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Beer and Sports: Facts, Figures & Fan Favorites!

Watching sports while drinking beer just feels natural. It’s American. And it’s hard to imagine a tailgating spot without a cooler of beer. Or a stadium without a full plastic cup. No, actually it’s sad. It’s really sad to imagine sports without beer. You just need something cold in your hand while your eyes are on the field. So here are a few stats, facts, and figures to give you an idea of just how great America’s love for beer and ball is.

Beer and Sports
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Sports Fans Love Beer


The percentage of fans who drink at sporting events, according to a University of Minnesota study. They conducted their research at 13 Major League Baseball games and 3 NFL games. Because apparently, more people tailgate for these sports and they’re easier to intercept for surveys and breathalyzer tests at the entrances to stadiums.


People who tailgate before games, according to this same study. Really? We feel like this number should be larger. Out of that group of tailgaters, 82% of them had at least two drinks. And 8% didn’t drink at all. I wonder what they were doing…

Tailgating gets you drunker. Duh.

Those who reported drinking at a tailgate party (get-together, soirée, barbecue, whatever you wanna call it) before a game were fourteen times more likely to leave the game drunk.

Beer and Sports
Photo Credit: Flickr

Younger people are boozing harder. Also duh.

If you’re under 35 years old, you’re eight times more likely to leave the game drunk than the rest of the crowd. Is anyone surprised by this?


The number of people who leave an NFL game drunk. (Ya know, if this same study holds true after it’s extrapolated and stuff.) That’s about 1 in 12 people in the crowd at an NFL stadium. And funnily enough, those fans at Monday Night Football games were the most likely of all of those studied to leave drunk.

Beer is the fan favorite.

This study asked Americans what adult beverage came to mind when 11 different sports were mentioned. Unsurprisingly, it’s beer for football (75%) and baseball (70%), but also for car racing (55%) and hockey (51%). What sports didn’t pair as well with beer? According to those surveyed, wine meshes with pro tennis, while spirits and liquor go with horse-racing. Okay, we can see that.

But for regular drinkers and sports fans, beer is by far the most-consumed beverage while watching any sport, whether it’s in person or on TV. So it’s possible that sales of those recliners with cupholders will be on the rise…

No really. Beer is the Favorite by Far at NFL Games.

Beer accounted for 86% of all alcohol sold at Indianapolis Colts’ games in one season. In 11 home games during 2013, fans spent over $4.2 million on beer. Liquor (12% of sales) and wine (2%) didn’t even break $1 million combined.

Beer and Sports
Photo Credit: Flickr

Drunkest Fans in the NFL?

Buffalo Bills fans win this one with an average blood alcohol content of 0.076. (But this isn’t the first time they’ve been called the drunkest in the NFL.) They’re followed closely by Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions fans with an average 0.069 BAC. Funnily enough, a team’s record doesn’t correlate with drunken fans, so nobody seems to be drowning their sorrows or celebrating too hard based on their losses and wins.

How Much Will You Pay for that Brew?


That’s the average cost of a small draft beer at an NFL stadium. Geez. The Oakland Raiders are the worst for brew costs, charging $10.75 for a small beer beer at their games, while seven teams – the Seahawks, Panthers, Browns, Bengals, Texans, Giants, and Jets – all serve small beers for $5.00, the cheapest in the league. Thank goodness.

$0.46 per ounce

The average price of beer per ounce at NFL games. The Cincinnati Bengals offer the best value beer at 36 cents per ounce for a 14 ounce beer. (Yep, one of those $5.00 ones.) The beer sold in Paul Brown Stadium is actually cheaper than the soda! And the worst value? The Philadelphia Eagles charge $0.71 per ounce, a full 8 cents more than any other team. Jerks.

But wait. That means that a “small” beer means different things in different stadiums? That’s correct. Yeah, I know right?!

Beer and Sports
Photo Credit: Flickr


This is a little something in the MLB called the Fan Cost Index (FCI), or the amount of cash it costs to take a family of four out to a Major League Baseball game. This number includes tickets for four (non-premium) seats, parking, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, and two baseball caps. And that’s if you buy the cheapest beers…


The FCI for your average NFL game. Eh, whatever, you go enjoy your Sunday (or Monday) Funday with the fam!


Average price of a “cheap” beer at MLB games. That’s for a 15-ounce pour. Hey, baseball might be getting things right. That price is down from the previous year.


The cheapest beer you can buy in professional baseball, sold by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cleveland Indians. The most expensive? A 12 oz. beer for $7.57 at Fenway Park. That’s 65 cents per ounce, also the highest in the league. Thanks a lot, Red Sox.

Beer and Sports
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Craft, Domestic, or Imported?


The number of different beers sold at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark. The Reds now have the biggest selection of beer in Major League Baseball. Sales of craft beers there are up 363% since they’ve stumbled upon a new, younger demographic (ehem, Millennials) that prefer fancier beers. They even built the Reds Brewery District in the ballpark, an 84-foot long bar with 50 different beers on tap. All this despite the fact that the ballpark’s biggest seller is still Bud Light…


The number of distinct beers sold at your average MLB stadiums, produced by 25 different breweries. The Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays are a little behind the times, offering fewer than 25 beers to choose from. Which is fine if you dig Bud Light.

4 to 1

The ratio of craft beers to regular ol’ domestic mass-produced beers sold at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariners have been in on the craft beer game for a while, and over 70% of the 700 taps in their ballpark are devoted to it. And since they’re so into eating and drinking local, they sell beers from 20 breweries based in the state of Washington. They might even be planning to introduce beer-and-food pairings at concession stands this year. Whoa.

Favorite Beers

While Bud Light, Budweiser, and Coors Light are the highest-selling beers at most NFL stadiums, there are some fun anomalies throughout the nation too. Lots of 49ers and Cardinals fans prefer Blue Moon. Fans of the Dolphins, Falcons, and Cowboys prefer Corona. Steelers fans are up there downing a bunch of Guinness – we can only guess it’s because of their Irish roots. And Jaguars and Colts fans are drinking PBR, though probably not in an ironic, hipster way.

Beer and Sports
Photo Credit: Flickr

One More Thing…

Drunkest MLB Fans?

We have no statistical or scientific proof for this one. But in the past few years, Toronto Blue Jays fans have been getting a bad rap for drinking too much, vomiting in the stadium, heckling opposing teams, and throwing things like peanuts, beers, and paper airplanes onto the field.

Apparently though, Philadelphia Phillies fans have been called out for taking the unruliness a step further, by vomiting ON kids and throwing things like batteries AT players.

And before we complain too much about beer prices at these games, we should take a moment to remember the brilliant idea that was Ten Cent Beer Night at a Cleveland Indians game in 1974. Fans got naked, threw firecrackers at players, literally stole bases, and punched a reporter in the face… after drinking 60,000 glasses of beer.

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