Background: Several studies have assessed the propensity for illegal alcohol sales at licensed alcohol establishments and community festivals, but no previous studies examined the propensity for these sales at professional sport stadiums. In this study, we assessed the likelihood of alcohol sales to both underage youth and obviously intoxicated patrons at professional sports stadiums across the United States, and assessed the factors related to likelihood of both types of alcohol sales.
Methods: We conducted pseudo-underage (i.e., persons age 21 or older who appear under 21) and pseudo-intoxicated (i.e., persons feigning intoxication) alcohol purchase attempts at stadiums that house professional hockey, basketball, baseball, and football teams. We conducted the purchase attempts at 16 sport stadiums located in 5 states. We measured 2 outcome variables: pseudo-underage sale (yes, no) and pseudo-intoxicated sale (yes, no), and 3 types of independent variables: (1) seller characteristics, (2) purchase attempt characteristics, and (3) event characteristics. Following univariate and bivariate analyses, we a separate series of logistic generalized mixed regression models for each outcome variable.
Results: The overall sales rates to the pseudo-underage and pseudo-intoxicated buyers were 18% and 74%, respectively. In the multivariate logistic analyses, we found that the odds of a sale to a pseudo-underage buyer in the stands was 2.9 as large as the odds of a sale at the concession booths (30% vs. 13%; p = 0.01). The odds of a sale to an obviously intoxicated buyer in the stands was 2.9 as large as the odds of a sale at the concession booths (89% vs. 73%; p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Similar to studies assessing illegal alcohol sales at licensed alcohol establishments and community festivals, findings from this study shows the need for interventions specifically focused on illegal alcohol sales at professional sporting events.