60-Second Science

Tipsy Sports Fans Easily Buy More Booze

In a study done at multiple sports venues, fans who appeared intoxicated or underage were still able to purchase more alcohol. Steve Mirsky reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.

One of the drawbacks to attending a sporting event can be the boorish behavior of some fans who have pounded down the brewskies.  Now comes a study that finds that three quarters of fans who appear to be already intoxicated had no trouble buying more alcohol.  And a fifth of people posing as underage also could buy beer.  The research appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.  

An additional public health service accomplished by the study was that it employed actors.  Four thespians hired on the basis of their ability to appear drunk were planted at stadiums.  And seven people over 21 but who looked much younger also attended games.  The research involved sixteen sports arenas in five states.  The apparently underage or intoxicated had three times the chance of making a successful alcohol purchase in the stands than at concession booths.  Some people seem to go to games just to drink.  They should consider staying home to drink.  It’s much, much cheaper, they’ll be off the roads and most important, they’ll be spilling beer on the couch, not on me.

—Steve Mirsky

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