KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — As the 2023 college football season continues to kick off, fans of two Michigan teams have another option to enjoy the game while at their home stadium, thanks to a new state law.
Western Michigan University’s season opener Thursday night against St. Francis University was the first opportunity for Bronco fans and visitors in the general seating area to enjoy an alcoholic beverage while watching the game.
Michigan State University is the other school that decided to start selling alcohol inside select athletic venues. According to the university’s board of trustees, Spartan fans will get their first opportunity when MSU football hosts Washington at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16.
Five months before the season kicked off, the legislation was introduced by State Senator Sean McCann of Kalamazoo. It then passed and was signed into law in late July.
As a result, fans in the general seating areas at Waldo Stadium now have the option to enjoy select canned alcoholic beverages. Before Thursday’s game, Western Michigan athletics director Dan Bartholomae told News 8 that this has been on fans’ wish lists for a long time.
“That’s the most important thing. Really, for us, it’s a fan amenity, and it’s something that our fans were asking us for. So, the ability to get to work, put together a great plan and be able to deliver here tonight on Game 1 is exciting. We’re just excited to be able to deliver on what the fans have been asking for,” he said.
The Broncos starting the Lance Taylor era with a win was not the only reason WMU was smiling.
In a statement Friday, Bartholomae said, “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our fans who enjoyed the new amenity, and we look forward to continuing to enhance the fan experience at Waldo Stadium.”
As for the numbers, he said they’re still working through the data with their third-party vendor.
With these moves, WMU and MSU joined the University of Kentucky as the three newest FBS schools to offer alcohol sales inside their sports venues.
When it came to security at and around Waldo Stadium, WMU Public Safety Chief Scott Merlo told News 8 that Thursday night was a “great night” with a “great fan experience” and “no issues”.