Hockey fans force arena to change beer cups after YouTube reveals suds scam

Greg Wyshynski
Idaho Beer

If a hockey fan is paying arena prices for beer, that hockey fan better get what they’re paying for. A group of Idaho Steelheads fans suspected they weren’t, and were determined to force Boise’s CenturyLink Arena to own up to it.

The Steelheads, an ECHL team, play in CenturyLink Arena, which is being sued by fans Brady Peck, Michele Bonds and William and Brittany Graham, who are seeking $10,000 in damages. The reason? They claim the arena defrauded customers by charging $3 more for a large cup of beer that actually contained the same amount of brew as a squattier cup labeled “small.”

That’s right: They were paying $7 for a taller cup that contained the same amount of beer as the $4 smaller cup.

There’s video evidence of it as well. Gwen Gibbs, who attended a Steelheads game on Saturday night, posted a video showing the liquid scam on YouTube, where it quickly went viral:

More like “Steal-heads,” am I right?

The team and arena were finally pressured to respond. From the Idaho Statesman:

“It was recently brought to our attention that the amount of beer that fits in our large (20-oz) cups also fits in our regular (16-oz) cups. The differentiation in the size of the two cups is too small. To correct that problem, we’re purchasing new cups for the large beers that will hold 24 ounces, instead of 20, for the remainder of this season to provide better value to our fans. As we do every offseason, we’ll evaluate our entire concessions menu for next season over the summer," Eric Trapp, the president of the Idaho Steelheads and CenturyLink Arena wrote in a post on the team's Facebook page.

Of course, as the paper notes, there’s still better value in buying the smaller beer: “Forty-eight ounces of beer costs $14 if you purchase two large beers or $12 if you purchase three regular beers.”

Despite the reactive move by the team, the beer lawsuit pours on. From the Associated Press:

In the lawsuit, Peck says he's attended at least 30 events over the past three years at the arena, including a hockey game on March 5, and that he's purchased beer each time. The other three plaintiffs say they have been attending sporting events at the venue for five years and that they bought at least one large $7 beer at each event.

"While different shapes, both cup sizes hold substantially the same amount of liquid and are not large versus small in actual capacity," the group's attorney, Wyatt Johnson, wrote in the lawsuit. "Defendants knowingly sold each of their beers in a similar manner at each event held at the arena where beer was sold for at least the last five years."

Again: You don’t mess with a hockey fan’s beer. We already know it’s a scam to pay $7 for a brew that IRL costs about half that. But to not give us the suds promised … that’s deplorable. It’s worse than the air in a bag of potato chips. It’s worse than putting a small burger in a giant cardboard container. It’s an affront to two of America’s greatest virtues: Beer and the fans that drink it.

Our suggestion for the Steelheads, going forward: Next season, every fan gets a free large beer. One. Every game. Put a little picture of a beer on their tickets and punch that image with a holepunch when they come and collect their suds. It’s really the only way to reestablish trust with the fans. And also give them the beer they’ve been deprived by nefarious anti-biggie size forces.