1 of 5 | The Minnesota Twins are among the teams that extended alcohol sales this season at Target Field in Minneapolis. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
MIAMI, April 13 (UPI) -- MLB's rule changes have led to much shorter games, but also resulted in lower vendor revenue. At least eight teams have extended alcohol sales past the seventh inning to compensate for lost sales.
"After monitoring the effects of the 2023 MLB rule changes at Coors Field and other ballparks across MLB, the Colorado Rockies will extend alcohol sales at Coors Field from the seventh inning to the end of the eighth inning beginning with the team's next home game on April 17," the Rockies said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
The Rockies, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers are among the teams who decided to sell alcohol through the eighth inning -- - a departure from previous ballpark regulations.
The San Diego Padres extended sales into the eighth inning, but not for its entirety.
"In anticipation of shorter game times this season due to the implementation of the pitch clock, we extended alcohol sales from the end of the seventh inning to the first out of the eighth inning, which was permitted under the ballpark's alcohol license," the Padres said in a statement.
League sources said several other teams -- including the Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals -- are evaluating the impact of pace-of-play rules and considering extensions of alcohol sales.
"The St. Louis Cardinals have no plans to extend alcohol sales at Busch Stadium beyond the team's current service policy of the end of the seventh inning," the Cardinals said in a statement. "The club will continue to monitor the guest experience and game times to determine if any policy changes may be warranted."
The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers already sold alcohol through the eighth inning, and that continues this season. Most MLB teams previously stopped alcohol sales after the seventh inning to curb driving while under the influence and alcohol-related incidents once games end.
MLB games are more than 30 minutes shorter -- on average -- this season after the 30-team league made several off-season rule changes.
A clock now limits pitchers to 15 seconds per pitch -- or 20 seconds with runners on base. Hitters must be inside the batter's box before an outfield clock ticks down to 8 seconds.
The shrunken game durations have led to less time for fans to purchase food and alcohol -- and for MLB teams to cash in -- during games.
"This is [reflective] of the fact that the games are shorter," Brewers president of business operations Rick Schlesinger told MLB.com earlier this month.
"From a time perspective, we're probably looking at selling beer for the same amount of time by extending to the eighth inning that we did last year through the seventh.
"Obviously, the safety and the conduct of our fans has primacy. We've had no issues, but it's a small sample size and we're going to continue to test it and see if it makes sense. I know a number of other teams are doing the same thing."
MLB does not control when individual teams can sell alcohol in their stadiums, but does require them to have an alcohol management policy. That policy specifies items, timings for purchase and training for vendors.
Teams still must gain approval from the cities in which they play for changes to stadium liquor licenses.