The city of Knoxville, Tennessee, has upped the ante with Aramark, alleging that the Tennessee liquor dealer at Neyland Stadium is responsible not only for the beer served at the venue, but also for the unruly behavior of the fans. According to the report Knoxville News Guardianthe city is aiming to suspend beer sales for at least 60 days next season, with the option of suspending Aramark’s license altogether.
The city has filed a complaint against Aramark this season over three instances of selling beer to underage fans, which expanded to include general hooliganism on volunteer game days, as well as incidents that occurred under previous Aramark permits.
Aramark filed a motion to dismiss part of the complaint, arguing that the company does not control the stadium premises and does not have the authority to kick visitors out. However, the city authorities objected, pointing out that Aramark, which does not own the Neyland stadium, “does not relieve them of responsibility for the premises in which their patrons drink”, as is the case with the owners of city bars, who rent the premises for their business.
If a bailiff determines that the Neyland Stadium is being operated in a manner that falls under the legal definition of “disturbance of the peace”, the city will seek a full revocation of Aramark’s license. If the definition of “disturbance of the peace” is not met, the city requires a suspension of 60 days with a minimum of three football games. If Aramark’s license is revoked, the company will be prohibited from obtaining a beer permit at Neyland Stadium for the next 10 years.
A hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 19 to determine whether Aramark has grounds to dismiss part of the city’s original complaint. The hearing officer will then decide whether to schedule a final hearing or no action is required.
Cases of selling alcohol to underage drinkers at Neyland Stadium extend beyond last football season, with 12 violations reported at the stadium since 2019, seven of which occurred at a Garth Brooks concert. Aramark’s previous violations were cleared up when the company applied for new beer permits. These incidents have been factored into the city’s push to impose tougher sanctions on Aramark, with Knoxville alleging damage plans and fines paid by the company did not prevent further sales to minors.