The University of Wyoming sold less alcohol than it anticipated during the first football season in which beer and wine were available for purchase inside War Memorial Stadium.
But UW Athletics is still happy with the results, said Bill Sparks, senior associate athletic director for business operations.
“We were projecting about $209,000 and … it looks like we are going to come in — after paying for our start-up costs — we’re probably only going to come in at $104,000,” he said. “Having said that, we had $82,000 in start-up costs.”
Sparks said the $209,000 was projected as the typical annual profit and thus did not include the $82,000 in start-up costs. If it were not for the start-up costs, UW’s projected profit would have been $186,000 — $23,000 under the projection.
Between football and men’s and women’s basketball, UW Athletics brought in $504,000 before state sales taxes and before splitting that number with Roxie’s on Grand — the business that sold beer and wine to game attendees. Roxie’s takes home 45 percent of the revenue, leaving 55 percent for UW, as per a three-year contract with the university.
Athletics saw its cut reduced further by commitments it had made to other entities when planning to bring booze to games. For example, the first $30,000 made through beer and wine sales went to the Division of Student Affairs, for use in alcohol safety education. Another $6,000 went to SafeRide, while $11,000 went to wristbands and $40,000 went to purchasing cups.
Athletics also spent $5,000 on additional bathrooms.
“We’re always going to have some ongoing costs that are going to cut into our share of our 55 percent that we get,” Sparks said. “Those are all monies that come out of our side of the revenue.”
UW’s cut after these costs were taken out landed at around $186,000 — some $23,000 less than projected.
“I attribute part of that to it being a new process,” Sparks said. “We had to change some things up because we had some long lines … We modified some things throughout the year and they got better and we’ll get better as we go into this next season.”
With a program and venues lacking the amenities needed to sell large quantities of alcohol, UW had to prepare its facilities, spending roughly $82,000 on one-time start-up costs that won’t impact its bottomline during academic year 2018-2019.
Electrical wiring and data ports were necessary for the refrigerated selling areas and credit card machines, respectively. Athletics added ATMs — as well as security cameras watching over those ATMs — signage detailing alcohol rules and trailers for storing unopened kegs.
The final profit for UW Athletics came to about $104,000.
“Don’t get me wrong — $100,000 to our budget is still a good number,” Sparks said. “It is money we did not have before.”
Football games were far and away the best sporting events in terms of alcohol sales. Football brought in $416,000 of the original $504,000 pot — the revenue before taxes, splits, commitments and one-time costs. Men’s basketball brought in $72,000 while women’s basketball brought in $17,000.
“If you think logically about it, basketball games are often during the work week, like Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” Sparks said. “The games themselves only last about two to two-and-a-half hours. A lot of people aren’t going to come in and drink very much in that short a window of time.”