In many Western countries, there has been an increase in public concern regarding violence and other problems at sporting events. Many of these issues are fueled by alcohol.
In a new study, researchers set out to investigate the implications of overserving alcohol at licensed premises both inside and outside the arenas, and allowing entry of obviously intoxicated individuals into the events.
They found that clearly intoxicated spectators are commonly allowed to purchase more alcohol and to enter into the arena itself. The researchers believe more training for arena staff may help resolve this problem.
Previous studies have shown that approximately 40 percent of spectators drink alcohol while attending baseball and football games in the U.S., particularly when alcohol is being served within the arenas themselves. Alcohol-related problems can be exacerbated at large sport stadiums that hold tens of thousands of spectators.
To measure the level of overserving and inappropriate entry at these sporting events, trained professional actors pretending to be spectators who were “obviously” intoxicated visited licensed premises inside and outside the arenas, and attempted to gain entrance to the arenas.
The research took place in three arenas hosting matches in the Swedish Premier Football League, held in the largest and second-largest cities in Sweden. The scenarios were developed by an expert panel, and each attempt at buying alcohol was monitored by observers who kept track of how often the “inebriated”actors were denied alcohol service or denied entry into the arenas.
The findings reveal that overserving and allowing entry of obviously intoxicated spectators were quite frequent at these sporting events. It was more common to be denied alcohol outside of the arena rather than inside. In fact, the rates of denied alcohol service were only 24.9 percent at premises inside the arenas (59 of 237 attempts) compared to 66.9 percent at licensed premises outside the arenas (101 of 151 attempts). However, the rate of denied entry to the arenas was only 10.8 percent (11 of 102 attempts).
The researchers say that the variation in server-intervention rates could reflect a lack of training in responsible beverage service among serving staff at licensed premises inside the arenas as well as entrance staff.
This lack of training among staff could contribute to unacceptably high intoxication levels among spectators and contribute to increased alcohol-involved problems within the arenas. These findings have implications for alcohol consumption at sporting events in other countries as well, including the United States.
Source: Research Society on Alcoholism