Don't Drink and Drive (to the Basket)
By Shannon in Food on Mar 10, 2007 7:11PM
Chicagoist had the pleasure of attending the Big Ten conference at United Center yesterday, an activity in which we normally don't get to take part. Amongst our colleagues, much was made of the fact that no alcohol is served during the events, not even in a Budweiser-sponsored skybox. We believe one such word to describe the practice was coined as "bullshit." However, the American Medical Association couldn't disagree more. They're sending out a newspaper ad campaign before March Madness begins calling on the NCAA to ban alcohol-related marketing from college sports.
The full-page ads ran Friday in several college newspapers, including DePaul, U of Wisconsin, Indiana U and U of Iowa. They claim "The truly insane thing about March basketball is all the money universities get from alcohol advertising," urging authorities to "Stop the Madness." The NCAA only allows one minute per hour of broadcasting for booze, with no hard liquor ads, but when's the last time you saw someone with a whiskey sour in their hand at a basketball game? Beer's the real cheese for sports fans of all types. DePaul says they accept no liquor money and doesn't reap any profits from beer sales at Allstate Arena, but that doesn't mean there isn't beer being sold at those games. Wisconsin doesn't even pretend they're taking the AMA's advice, though: they accept $425,000 a year from Anheuser-Busch and Miller. Reason? The state has a "heritage associated with beer drinking." No wonder their city is drunker than ours.
We know we're definitely in the minority, but we thought it was refreshing to go to a sporting event and not worry about drunken carrying-on or possible fistfights. We do think it's silly to have a dry skybox sponsored by a major brewing company, but overall we like the idea. Of course, we've also watched baseball games while totally sober, so what does that say about us?