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The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that they will no longer extend alcohol sales after the 7th inning.
And no, it’s not because they are serving Bud Light and no one’s buying it.
Instead, they say it’s just not worth it.
“We’ve got two homestands under our belts and there have not been any serious issues with general behavior related to the extended sales,” a Brewers spokesman told MLB.com. “But what we’ve found is that the amount of time we’ve extended it by averages it out to 15 minutes extra. Because it’s late in the game, the sale of alcohol and all concessions drops off a cliff once you get to the eighth inning. The amount of sales we were experiencing was just not significant,” the team said.
When Major League Baseball rolled out their new rules this season, they included a pitching and hitter’s clock. The goal was to speed up the time of the game so that a younger and modern-day audience could still be engaged. It has worked — games are averaging 2 and a half hours, which is down nearly 35 minutes from last year’s average.
But it may have worked TOO well.
Milwaukee was one of a handful of teams that decided to extend alcohol sales through the 8th inning because they realized that they were losing alcohol and concession sales. Shorter games means less people spending money, and beer sales are an important source of revenue, with some teams making nearly a million dollars in profit from alcohol alone.
SOME STADIUMS SELL ALCOHOL THROUGH THE 8TH INNING
The decision to extend sales came with some push back. I previously questioned if teams were putting safety over profit. Typically stadiums stopped selling alcohol in order to let fans sober up before having tens of thousands of them all driving home at the same time. Reversing that policy seems that that the owners were just looking at their bottom line. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matthew Strahm echoed the same argument.
So far the Brewers are the only team that has reversed course on beer sales. I can’t imagine every team doing the same – especially those in larger markets where by attendance numbers alone it seems it would be worth it.
However, if a good amount of MLB owners aren’t bringing in a significant beer and concession stand profit, you’d have to imagine they will lobby Commissioner Manfred and he league to either extend the pitching clocks to make games at least a little bit longer, or try to find additional revenue streams.