The Nebraska Board of Regents met Friday in Kearney to discuss the future and status of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, passing a bill that will allow alcohol to be served at men’s and women’s Husker basketball games, among other approvals.
The approved motion to allow the sale of alcohol at Pinnacle Bank Arena’s Husker basketball games will extend for two years beginning with the 2022-23 season, described by the board as a “trial run” for alcohol sales at collegiate events. The university will receive 10% of the revenue from alcohol sales, and the rest will go to the City of Lincoln.
In addition, the Board agreed to outsource the Huskers’ multimedia rights to Playfly Sports Properties in a 15-year, $300 million deal that will expand brand opportunities for the university.
Some board members expressed concern over the length of the Playfly deal, but felt comfortable approving it with the option to assess the deal after seven years. The deal will give the Husker brand access to an “expansive suite of marketing and media solutions to further grow the Huskers brand regionally, nationally and globally,” according to a NU Athletic Communications press release.
Prior to the motion to sell alcohol being passed, some audience members shared their concerns while the floor was open for public comment.
“I have never seen anything positive come out of a bottle or can of alcohol,” a commenter speaking from his experience as an EMT said.
Some board members voiced concern about the safety of allowing alcohol at Husker games.
Chancellor Green pointed out Pinnacle Bank Arena’s independence from the university, and their seasoned experience with hosting events that involve alcohol. Board member Jim Pillen took note of how the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Baxter Arena has served alcohol for years at softball, baseball and hockey games without issue.
“I don’t know if there’s a rowdier crowd – a more raucous crowd than hockey,” Pillen said.
The Board of Regents made it very clear that this is a “test run” and that with the opportunity to sell alcohol comes the responsibility to manage it. The passage of the motion has no bearing on the potential for alcohol at Memorial Stadium, which was described by the board as “not even on the table right now.”