Here is a brief update on an important issue concerning the Gwinnett Braves from the GDP. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, so I won’t add much commentary.
A prohibition on Sunday beer sales at Gwinnett’s new baseball stadium wouldn’t blow up the project, Commissioner Lorraine Green said Thursday.
But unless Georgia lawmakers find a way to extract the controversial Sunday liquor sales issue from legislation intended to apply only to the planned ballpark, county officials and representatives of the Atlanta Braves may have to revisit an agreement to move the team’s AAA affiliate to Gwinnett next year, Green told reporters at the Capitol.
“The stadium will be built,” she said. “(But) we would hate to have to reopen those negotiations at this late date.”
Would the Braves really back out of this deal? Good grief! The team has already gotten nearly all of the stadium revenue. Are Sunday beer sales really a deal-breaker here? I hope the Braves are not serious about backing out; but, because all of the Sunday beer sales revenue would go to the Braves, the team has a clear stake in this battle.
Frank Stephenson offers his opinion. The Braves should calm down and take his research on the Rome Braves Sunday beer sales into consideration.
Rome’s 2004 referendum created a natural experiment for us to assess the effect of alcohol availability on attendance. We compared the Rome Braves 2003 and 2004 Sunday attendance (before beer sales were allowed) to their 2005-2006 Sunday attendance when beer was available. (We controlled for lots of other factors that might influence attendance–promotions, rehab appearances by Chipper Jones, …) We found that allowing Sunday sales resulted in a small (2%) and statistically insignificant increase in attendance. Attendance does seem to be influenced by cheap beer–the team offers two for one beverages on Thursdays and draws about 8% more fans than on other weeknights. While Rome’s experience may not carry over to other communities, our paper does call into question the conventional wisdom about beer and attendance.