City of Rockville lifts booze ban at sports facilities

The city of Rockville recently lifted a longtime restriction on the sale of alcohol in sports facilities.

The mayor and city council voted unanimously to permit businesses that host both adult and youth sports leagues to serve booze.

Selling alcohol at such centers is more and more popular, but with young kids around, some parents wonder if youth ball games and booze really mix.

"We are a sports facility, so sports and alcohol go hand in hand for as long as I can remember. A lot of people do come just to watch the games, people come with significant others, parents will come watch their kids games and if they want to sit and have a beer then they should be allowed to do that," said Michael and Sons Sportsplex Rockville General Manager Pete Morillo.

Just like the Rockville Ice Arena next door, Michael and Sons Sportsplex says there has been a demand for years from parents that they be able to grab a beer or a glass of wine.

The arena applied to permit alcohol in 2004, but the city's zoning restriction prohibited it.

The ordinance has allowed for recreational establishments to serve beer - so now this most recent vote brings indoor sports complexes into alignment with that.

Meanwhile, while some parents were drinking beer in the parking lot tailgate style on Friday, some parents weren't happy with the move.

"Since there are so many kid sports I don't think that's needed. Because we have to drive back from here today to go back to our hotel so you don't want parents driving who have been drinking and you don't want to get into that," said Joy Bradley, a hockey parent.

"Sports can have the tendency to bring out the 40-year-old adolescent, which we have a problem with that now and we don't have any alcohol. We have parents screaming at referees that we have to deal with, we have adults who think they are going to win the World Cup on a Tuesday night in Rockville, so we deal with that anyway. Does alcohol have the potential to exacerbate that situation? I would say that perhaps if it's not monitored," Morillo said.

Sofive is the city's newest indoor sports complex. That group filed a petition to have the city take another look at the issue.

They will also be the first to get a license if they are approved by the Department of Liquor Control next month.