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McKale Center clears final hurdle for beer and wine sales

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Addison Shinn | The Daily Wildcat Arizona super-fan, Phyllis Goodman, cheers on the Wildcats during their game against UMBC on Nov. 12 in McKale center. The Arizona Sate Liquor Board has delayed the plans to sell beer in McKale center, upsetting many fans.

Come fall, UA men's basketball fans will be able to enjoy beer and wine in McKale center.  

Following a few setbacks, the Arizona State Liquor Board approved the McKale Center’s liquor license Thursday, March 15. 

The UA originally sought the license after Dave Heeke, UA athletic director, announced during the Wildcat Country Radio Show on 1580 AM that acquiring a liquor licence for McKale Center was an objective.

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In December, the Tucson City Council voted in favor of the liquor license, but the project was delayed after local resident and former judge James Bly sent the liquor board a letter of complaint.

Now, however, the license has been approved, and UA Athletics is already preparing for next semester. 

Joel Hauff, associate vice president of Student Affairs, said the plan is to issue a request for proposal and contract a third party to manage the concession and alcohol service in McKale Center. 

He also said that there will be investments in new infrastructure to support the sale of alcohol. 

“We will be adding additional security staff to check IDs, wristband people and monitor fan behavior within the stadium,” he said. “There will be additional law enforcement that will be put on to make sure that if there is an incident, there is adequate law enforcement response.”

Hauff does not expect much increase in terms of revenue but suggested instead the purpose was to improve the fan experience.

“It was the right time to respond to fan requests and to provide this and to improve the game day experience for those people who are looking to have a beer or a glass of wine while they are enjoying the 'Cats play,” he said.  

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Alcohol will be served to any patron who is of legal drinking age and can provide proper identification. Sales will end at the first under-16-minute time-out in the second half. 

“This gives people time to let the alcohol work through the system before they head home, and the concessionaire will not be overserving,” Hauff said.   

UA Athletics is still determining whether it will extend the sales of alcohol to other events hosted in the McKale Center, such as women’s basketball, gymnastics and volleyball.


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