Iowa athletics to sell beer, wine at Kinnick Stadium, other athletic facilities

The University of Iowa athletics department announced a pilot program on Thursday, which will make beer and wine available to purchase at athletics facilities during the 2021-22 school year.


Shivansh Ahuja

Kinnick Stadium is seen fom the north end zone at Iowa Football Media Day on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Robert Read, Summer Editor

Beginning this fall, the University of Iowa athletics department will sell beer and wine at athletic facilities as part of a pilot program announced by the department on Thursday.

Beer and wine will be available for purchase throughout Kinnick Stadium, with the exception of areas immediately adjacent to the respective student section. Athletic events at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Duane Banks Field, and Bob Pearl Field will also be included in the pilot program during the 2021-22 school year.

“We have been working with our campus partners on this for some time now and we are committed to maintaining a safe and enjoyable game day environment,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said in a release. “While there is an opportunity for increased revenue, this decision was based on enhancing the fan experience and providing an additional amenity to our fans.”

Barta said at the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year, the department will work with its campus partners to review this pilot program.

Iowa joins seven other Big Ten schools who currently sell beer and/or wine in public areas at its home football games. Per a UI release, approximately half of the schools from the Power 5 conferences will sell beer and/or wine at their home football games this fall.

Since a stadium renovation prior to the 2006 football season, beer and wine have been available at Iowa home football games for ticket holders in suites and premium seats.

Thirty percent of UI athletics’ net alcohol sales will be directed toward research-based initiatives developed and supported by the UI Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee, formed in 2009 to decrease high-risk drinking.

Prices of the alcoholic beverages that will be sold at athletic events have not been finalized.

Kinnick Stadium’s capacity is 69,250 fans. Barta told The Des Moines Register last month that he does not anticipate a capacity limit at Kinnick this season. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to host seven football games during the 2021 season.

Because of financial losses brought on by the pandemic, UI athletics, typically self-sustaining, is borrowing $50 million from the university as part of its recovery plan. The money will come from the UI’s cash reserves as an internal loan, which is planned to be paid back over the next 10-15 years.

The athletics department will also modify its parking lot hours as part of its pilot program. In the past, the UI controlled parking lots opened for tailgating at 6 a.m. on football game days, regardless of kickoff time. Beginning this fall, parking lots will open no more than six hours prior to kickoff and no earlier than 6 a.m. Parking on the night prior to football games will be limited to RVs only. There are no changes in postgame policies.

“We recognize that the pregame atmosphere around Kinnick Stadium is a significant part of the fan experience,” UI Interim President John Keller said in a release. “We are adopting policies that encourage Hawkeyes to enjoy game day traditions while reducing underage access to alcohol and the negative impacts of binge drinking.”