The days of slipping out of the Baylor game during halftime for a bite and a swig are history under the rules of the new McLane Stadium.
A new one-entry, one-exit rule not only affects tailgaters but could crimp business for vendors set up outside the stadium.
At the old Floyd Casey Stadium, some game patrons would trek to George’s Party Zone during halftime for burgers, beer and margaritas. Others would head to their trucks for an adult beverage, since alcohol is forbidden at Baylor events.
Baylor officials acknowledged the no-re-entry policy Thursday and said they plan to announce it along with other new stadium policies next week.
Sammy Citrano, owner of George’s Party Zone, declined to comment on the policy until the announcement. He said he expects his new Party Zone across from McLane Stadium will attract large crowds before and after the game, as well as some who choose to watch the second half on TV.
Youngdae Moon, owner of the Club Sandwich food truck, said he has been considering setting up at the Brazos Parking complex, which also includes the Party Zone. But he said the policy may change his plans.
“When I found out about that, I had to rethink what we were going to do,” he said. “I’m hoping to stay out there around the tailgating area until after kickoff, then head somewhere else, probably around downtown. . . . The entire policy kind of dissuades people from staying there after the game starts.”
Wannika Muhammad, who has developed a parking and food court operation in the 900 block of East Calhoun Street, said the policy likely would have less effect on her than it would on the Brazos Parking complex, which is closer to the stadium.
“We’re counting on people coming to park and maybe eating before the game or after the game,” she said. “I wasn’t counting on halftime traffic.”
She said she doesn’t fault Baylor for adopting a policy that favors in-stadium vendors.
“Hey, they have to make a profit, too,” she said.
Perry Weaver, a Waco restaurant owner who enjoys tailgating at Baylor games, said he can see both sides of the issue. He and his friends have enjoyed retreating to their tailgate spots at Floyd Casey for a snack or a drink, but he won’t be able to do that at his tailgating spot at the new stadium.
“From a patron’s standpoint, I’m a little disappointed,” he said. “But I also get it that (stadium concession companies) have to make their money and have to have a captive audience. . . . I’m sure plenty of people will be upset, but it’s the nature of the beast.”
Weaver’s Dubl-R Burgers will be set up across the river at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame along with Uncle Dan’s Barbecue, but he said it would be too far a walk for halftime refreshments anyway.
“It will probably hurt George’s,” he said. “He would do a pretty brisk business (at halftime). But he’s got a great spot. I’m sure (George’s owner) Sammy (Citrano) will do fine.”