Video last week captured after the Vikings’ game in San Francisco captured an attack on a Vikings fan that led to the arrest of four suspects, three of whom were charged. It happened in a parking lot near Levi’s Stadium, and it could have implications beyond the attack itself.
This week, city leaders in Santa Clara (where the stadium is located) discussed whether stricter alcohol policies would have helped defuse that (and other) instances of fan violence.
My short answer: yeah, of course it would.
But here’s a snippet from the story in the San Jose Mercury News:
Though it is unclear to what extent alcohol played a role in last week’s videotaped beating that sent a Minnesota Vikings fan to the hospital, it wasn’t the first violent incident among fans at the $1.3 billion stadium that opened in the city last year. Council members floated ideas ranging from cutting off drink sales inside the stadium at halftime to drunken-driver checkpoints near the exits to quell the violence. …
But Santa Clara Police Chief Michael Sellers was skeptical a crackdown on booze would work, citing research by a national alcohol management expert, Jill Pepper, who works with all teams in the NFL. “She said changing policy could cause an increase in some issues.” he said. “Fans will stockpile or binge drink — which they normally would not do — because they know the stop in sales is coming.”
Most NFL stadiums (including SF’s) stop alcohol sales at the end of the third quarter. Is there much difference between sobering up for an hour and a half vs. 45 minutes? I guess I don’t really know. I do know that alcohol sales are big business. And I do know that while I’ve never been in a parking lot altercation at a game, the one time someone tried to instigate one with me (Bears game in Chicago), alcohol most definitely played a role.