarter.
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home of the Los Angeles Angels, takes it a step further by not even allowing people to bring alcohol into the parking lot or consume it there. They also stop the sales of alcohol inside the stadium at the conclusion of the 7th inning. Indeed, MOST professional baseball ballparks cease sales of alcohol at the end of the 7th inning.
Unfortunately not all sports facilities have strict policies regarding alcohol. As a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer, they all should have them.
If someone drinks too much at a game, and causes an accident later that hurts someone, who is liable?
In addition to the at-fault party, the stadium authority, the team and the vendor ALL may be at fault. At these stadiums, just like every restaurant and bar, a liquor license is needed to sell alcohol.
In selling liquor with a license, the same rules exist for all:
You cannot sell to a minor;
You cannot sell to a person who is intoxicated, or obviously intoxicated;
You cannot sell more than a certain amount to any one person.
The sale of alcohol, as all things, requires observation and common sense.
Question: Well, what if the person who got drunk and caused the accident didn’t make the actual purchase—they had someone else buy it all for them?
Under the Arizona liquor laws, it makes no difference. If they obtained and consumed alcohol on the premises of a liquor licensee, got drunk and later caused harm, there is liability on the licensee.
What would be the contrary result? The “I didn’t know” defense?
Too convenient and too easy. The burden rests on the liquor licensee.
Alcohol is a drug. Those who consume must be responsible, and those to make a living selling it must be responsible.
The contrary result is scary…