Thursday, April 4, 2013

CenturyLink Field wants to sell more hard alcohol during sporting events

CenturyLink Field, home to the Seahawks and the Sounders, proposes to increase the number of spirits outlets from 26 to 42 points of sale in 2013, and to add 40 more points of sale in 2014, increasing the total number to 82 points of spirits sales within the stadium. This would set a precedent for other sports and entertainment facilities around the state.

Last year, CenturyLink requested and was approved for a 2,000 person beer garden. Beer is available at approximately 400 points of sale within the stadium plus roving vendors.  In addition, alcohol is available at many bars and restaurants within a mile radius of the stadium.

The stadium is broken down into four areas of alcohol service:
  • all levels sell beer and wine and are open three hours prior to game time, 
  • level 1 includes two beer gardens that serve spirits,
  • level 2 contains restricted club seats and suites that also serve spirits,
  • level 3 also has a spirits garden.
CenturyLink’s request would allow fans to purchase one drink containing spirits per person and return to their seats with them.  (Right now, fans must drink spirits in a beer/spirits garden.) This would be available in every level except the 3rd level where most alcohol-fueled problems occur. CenturyLink claims the drinks contain 1.25 oz. of spirits in an 8 or 10 oz. container (less than 1 standard drink), so they are actually getting less alcohol than the large beer purchase. (Fans can purchase 2 beers per person.)

As CenturyLink seems to understand considering their request does not include level 3 of the stadium, alcohol contributes to public safety problems inside and outside of the stadium.  Here are some links to a KIRO investigation about violence at NFL stadiums:

CenturyLink was the subject of two high profile over-service violations, resulting in a fan beaten so severely that he had to be treated at Harborview. Neither of these incidents were referred to the Liquor Control Board.

Comments about CenturyLink's request can be made directly to the 3 Liquor Control Board members:

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