Consider 2012 One Wild Ride

by Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff  on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 2:49 pm  

All the while, though, athletic director Jeff Long managed to keep the Hogs’ cash registers ringing. Athletic department revenue climbed to almost $100 million in 2011-2012, with about 64 percent of that total coming from football.

Additionally, during the 2012 fiscal year, $26.2 million was pledged to support Arkansas athletics and the Razorback Foundation. Then, in November, the department announced it’s moving forward with a feasibility study for a football stadium expansion project with a price tag in the tens of millions.

Most of us have accepted by now that college athletics — and football, in particular — is big business. In 2012, Arkansas produced numbers with enough zeroes to eliminate any doubt.


2. Booze on the Ballot — Booze was a big issue in three Northwest Arkansas counties in 2012.

Voters in Benton County, the second-most populated of the state’s 75 counties, went to the polls Nov. 6 and answered the wet/dry question with a resounding “yes.”

The vote to allow the “manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors” was approved 65 percent to 34 percent.

The county, long recognized as the state’s “wettest dry county” with more than 130 private-club permits, had been dry since 1947. A question on the issue to go “wet” had not been put before voters since 1944.

Two grandsons of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton — Steuart and Tom Walton — were the main financiers of the effort through the group Keep Dollars in Benton County.

Supporters spent most of the year getting enough signatures of the county’s registered voters, about 38 percent, to get the question on the ballot.

Madison County voters also collected enough signatures to put the wet/dry question on the ballot there, and it passed with about 57 percent of the vote.

Benton County will receive 55 permits for package-liquor stores, based on the county’s population. Madison County will be allowed three permits.



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