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Beer is back at the Rose Bowl for UCLA fans

UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi (86) catches a touchdown pass
UCLA tight end Devin Asiasi catches a touchdown pass in front of fans against Arizona State on Oct. 26, 2019, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

For the first time in more than three decades, UCLA football fans will be able to toast the team’s success at the Rose Bowl.

The school’s athletic department announced Thursday alcohol sales will resume throughout its storied home stadium this season for the first time since 1989.

The change in policy is designed to enhance the fan experience while keeping the school competitive in the college football marketplace, according to one person close to the situation not authorized to disclose the information publicly before the formal announcement.

More than half of the Football Bowl Championship schools sell alcohol throughout their stadiums, including six other Pac-12 Conference schools — Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State. USC has long banned alcohol at the Coliseum, last selling beer during the 2004 season before halting the practice because of concerns over rambunctious behavior.

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UCLA coach Chip Kelly sees ‘super seniors’ Qwuantrezz Knight and Brittain Brown as key leaders for the Bruins entering a crucial season when they must deliver wins.

In recent seasons, UCLA has sold alcohol to boosters at a donor lounge and a wine garden without making it available to every fan age 21 and older. Alcohol has also been sold to fans during Rose Bowl postseason games.

Now fans attending any of UCLA’s seven home games this season will be able to select from a variety of domestic and imported beers as well as red and white wine beginning with the opener Aug. 28 against Hawaii.

“We heard the fans loud and clear that this will enhance the gameday experience, which is always a priority,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “We’re excited to offer this expanded service and will implement mechanisms to promote responsible drinking so that the Rose Bowl will remain a safe and family-friendly environment for all fans.”

As part of its safety efforts, UCLA will require valid identification and impose a two-beverage limit per transaction before cutting off sales at the end of the third quarter. Stadium staff and security involved in the sale of alcohol will be required to complete a responsible service training program and a designated-driver program will be implemented.

UCLA last made the sale of alcohol available to every adult fan at the Rose Bowl during the 1989 season, selling between 25,000 to 40,000 cups of beer per game, according to a 1990 Los Angeles Times report. There were also 37 misdemeanor arrests at the stadium that season, prompting the Pasadena City Council to impose a ban on alcohol sales.

UCLA and USC will have no crowd restrictions at the Rose Bowl and Coliseum during the 2021 college football season.

“We used to have alcohol-related fights and a lot of people driving home drunk,” then-councilman William Thomson told The Times in 1991 after the council voted 5 to 1 to extend the ban for the following season.

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The ban cost Pasadena and UCLA an estimated $164,000 in beer revenue during its first season. The resumption of alcohol sales required approval from UCLA, the city of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Operating Co.

UCLA is eager to boost attendance after averaging a record-low 43,849 fans at the Rose Bowl in 2019, the last season fans were allowed inside the stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school announced earlier this summer that there would be no cap on attendance this season at the stadium that seats 80,000 for Bruin games.


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