“Big-screen TVs close to your own refrigerator are pretty compelling.”

Especially when the guy making that observation devoted himself to making the on campus game day experience less enjoyable.

The problem now is that many of the solutions to this…

David Walter Banks for The Wall Street Journal

… cost money, whether it’s installing wi-fi, so that fans can “communicate in real time with somebody on the other side of the stadium” or better scheduling, which would mean more home-and-home series.  And the longer ADs wait to do something about it, the risk they run is that more people are going to feel like this:

This worrisome dynamic was evident last Saturday, when Georgia hosted North Texas on a drizzly afternoon and one tailgating troupe near Sanford Stadium kept dry underneath tents. Lounging in lawn chairs, with a makeshift bar to their right and their buffet and beer-pong tables behind them, students who said they had tickets to the game being played across the street instead were glued to two flat-screen TVs. “There are a ton of people who prefer this,” said Sam Little, a junior at Georgia. “They can actually watch the game instead of deal with the crazy atmosphere.”

Why do I get the feeling that no matter how things go, the only folks that are going to come out ahead are ESPN and CBS?

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35 Comments

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football

35 responses to ““Big-screen TVs close to your own refrigerator are pretty compelling.”

  1. DawgPhan

    yeah it is pretty annoying to not be able to send a text message or tweet during the game.

  2. Irwin R Fletcher

    Well…there’s a problem here that is simple economics

    First, the tickets cost very little for the students. They would pay the full rate for just the LSU and Carolina games. There is literally no penalty to the student for not using the ticket. They are getting full value and then some from the other games and…..

    There is no market for resale. There is demand for those seats…despite the whinings of Billy Tailgater and the WSJ. What’s the issue then? Regulatory policy that prevents resale of student tickets. There is literally no barrier to entry to the market. It is the dumb policy of no resale of student tickets that has made this mess.

    Two solutions: first, get rid of the prohibition on student resale. It’s dumb. second, short of that, make students purchase game tickets on a game by game basis. Attendance would be much higher if the student actually had to associate a cost with missing the game rather than justifying it as ‘some ticket I got free for buying LSU and Carolina’

    • JP

      This.

      When I was in school, one of the cool parts about the student section was that it had a lot of kids from other University system schools that were Georgia also fans. Most of their schools didn’t have football teams, so UGA was their default rooting interest. Any butts in the seats will help build that future fan base they’re so worried about.

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        I didn’t go to undergrad at UGA [because I'm an idiot]…but when I flew home and went to games, I wouldn’t have had seats if not for student tickets. I…gasp…resold some of my tickets in grad school.

        Heck…we’ve got an ‘official’ deal with stubhub. If the student re-sells to anyone but a student, make it have to be through Stubhub (they could code the ticket so that you don’t need an ID to get in) and let the Athletic Dept take a cut…everyone’s happy.

        • Debby Balcer

          Students now are penalized if they get a ticket and it is not used. They have to release them early in the week which is why the university had student tickets available at full price in the student section for the NT game. If students request tickets and turn them in too often they can’t get them anymore. Grad students had trouble getting tickets because they had less hours.

    • Gravidy

      I was all ready to type out a market-based argument for why this happens and the obvious solutions to the problem, but you beat me to it.

      The simple fact is that there are too many student tickets for most games. The students don’t place enough value on the tickets. The tickets are undervalued at initial purchase, and the resale value is zero. Fix the supply problem. Fix the value problem. And the demand problem will fix itself. I’m an engineer, not an economist. But even I can figure that out.

      • Gravidy

        Rather than “demand problem”, I should have said the attendance problem will fix itself. Sorry, I got too caught up in my Econ 101 jargon. :-)

  3. JP

    Isn’t there a system now that punishes students (like Sam Little and his friends) for not using their tickets?

    • Ben

      Yes. You lose opportunities to buy tickets in the future if you don’t use the ones you buy.

      On a side note, the caption in the WSJ article is misleading. In my experience (2010-11), the primary student section (in the northeast corner) was always packed. The endzone is/was for people who can’t be bothered to show up early for a game and are therefore more likely to leave early as well.

    • Ubiquitous Ga Alum

      Yes … it’s a strike system …

      Penalties:

      The Student Football Ticket penalty system is operated through a point scale. An unused ticket on a student account will result in a one point penalty “strike.” Three strikes in a given season deem that student ineligible for post season tickets (SEC Championship and bowl tickets) and the following season’s tickets. Post season tickets will be determined by UGA cumulative hours earned and strikes received during the season.

    • MGW

      yes, and it’s stupid. if the kid doesn’t notify the school within 2 days of the game, he punished by making it harder to get tickets in the future, and the seat goes unfilled. He’ll basically just go to the game, swipe his card or wristband or whatever else it is now, then leave so he doesn’t get punished.

      Paper tickets – problem solved. Kid decides to chase tail instead of going to the game; sells his ticket to one of thousands of other students or their friends looking for a ticket – problem solved.

  4. Ubiquitous Ga Alum

    1. UGA oversells student tickets
    2. UGA once again sold all allotted student tickets (15,856)
    3. For the SC game, 15,864 students attended & there weren’t seats for all of them

    Now is there an issue with attendance for rainy or lousy games or ones with Toe Nail U over Labor Day? Yes … but saying that +30% of tickets go unused is technically true, but the actual capacity is under that number.
    2.

  5. 92dawg

    I may just be too rabid to have a good perspective, but I would think that the fans who have really experienced the game day atmosphere at a major Southern school would still want to go to the games, despite the in-stadium inconveniences. This weekend is a perfect example to me. It’s nice to be able to relax and enjoy the game in the comfort of your own home with all of its conveniences, but that experience can not come close to the thrill of being a part of it in the stands. Just no comparison whatsoever to me. And tailgating under the stupid rules imposed by president jackass is still better than not tailgating at all in my book. Would I like to be able to send a text or make a call or look up stats on my phone? Sure. But not being able to do so is not going to prevent me from going to the game.

    The bigger concerns are probably attracting new fans (not the kids that grew up going to games with their families – they should be well indoctrinated; but the true newcomers that did not have the privilege of going to games before they go to UGA) and the monetary costs of going. Unfortunately, every sport is pricing a large chunk of its loyal fans out of going to live sporting events. And that sucks. I’d say UGA does as good a job with that as any of our rivals, but it is still a problem at UGA. As for the scheduling issue, a North Texas type opponent on a predicted rainy day with a noon kickoff has never been a great draw for the crowds. That type game hasn’t seen a max capacity crowd even with nice weather through the years. Hopefully the new playoff mess (gotta look for the bright side somewhere) will put a very noticeable and meaningful emphasis on strength of schedule and scare the big boys out of scheduling “cupcakes” more than once a year. I can handle one cupcake a year with stadium capacity around 70,000 – not a bad environment for taking younger kids or whatnot. But one of those games is plenty on anybody’s schedule.

    Given the students’ track record of late at UGA (and apparently everywhere else), if I were king for a day and tasked with ensuring the best crowds for the future, my agenda would go something like this: reduce student tickets to 12,000; student tickets must be scanned going in and coming out, and privileges for the next game are rated on the level of full use of the ticket – they are getting them for pennies on the dollar compared to general public so it is plenty fair to impose special use restrictions with a limited supply; make some of the least desirable locations in the stadium available on a game-by-game basis at a reduced price – say $20 a ticket and 10,000 tickets – to be eligible to buy you must register before the season and be assigned a lottery number, track use by those lottery folks like you do student tickets with a penalty/reward on future tickets; do all that is humanly possible to eliminate ticket brokers buying up a bunch of tickets (gotta be a way to improve that situation); season ticket holders have tickets scanned coming in and going out also, but the penalty/reward is full use earns you a modest credit against your donation next season and lack of use earns you a penalty tacked on to your renewal donation next season; last but not least UGA needs to correct past sins and bend over freaking backwards to make parking and tailgating the best possible experience for folks that come to the games. If the goal is butts in the seats and long-term steady stream of loyal ticket sales and concessions sales, the short term costs would be worth it in my opinion. Lot better investment than $8-12 million for in-stadium Wi-Fi for the moderately to major rabid fan.

    That was really long. Sorry. I knew I’d have trouble getting anything done at work this week. Feel like Saturday is our Super Bowl. We win this one, I don’t think there is anything really standing in our way to get back to Atlanta with a damn good shot at Pasadena.

    • MGW

      Or just sell paper tickets with no restrictions except that the kids can’t pick them up until game week; i.e. too late to put on the internet and ship to some random dude. That way every ticket makes its way into the stadium in the hands of a student or one of his buddies, friend of a friend, etc.

      Who gives a shit if the kid makes a few bucks selling it?

  6. PTC DAWG

    I have no problem not having a phone for days at a time, much the length of a game. Life does go on.

    • MGW

      you’re clearly not a kid in college trying to get laid after the game.

      • Dog in Fla

        Emeritus Mike needed something to eat after hearing that kids in college use phones to aid and abet getting laid during, before and after games and reading his WSJ shout-out,

        “Big-screen TVs close to your own refrigerator are pretty compelling,” Georgia president emeritus Michael Adams said.

        Michael told his mansion house boy make him a Fischer’s Pickled Rope Baloney sandwich and use the five pound jar which Mike prefers chilled, not at room temperature, and a can of TaB, shaken, not stirred, from the Pro 48, Sub-Zero’s 800-pound monument to food preservation in its most iconic form, like Mike. Stainless steel, inside and out. High performance, through and through.

        http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Bs5b8XW4L.jpg

  7. MGW

    Sell them paper tickets without any restriction on re-sale. That is the only way.

    • I was one of the last graduating classes to use student tickets – went to grad school elsewhere but went back to Athens for many games – My first year as a post grad – I bought a buddy’s student tickets (he went to the law school and didn’t care about football). After that, they switched off of paper tickets. The switch to electronic student tickets probably prevented me from going to about 10-15 more games over the next few years. I was a poor law student and couldn’t afford season tickets or some of the higher priced tickets on the open market – and I couldn’t get student tickets anymore once they switched. I think the creation of a young alumni section was a great idea – they should consider expanding that. (For the record, I was outside of the “Young Alumni” range by the time the program was implemented)

      • MGW

        That’s exactly it: the student section IS the young alumni section. You take away that wiggle room and suddenly a big bunch of people can’t come to the game.

        We’re not all the guy who can afford to (and somehow make time to) come to every single home game; a lot of times its a “show up last minute and scrounge up a ticket” kind of thing. And that’s a hell of a lot harder to do when the 15,000 tickets most likely to be scrounged by a young alumni or his spouse/friends (or a student’s younger sibling in high school or a buddy at another school) are suddenly inaccessible, and the alternative is not only more scarce and expensive, but made even more scarce and expensive by the fact that the entire market of people who would be willing to sit in the student section is forced in with the rest.

        Not to mention the actual student who wants to go last minute.

  8. SouthGaDawg

    This is an era when you take kids to a ball game and they would rather look at an IPhone than watch the game. Go to any live event. This isn’t a Georgia student problem. It is a societal problem.

  9. Athens Townie

    I’m slow, but I’m not sure I understand this part of the post: “the guy making the observation devoted himself to making the on campus game day experience less enjoyable”. What am I not getting here?

    • Governor Milledge

      Adams essentially banning North Campus tailgating under draconian rules.

      Adams banning parking on sidewalks/grassy areas throughout campus, which lead to many impromptu tailgating spots (I remember several which occurred between Russell/Creswell on those grassy hill spots).

      Adams ramping up the parking fee charges.

      You get the idea

  10. WarD Eagle

    Call me old, but…

    I don’t give a rats ass if a college player doesn’t get paid. Had to get that out of the way.

    …kill the piped in music
    …drop ticket prices
    …disconnectl the wifi
    ….ax the jumbotron
    …tell ESPN when the game will start. Bandwidth is unlimited, let them deal with providing the game.
    …I have no desire to go to an 11AM game or one that ends at midnight.
    …I’m not interests in how we stack up against Wofford or Latech
    …etc

    • AusDawg85

      You are old. Must be more plainsman than eagle/tiger.

      Tell them to pay for my gas and I’ll take a seat. Hmmmm…maybe Tech would make me that offer?

    • You mean you don’t want to see the “don’t drink and drive” commercials followed by TEENAGE WASTED, CALL ME TEENAGE WASTED????

  11. Moxey

    Senator

    I enjoy your website and share many of the same opinions as you.

    I am someone who goes to every home game. This past
    Saturday i wondered if this was a 9th SEC game or a marquee out of conference match up, would the stands have been full?

    No doubt the crowd was sparse but Georgia seemed disinterested for 3.5 quarters so why shouldn’t the fans be?

    I would not have wanted to watch the USC game on TV. I believe as much money we pay for our tix we deserve better games. Maybe I am wrong. Thoughts?

    Sorry for the long winded post. I have had several scotches and rarely respond to these things.

    Thanks

    Moxey

    • Beer Money

      So did you see how sparse the crowd was in Baton Rouge last Saturday under similar weather conditions? They played a blood rival, not North Texas, and the crowd looked similar.

      Bottom line, many people hate sitting in any kind of inclement weather.

  12. Hiawathadawg

    The game experience is reduced tremendously by TV delays. I have season tickets, but N. Texas game delays made me question wheter i would do better to buy a big, no huge, screen and stay home. Or if i want to go tailgate with kids at UGA and then go downtown and watch it in a bar.

  13. Normaltown Mike

    If Mason had started, not one seat would’ve been vacant.

  14. PatinDC

    Do they still do blok seating for students? How does that work with electronic ticketeing. Back in the day, I used to have to collect the coupons for the game. Turn them into and get back an equivalent number in a block. Made for fun games.