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Reality Check: Stadium Beer Sales & The U Losing Money

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- When the legislature approved beer sales at TCF Bank Stadium a couple years ago, lawmakers and the University of Minnesota estimated profits -- more than $1 million.

But a surprise came this week when reports said that the university actually lost money selling alcohol at the stadium.

The U says it made $907,000 in beer sales in 2012. But it also paid the vendor, Aramark Corporation, about half of that in fees.

After expenses, Minnesota lost $16,000.

But that's not always the case at other schools.

In fact, West Virginia made $700,000 in profit from alcohol sales and beer company advertising.

Bowling Green had profits of $20-$25,000.

But Kent State University says it made "zero dollars" from alcohol sales at football games.

University of Minnesota figures show that the night game against Syracuse had the highest beer sales -- $164,000.

A game against Michigan State had the lowest -- $97,000.

And the U says it had huge beer-related expenses, including:

-- $47,000 for security.
-- $73,000 for beer tents and generators.
-- $12,000 for plants to contain crowds.

The U is one of only 20 schools in the top tier of 120 college football programs to sell beer in public at home games.

And that's more than double the number of schools in just the last 10 years.

The U says it could make a small profit next year, but that's not what anyone was thinking when this started.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Previewing Alcohol Sales At TCF Bank Stadium -- WCCO

Football Beer Taps Add Safety, $700,000 to West Virginia University -- Bloomberg

Can Selling Beer Help College Fans Drink Less? -- Marketplace

Beer A Growing Part of College Football Revenue Streams -- USA Today

University Of Minnesota Preview Alcohol Sales At TCF Bank Stadium -- U Of M

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