Western considering expanding beer, food sales at TD Stadium
LONDON, Ont. -- The Western Mustangs football team has just completed their third-straight undefeated regular season.
However fans constantly complain that the experience in the stadium doesn't match the quality of play on the field.
Hospitality services has recently been working closely with Athletics to solve the problem in the future.
"Our strategies include introducing food trucks, and staff theme days," says Chris Alleyne, associate vice president of Housing and Ancillary Services.
"We're even trying to explore with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) what the alcohol licence could look like in the future at the stadium as well."
Having the entire venue open to alcohol could be a game changer. During Homecoming this past weekend, there was a large tailgate party outside TD Stadium.
But once inside, those wanting to have a few beers were restricted to a confined area in the north or south end zone. Fans having a drink wish the regulations were a bit looser.
"We're in the beer tent and it's almost game time and we have to drink it as fast as possible because we can't take it to our seat," says Mustangs fan Mitch Ness. "It would be nice to have a beer in the seats, and I think if they sold beer as concession they could raise a lot of money for the football program.
Fan David Upmalis says he only attends during Homecoming once every five years.
"In the states, all the regulations are much more Liberal, I don't know why can't they do that here," says Upmalis. "I bet the fan base would be bigger...it's a beautiful day, where else would you want to be?"
Western does lead the OUA in attendance with an average of 5,700 fans per home game.
They'd love to see that number increase, but university officials have also been internally weighing the risk/reward of allowing alcohol outside confined areas.
"With 5,000 first year [students] attending that first home game, 93 per cent of them are underage, so there is certainly some logistical considerations we have to work through," added Alleyne.
"We need to work closely with public health agencies, the MLHU, city hall, police and the fire department before we jump into something."
Around the stadium the complaints range from not selling food or beer in the stands, to long lines at the concessions. Others would love to see the track removed and the nearly 20-year-old bleachers replaced.
Alleyne says they'll gladly hold focus groups and accept public input, "We would love to hear from community as to what would help get people into the stands to cheer on the Mustangs."
Western has a bye this week, before hosting the OUA semifinals on Nov. 2.