[PHOTO: Erick W. Rasco]
Yes, they’ll be throwing lots of beer onto the 16th green at the WM Phoenix Open this week, and, yes, many of the 720,000 fans who attend the weeklong golf-slash-frat party will be well-lubricated throughout the day. But just how does the WMO’s booziness compare to competitors from other sporting events? Is Scottsdale the Mount Olympus of blood-alcohol content?
It turns out that golf makes the podium, but the undisputed heavyweight champion of sports drinking happens in Indiana in May, when 325,000 fans descend on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500. They consume 1.1 million beers in a single day – about the same number that will be sold for the week in Phoenix. That’s a lot of suds – and a lot of trips to the port-a-loo.
The carousers at the Kentucky Derby also deserve a hat tip for their dedication to the craft: the 150,000 who watch the fastest two minutes in sports drink 425,000 beers (and 120,000 mint juleps) at that event. The Daytona 500 NASCAR race might have more horsepower, but the 175,000 fans in attendance actually buy fewer beers – “only” 160,000, which also doesn’t account for the cans they brought themselves.
College football games in the US are legendary for the pre-game tailgate, but fans at huge rivalry games put up impressive in-stadium numbers, too. When Louisiana State University and Alabama play at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the 102,000 attendees consume 75,000 beers over roughly four hours. In the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys lead the league in beer, selling 60,000 over the course of a single game.
International soccer has its own drinking culture, but you can’t bring beer into the stands for a Premier League game – which means fans are hitting the pubs early and the concourses hard. Top-level soccer in the Netherlands has no such restrictions, and the Dutch continue to punch above their weight. Ajax fits 56,000 fans in Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, and those fans drink more than 60,000 beers per game – placing them behind only Indy and the Derby faithful for drinks per fan.
Now, about those lines to get into the toilets.