Gouging Arkansas Fans with High Beer Prices Makes Sense in Only One Scenario

Sam Pittman, Arkansas football, beer
photo credit: ESPN / The Stadium Shoppe

Whether it’s to celebrate a victory or to drown sorrows after defeat, beers and college football go together like peanut butter and jelly. The time-honored tradition of a cold one in the stadium is actually written into the Bill of Rights – there’s nothing more American.

Arkansas fans, in particular, have made a name for themselves on the national stage for their love of adult beverages. First off, this is a fanbase that puts beer hats on their heads to celebrate loading the bases. The Hogs’ alcoholic prowess was on full display at the 2022 College World Series, which saw Razorback Nation buy up thousands of jello shots in pursuit of…being on top of a chalkboard ranking at a local restaurant.

Sounds about right.

Of course, the No. 1 thing that has gotten in the way of that enjoyment at sporting events in recent years is the massive surge in the cost of going to a game. From the ticket prices themselves skyrocketing to the ridiculous premiums you pay at concession stands, it can cost a fortune to take the family to the stadium.

In response to this troubling trend, the sports betting outlet Oddspedia put together a list comparing the beer prices at various college football venues around the country. So let’s take a look at which fans are getting robbed the worst – and which places still give you the most booze for your buck.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing? That’s right, Razorback Stadium is home to one of the most expensive beers in the nation. Tied for the second-most expensive in the SEC and level with Alabama and Texas A&M. The priciest pint of them all is located on good ole’ Rocky Top at Neyland Stadium.

Alabama being near the top of the list makes sense, for multiple reasons. You can justify upping your prices a bit when you’ve consistently been a juggernaut program over the last 15 years. You can also count on Tuscaloosa’s Greek life population lining up at the beer stand no matter what the price is.

As for Texas A&M, well…they’ve got to pay Jimbo Fisher’s buyout somehow, right?

But what reason does Arkansas have to be near the top of this list?

Crunching the Numbers

Simply put, Arkansas has no justification to gouge its fans like that. The team is coming off a 4-8 season in which the Razorbacks posted well below-average attendance compared to the rest of the SEC. By the end of last year, fans had mostly given up hope.

Vegas odds have Arkansas finishing near the bottom of the conference again for the upcoming season, along with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. That’s not exactly good company to keep with a head coach whose seat is already scalding hot heading into the fall.

When you do the math, with almost any degree of sobriety, you come to the conclusion that Arkansas has one of the worst ratios in the SEC between the prices of the beer and the projected success of the team. The numbers say that’s one hell of a ripoff. Here’s a full breakdown of the conference:

RankProgramBeer PriceProjected WinsDollars per Projected Win
1.Texas (best deal)$810$0.80
2.LSU$89.5$0.84
3.Ole Miss$8.509.5$0.89
4.Auburn$77.5$0.93
5.Missouri$99.5$0.95
6.Alabama$109.5$1.05
7.Oklahoma$8.507.5$1.13
8.Texas A&M$108.5$1.18
9.South Carolina$75.5$1.27
10.Florida$75.5$1.27
11.Tennessee$139.5$1.37
12.Kentucky*$96.5$1.38
13.Mississippi State$84.5$1.78
14.Arkansas$105.5$1.82
15.Vanderbilt (worst deal)$82.5$3.20
Beer prices from Oddspedia. Projected wins from VegasInsider.

*Kentucky was not included in the Oddspedia numbers, but On3 reports that $9 beers were sold at Kroger Field last year.

Note: Alcohol sales are returning to Samford Stadium after a hiatus, but prices have not been announced yet. For that reason, Georgia was not included on this list – but the Bulldogs’ projected 10.5 wins mean fans will likely get a decent deal on their gameday booze.

The Texas Longhorns top the list for the best deal on beer relative to the team’s projected success, with LSU and Ole Miss close behind them. Arkansas, by contrast, has the second-worst ratio in the conference. Perhaps the Razorbacks should take a queue from their bitter rivals and drop the prices.

Vanderbilt stayed true to its program slogan of “anchor down,” occupying the rock-bottom spot on the list with a comically bad deal mostly due to their miserable projected total of 2.5 wins.

Price-Gouging Fans is Poking the Bear

While it’s easy to just tell Arkansas fans to simply not buy overpriced drinks, it’s more about the principle of it. Lots of folks are trying to make ends meet and just go to a game to unwind after a long week. Instead, they’re left with a hole in their wallet – even if you’re not buying alcohol, the tickets, concessions and merchandise will make sure of that.

It just comes across as tone-deaf from the higher-ups in the athletic department. At a certain point, you’ve got to read the room and recognize where the program is at. If you’re offering a mediocre product both on the field and in the concourse, then fans are eventually just going to stop coming.

If folks are making the effort to come cheer on a losing team, they should at least be able to imbibe for a good price. Kansas has gotten the memo there, offering $5 beers for the upcoming season. Texas Christian University does it even better, selling $3 beers to fans just like the good Lord intended. I’m sure TCU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, formerly of Razorback notoriety, will enjoy hearing fans’ feedback on his red-zone play calls when the crowd is loaded up on cheap booze.

The One Man Who Can Help Arkansas Nation’s Gripes

Of course, there’s always an outlet for Arkansas football fans to have their grievances redressed by a certain public figure with considerable influence on the program. Head coach Sam Pittman himself is a noted enjoyer of cold beers who just might side with the fans on this one:

Populist Pittman giving a stump speech for reasonable beer prices would be a certain way to boost his souring popularity in Fayetteville. Maybe the concession stands can start running a buy one, get one free “ole’ cold beer” special if the season starts going south. Just a suggestion.

As for the motivation for the continued price gouging, it’s surely just chalked up to greed. But there may be another reason at play, too. With opposing coaches suggesting Pittman won’t even make it through the season with his job, maybe the $10 beers are a way to score some cash for a potential buyout this offseason? Athletic director Hunter Yurachek may be taking notes from the Aggies with that fundraising method.

From cringy public address announcers and chants ripped off from other schools to lame song choices on the loudspeaker, the Razorback Stadium atmosphere has been well below par recently. The beer price debacle is just the latest in that pile heading into what could be a long season for Arkansas football.

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The below is not a joke. It is an officially licensed product:

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John Nabors talks Sam Pittman’s future on Saturday Down South:

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