Taming the Big House
Some fans suspect the water ban was imposed to make them buy bottled water inside the stadium. But Dave Ablauf, the athletic department's director of media relations, says that in the first four games of the season, sales were essentially flat compared with last year--in part because concessionaire Absopure started giving away free cups of water at four "hydration stations" around the stadium. "We have not received any complaints since the first game about not allowing bottled water into the stadium," Ablauf emails. The athletic department's 41 percent of the gross water revenue worked out to $142,000 last year, and Ablauf expects about the same this season.
Besides alcohol, food, and water, the list of items prohibited in the stadium includes everything from purses to footballs. But the rebellious streak longtime fans remember survives in harmless ways. Though beach balls, too, are banned, they are a regular sight at games, sailing from hand to hand above the crowd.
[Originally published in November, 2010.]