Biting the hand…

I knew this was freakin’ coming.  I knew it.  I just didn’t know who would institute it first.

Dateline Tuscaloosa, Alabama:

… But much of the buzz from fans is focused on the pay-per-tailgate plan on the Quad. This fall, about 20 percent of the space allotted for tailgating on the Quad will be reserved, something Hallman said is similar to the concept UA adopted for RVs in 2007.

Oh, goody.

… As for the Quad, Hallman said his company is working incrementally, waiting to gauge the fan response. So far, it’s been positive, he said. On Thursday, 92 out of 115 spots were sold, and he expected the balance to sell out this week.

‘This is just an experiment to see how it goes, and if we get a favorable response, like we have, then we’ll evaluate what the future may be for the Quad,’ he said.

In 2007, 22 reserved spaces lined the grass between Denny Chimes and Gorgas Library. This season, 115 spots will be staked out by Hallman’s company. Of those, 67 will be in the southeast corner, 26 in the open grass area on the western side and there will be 22 in the same area as they were in 2007.

‘These reserved spots are in spots that have traditional filled up last on the Quad, so we are not trying to disrupt people who have had spots for years on the Quad,’ Hallman said.

The cost for each space is $729 and comes with a tent, electricity and a parking spot near the engineering buildings.

Trust me, when all is said and done, these guys will meter and charge for every aspect of football Saturdays that brings the average fan pleasure.  If they can ever figure out a way to make you pay a fee for the air you breathe, they’ll do that, too.

Don’t think this experiment won’t be very carefully observed in Athens, Georgia, either.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Biting the hand…

  1. Pingback: EDSBS » Archive » CURIOUS INDEX, 7/21/08

  2. WTF

    MOST RIDICULOUS SHIT I HAVE EVER READ!

  3. Do Georgia fans have to pay? I thought we owned the place?!

  4. BamaGrad

    They actually implemented this at the request of tailgaters, through surveys. Tailgating on the Quad in Tuscaloosa had gotten so out of hand that this was needed. The Quad is the most popular and most scenic place to tailgate, but it had gotten to the point where you had to get there at 7 AM Friday to get a tailgating spot.

    On top of that, students started thriving businesses that would reserve a spot and set up a tailgate for you. That made the situation even worse, because on top of normal people squatting on their tailgating spots at 7 AM you also had many students from these businesses out roping off all of the good spots for their customers. This caused some serious friction because before tailgating on the Quad had become so popular, people had what they considered “their spot” and they had probably been tailgating there for years. Then one week they come to find some 18 year old kid has roped off their spot and denying them access. Something had to give.

    I was one of the original 22 renters from last year, and it was wonderful. We didn’t have to fight others for access to the power outlets, we didn’t have to bribe some student to get there at 7 AM to save a spot for us, etc. We just showed up whenever we wanted and knew our spot would always be there.

    That’s not even mentioning the fact that tailgaters leave the Quad looking like a Talladega parking lot after 3 days of partying. The University has to pay to have people clean that up, they have to pay for all of the electricity used, and they have to pay for the landscaping/upkeep of the grounds that people trample and ruin from September through December. All of that costs money, so it makes complete sense that they would try to recoup those expenses.

    It’s easy to blame the money hungry schools in a case like this, but here the tailgaters themselves are to blame. If tailgating on the Quad had never gotten out of hand like it has, then this would not have been necessary. I specifically requested for the University to reserve some areas for paying customers, and I gladly paid.

  5. BamaGrad – I appreciate the info.

    From what you say, it’s clear some things got out of hand, particularly with regard to the student business nonsense. But I fail to see how the school couldn’t have cracked down on that without having to charge fans for the privilege. Let’s face it, ‘Bama will be keeping those kids out now, won’t it?

    As for recouping expenses for electricity (my, how tailgating has changed) and garbage pickup, we fans already pay contributions and for season tickets. You don’t think there’s enough in that revenue stream to cover this kind of stuff?

  6. NCT

    There was a time when most of the UGA campus had open parking for football game days. When I was a kid, we parked by the Phaul Child Development Center (handy playground for us kids) for free and walked up Ag Drive (Brooks) to the stadium. Then, parking became controlled, and my dad got a permit to park in the “Green Street Lot” (where the performing arts stuff was later built) for no charge beyond the regular renewable season ticket contribution and ticket costs. It’s my understanding that there is now zero on-campus parking that does not require it’s own additional fee.

    I will not be surprised if tailgating on University property follows suit.

  7. wathcer16

    As of last season, you could still park on East Campus (free of charge) and they were even nice enough to provide shuttle buses from there to the stadium down river road so you didn’t have to walk (and I never paid a dime for that either…even with the rising price of fuel)

  8. MC

    This trend will most likely continue. Started at the University of Texas a few years ago. All the state employee lots around the stadium, which had been the domain of tailgaters for decades, began charging per spot/per day for home game weekends. Sucks.

  9. PeterPumpkinhead

    I’m an alum and now a faculty member… and no, there is no revenue stream to cover this sort of thing. The University was spending high 5 figures each spring to try to get the grass to grow again after football season. Honestly, I wish they’d kick the tailgaters off all together. When I was a kid, everyone tailgated in the surrounding areas and the Quad was just a gathering place for fans… a place to meet up, watch the band warm up… it wasn’t for recreating your living room in the heart of campus.

  10. Yes, I still exist.

    And college football is back on my mind.

    At Florida we don’t have a situation like the Quad at ‘Bama. Essentially we have been on a paid tailgating basis for any decent spot for a long time now. The way we do it is by parking space – all the good areas near the stadium are surrounded by parking, and unless you are a top donor (Bull Gator), you don’t park near the stadium. Tailgating then occurs near the parking spaces. So technically the tailgating areas are not paid for, but you would have to haul your tailgating equipment a damn far way to get near the stadium.

    To show how far Florida has already come in this regard, the dorm parking spots located just east of the stadium have become Bull Gator parking spots (starting in 2002). On game day students who live in those dorms have to move their cars elsewhere – if they don’t they are towed at the student’s cost. I have seen many a teary eyed young lady wondering where her car went on Saturday morning.

    Currently it costs $13,000 a year to be a Bull Gator (headed to $15k in 2010).

    So, in essence, we have paid for awhile at Florida to tailgate. There are “free” spots still available along University Ave on a first come-first served basis. After reading your article I don’t imagine they will last.

  11. Mergz, buddy, good to see you and Henry still have pulses. ;)

  12. Hobnail_Boot

    Mergz,

    That has happened at Georgia as well.

    I lived in Morris Hall on Lumpkin St. during the 2001 season. We had to move our cars by 10pm Friday nights before home games.

  13. Kobby

    The explosion of tailgating on North Campus is directly correlated to the yearly decrease in free, first come, first serve parking. Compare a map of Athletic Association controlled parking lots in 1998 with a map of 2008. In 1998 parking passes were confined to the central core of campus, bound by Lumpkin, Baldwin, Cedar St., & East Campus road. By 2008, the parking lots all the way to Stegeman have been annexed and are now controlled. Students and young alumni flocked to North Campus in lieu of diminishing tailgating opportunities. Some type of control by the University is inevitable and sadly warranted given the historic nature of the North Campus quads.

  14. Pingback: Mid-Week Eye Candy Wrapper #8: Nikki Miller Edition — Don’t Just Tailgate, Tailgate Better - Tailgating Ideas

  15. BamaGrad

    ————
    From what you say, it’s clear some things got out of hand, particularly with regard to the student business nonsense. But I fail to see how the school couldn’t have cracked down on that without having to charge fans for the privilege. Let’s face it, ‘Bama will be keeping those kids out now, won’t it?
    ————
    Technically I don’t guess the students running the businesses are doing anything that the other people aren’t doing. They’re just showing up to the Quad to reserve spots. So no, I’m not sure UA could have prevented them from doing so while allowing others to set up. Besides, the main point is that the Quad is very crowded and for those of us that can’t get there at 7 AM Friday to reserve a spot, these reserved spots are a godsend. A few hundred dollars over the course of the season to rent the spot is pocket change compared to how much we spend on satellite TV, food, beer, etc. It’s a good deal.

    ———–
    As for recouping expenses for electricity (my, how tailgating has changed) and garbage pickup, we fans already pay contributions and for season tickets. You don’t think there’s enough in that revenue stream to cover this kind of stuff?
    ———–

    It isn’t that they don’t already have enough money, it’s that the money they do have is already earmarked for other things. Stadium expansion and other facilities upgrades, paying for all of the non-revenue generating sports (which is pretty much everything else except maybe men’s basketball, baseball, and women’s softball & gymnastics at Bama), etc. Now just a few years ago you have this new added expense of paying for the upkeep of the Quad after the season, the electricity during the season, facilities personnel on gameday to drive around giving everyone trash cans & trash bags (as well as acting as referees during the fights over power outlets). It wasn’t in the budget, so the money to pay for it has to come somewhere.

    And to reiterate something I said before: we asked for this. We requested the ability to rent a small plot of land on the Quad and they gave us what we wanted. Kudos to UA.

  16. skigator93

    Are you kidding me? “Cost of electricity and cleaning up the quad?!!!” Please. It is just another example of greed and squeezing out the real fans. If someone cannot afford to pay the increased cost of a “reserved spot” then they should have the right to it first come, first served.

    If the University needs to raise a few extra dollars to pay for cleanup and electricity, then couldn’t they just raise ticket prices $1? Let’s see….$1 x 90,000 x 6(or 7) home games = over a half million dollars! I think that would cover the cost of electricity for a few hours on 6 Saturday mornings to run some TVs so that the alumni who have already donated thousands for the chance to buy season tickets can have their picnic where they damn well please.

    UGA’s tailgating scene was 100 times better before the parking nazis took over campus and roped off or coned off all the sidewalks. Now, if you don’t have a parking pass, you have to park in the projects (which almost completely surround campus by the way) and pay “somebody” $20-$25 and hope that your car is still there after the game.

    As for east campus – if I wanted to park somewhere where I had to catch a ride to the game, I might as well tailgate in Atlanta….i am sure there is ample free parking out near the intermural fields as well.