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Turning around the ship at JQH Arena

Missouri State UniversityDespite some successful events and a main tenant that draws well, Missouri State University is struggling to avoid losses at JQH Arena. One solution: beer sales.

The problem for MSU officials: the arena breaks even operationally, but there’s not enough revenue for debt service. The $67-million arena was built after John Q. Hammons stepped up with a $30-million gift, but addressing that debt means other university funds are tapped.

So University officials are looking for ways to increase revenues at the arena. One idea: more high-profile concerts that are better marketed. A start, but it’s hard for a school with a midsized arena to break into the concert field without the aid of outside pros. The second idea: sell beer at MSU games. Despite popular perception, there are not NCAA regulations prohibiting the sale of alcohol at NCAA events; that’s just the tradition and practice. Selling beer would go a long ways toward reducing the debt load — but there are many in the community who think that’s too high a price to pay.


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