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Alabama AD: UA Athletics not moving forward with alcohol sales at this time

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 1:58 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2022 at 2:07 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - University of Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne said UA Athletics will not move forward with alcohol sales at this time.

The announcement follows a vote by the Tuscaloosa City Council to allow alcohol sales at Coleman Coliseum.

The problem, according to Byrne, is a new $3 per ticket service fee imposed by the city of Tuscaloosa.

City Council President Kip Tyner says the city never gets reimbursed for police overtime costs. That’s why he says the city is tacking the $3 per ticket fee onto events where alcohol could be served, such as women’s and men’s basketball games and gymnastics.

Byrne says the move is ‘unfortunate’ and unreasonably targets UA Athletics. In a statement, Byrne explains the university currently pays a 10% sales tax on all tickets with 3% going to the city of Tuscaloosa, totaling more than $1 million this year alone.

Byrne says they’re looking over the proposal, but for now they will not be moving forward with alcohol sales.

“Well, I’m a little surprised to be honest. I think the city has been incredible partners with the University of Alabama for many years. Last year, we spent $1.75 million, almost $1.8 million, in overtime for our police department. They not only work the athletic events, but also work at graduations as well. Just three weeks ago, we had three graduations and then a 9 o’clock tip off, so our police department was basically on campus all day long,” said Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner.

Tyner says he can only speak for himself but would not be in favor of rescinding the extra three dollars per ticket ordinance.

Byrne tweeted a statement Monday afternoon. Part of Byrne’s statement reads: ”It is very unfortunate that the City of Tuscaloosa’s plan would unreasonably target Alabama Athletics and our fans with a service fee on all tickets where alcohol is sold, even tickets sold to children.”

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox called into “The Next Round” radio show Tuesday morning to talk about the service fees, police and fire protection and the complexities that come with adding alcohol sales at these big college sporting events.

Maddox said the city has a great relationship with University of Alabama and he is sure they will be able to work something out over alcohol sales in the future.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on alcohol sales and UA SOURCE: The Next Round

After the interview with Maddox on The Next Round, UA President Stuart Bell released the following statement:

“The University of Alabama supports and appreciates the many public safety officers who work gameday, including UAPD, and City, County and State officials.

UA Athletics and our fans currently pay more in ticket and concession sales taxes than all but one SEC school. Those sales taxes go to support the City, County, and State, and their officers. The City, County, and State also receive significant sales taxes from restaurants, bars, retail outlets and hotels generated by our athletics and campus events.  We believe the success of our athletics programs and growth of our university have had a tremendous positive impact on our community.

The University was surprised by the City’s arbitrary service fee. Therefore, the planned new sales at our UA venues will remain on hold as we review the impact this fee could have on our University, Athletics, and fans.”

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