Del. lawmakers advance measure allowing liquor sales at new basketball stadium

Delaware legislators advance a measure allowing liquor sales at a planned basketball stadium. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

Delaware legislators advance a measure allowing liquor sales at a planned basketball stadium. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

The Delaware House of Representatives advanced legislation Tuesday that would allow the sale of alcohol at the new Wilmington stadium of the Blue Coats basketball team.

The bill sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Bolden, D-Wilmington, updates Delaware code to broaden the kinds of sports facilities allowed to apply for a liquor license. The legislation now moves on to the Senate.

Delaware’s code currently defines a “multi-purpose sports facility” as a state-owned or operated complex featuring minor league baseball games with a seating capacity of at least 4,000. The legislation expands the definition to include properties not owned by the state that feature all kinds of sports with a seating capacity of at least 2,500 seats.

Changing the definition makes more stadiums eligible for a liquor license, including an upcoming five-story, 150,000-square-foot stadium for the Blue Coats — the Philadelphia 76ers Delaware farm team, formerly known as the 87ers.

The stadium that will seat 2,500 spectators also will be home to NBA G-League basketball, elite youth soccer players and other athletes. The complex also will provide free or low-cost recreational, educational and leadership programs for low-income kids.

The $26 million project is being aided by a $3 million state grant and $1 million from the City of Wilmington.

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