Minnesota loses money on stadium beer sales

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota hopes that selling beer to college students at Gophers football games can actually be profitable next year after the school lost money doing so this past season.

A release from the school last week laid out the terms of a new contract with ARAMARK, the concessions provider for TCF Bank Stadium. ARAMARK will pay the University of Minnesota an extra $37,000 for the 2012 season — the first year beer was sold at the on-campus stadium. With that extra money, the school will yield a net profit of $21,000.

If you do the math, that means Minnesota initially lost $16,000 on beer sales in 2012.

"I think it was a surprise that we lost money," David Benedict, Minnesota's executive associate athletic director, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We were not happy when we realized the fact that we had not shown a net profit."

The school's new contract with ARAMARK amended the percentage of net sales that the university would receive. The initial contract had Minnesota taking in 22.5 percent of alcohol sales in both the premium and general seating areas. With the renegotiated deal, the school now receives 35 percent of the first $475,000 in alcohol sales — with beers sold at $7.25 a piece — and 40 percent of all sales above $475,000.

The 2012 season marked the first year the Gophers sold beer at their on-campus stadium, which seats just over 50,000 fans. Beer tents were set up behind one of the end zones, meaning there was only one location for those in the general seating area to purchase beer. 

The statement from the university said that if beer sales at TCF Bank Stadium are similar in 2013 as they were this past year, the school would yield a profit of $110,000 thanks to the renegotiated contract. Minnesota also had to pay a one-time startup expense in 2012, which would not be the case in 2013.

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