January 19, 2011

Fans Leave Sports Events Drunk

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It's no surprise that fans drink alcohol while watching their favorite sports, but a new study measured the blood alcohol content (BAC) of fans as they exited the game and found that 8 percent of fans leave the facility legally drunk.

"Getting fans to submit to a breath test and participate in a brief survey following a football or baseball game is not an easy task. We conducted BAC tests of 362 adult attendees following 13 baseball games and three football games. This is a preliminary study but the first one to actually attempt to measure BAC levels after professional sporting events in the U.S.," Darin Erickson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, investigator on the study and lead author of the paper, was quoted as saying.

"Our sample size was small, partly because of the difficulty of getting fans to submit to a BAC test after a game, but if we assume that it represents individuals attending professional events, it means that, on average, about 5,000 attendees leaving one National Football League (NFL) event would be above the legal BAC limit for driving. That's a lot of drunken individuals who could be involved in traffic crashes, assaults, vandalism, crime and other injuries," Dr. Erickson said.

Researchers say part of the problem can be addressed through better training of alcohol servers. Several stadiums are trying to train their servers. However, according to another study cited by Erickson in 2008, individuals who appeared to be obviously intoxicated could purchase alcohol 74 percent of the time. Increased police patrols around sports stadiums would also help, he said.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, published online January 18, 2011