City council votes 5-1 to approve liquor license for McKale Center

City council votes 5-1 to approve liquor license for McKale Center

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson City Council has approved the liquor license for the University of Arizona's McKale Center and now it is up to the state.

The council approved the move 5-1 Tuesday, Dec. 5, during their regular meeting.

The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control will be the final stop in UA's push to sell beer and wine sales during Wildcat basketball games

UA's Department of Athletics recently applied for a liquor license, and is required to post signs letting the public know.

UA's Department of Athletics has said the McKale Center would start beer and wine during games this season however.

"I think if we can make sure people drink responsibly, then I think it would be an okay thing," UA President Dr. Robert Robbins said earlier this year.

Robbins said it's not about generating revenue or putting more people in the seats, he said it's about giving the fans a better experience.

But there is some concern about those fans.

"We'll have third party vendors that are professional in making sure there's not over consumption and not underage drinking," he said. "That is the most important thing to me, the safety of our fans and students."

Athletic Director Dave Heeke said the decision to serve alcohol is based on research and fan feedback. He also said selling beer and wine is more about enhancing the fan experience, rather than increasing revenue.

Arizona Athletics is considering selling alcohol at other athletic venues like Arizona Stadium, but currently there are no plans for alcohol sales at venues other than McKale. Heeke pointed out that alcohol is served at Hi-Corbett Field during baseball games, but the City of Tucson owns the field and the liquor license.

Heeke previously said liquor licenses are not new to the U of A, citing several that the university currently holds.

"I should point out, the University already holds six liquor licenses, including one for limited service in private areas at Arizona Stadium. As with our current licenses held by the University, the athletics department would contract with a third-party company to sell and serve the alcohol at McKale Center. These outside providers are strictly regulated by the State of Arizona and are insistent on serving alcohol responsibly," Heeke said.

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