It's a well known fact that many sports fans drink before and during games, but how much they drink? Now researchers have found that eight percent of fans attending professional baseball and football events in the US are legally drunk when leaving the stadium after the game.
They found about 60 percent of fans surveyed had zero blood alcohol content (BAC) on a breath tester, 40 percent tested positive for alcohol in their blood and 8 percent were legally drunk, with a blood alcohol level higher than the limit of 0.08.
The study by the University of Minnesota is the first to measure BAC levels of fans after professional sporting events in America.
However, lead author Darin Erickson admitted that the sample size was small, as few fans wanted to take the BAC test after the game.
"Getting fans to submit to a breath test and participate in a brief survey following a football or baseball game is not an easy task," he said.
"We conducted BAC tests of 362 adult attendees following 13 baseball games and three football games. This is a preliminary study, but the first one to actually attempt to measure BAC levels after professional sporting events in the U.S.," he added.
However, Erickson said that even with the small sample it suggests that 5,000 fans could be leaving a football game legally drunk.
"Our sample size was small, partly because of the difficulty of getting fans to submit to a BAC test after a game. On average, about 5,000 attendees leaving one National Football League (NFL) event would be above the legal BAC limit for driving," he said.
The study also found that tailgaters were 14 times more likely to be legally drunk after the game than their non-tailgating counterparts.
The study is published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.