If you build it, they won’t come.

Damn, if this isn’t the saddest thing I’ve read in a while, I don’t know what is.

… For Georgia, heat certainly plays a role, though the exact reason for the school’s precipitous decline in student attendance still seems to be a mystery. This year, the University of Georgia cut its student section capacity from 18,026 to 16,200. Despite overselling on purpose (17,212), the school’s scanners revealed this sad fact: An average of 28.8 percent of those who bought tickets didn’t show up to home games.

Benjamin Wolk, a senior at the school who is a football beat writer for the student newspaper The Red & Black, says one of the reasons for the no-shows is because of a stale game atmosphere that caters to the old money that wants the traditions of decades ago.

“One thing Clemson, Vanderbilt and Auburn all had in common was a crazy stadium atmosphere,” Wolk said. “At Georgia? Traditional music and a PA announcer barely yelling ‘Let’s make some noise ‘on third down.”

Vanderbilt?  Dude, seriously?

This, mind you, after a year in which Georgia played two of the most thrilling games I’ve had the pleasure of watching between the hedges.  But evidently it takes a shot or three of fake juice to get Wolk’s generation motivated to put in an appearance.

Or, even sadder, outright bribery.

Since taking the job in 2010, Arizona’s athletic director Greg Byrne says he actively has to push students to not only get to the game, but also stay there once they arrive. After he saw defections at halftime, the message on the back of shirts given to the students called the Zona Zoo this year was as blatant as he could make it: “Zona Zoo STAYS the entire game.”

He moved the band closer to the student section, brought in a group of people called the Zona Zoo Crew to keep people at the game and then actually decided to give away cash prizes, which students could only claim their prize after the game ended.

For its first two home games, the school gave away a total of $5,000 that was to be equally split among 10 student fans.

The punchline?  “Even that wasn’t a complete success, as three of the $500 prizes went unclaimed.”

Overall, attendance may be up, but students sound like they don’t give a shit.  And athletic department administrators sound like they don’t have much of a clue about how to rectify the situation.  I mean, how much can better seating and Wi-fi access help fix this?

“People would rather stay at fraternity houses with unlimited food, booze and a big-screen TV than make the trek to the stadium… Phone service is terrible during games and it’s hard to stay in touch with the world for the three hours you’re in the stadium.”

Yes, because staying in touch with the world is what you worry about most when you spend your entertainment dollar.  (No wonder I don’t go to the movies anymore.)

Hey, it’s Darren Rovell and a small sample size.  I get that.  But you can’t brush aside the attendance data he cites.  The reality is that there’s a significant part of the student fan base at schools all over the country that’s tuning out of attending games.  And once lost, it’s unlikely they’ll return.

There’s a limit on how convenient you can make the in-game experience.  There are only so many entrances, bathrooms and concession stands you can cram into a 90,000-seat stadium.  Immediate gratification is a losing proposition when you’re selling football tickets.  Just ask some kid named Aaron Stillman:

“The problem is in all the other areas. There’s nothing to do while I’m waiting on line for an hour to get into the stadium, and there’s little added value from being in the stands watching the game.”

And he’s one of the ones who showed up.

The long-term consequences of this are troubling.  If the number of folks buying tickets declines over time, there are basically two ways to embrace the suck:  accept the shrinking numbers and raise prices to make up the lost revenue (see, Atlanta Braves) and tie your fate even more strongly to television revenues.  Neither really thrills me.

Maybe I’m overreacting.  But it sure feels like another way college football is slowly getting away from me.

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198 Comments

Filed under College Football

198 responses to “If you build it, they won’t come.

  1. DawgPhan

    it will be interesting to see (if we see) the results of the season ticket survey that went around.

    I want better cell/wifi service at the game and better PA music.

    I bet most season ticket holders wanted more of the stuff that will drive students away.

    The phone service in Sanford is terrible. You can’t send a text or tweet during the game to save your life.

    Keeping up with other games, twitter, texting with friends, and a little engaging pop music between plays/timeouts would really improve the experience.

    • I think they’re starting to do a better job with other game scores/happenings, although that could be further improved. As for Twitter and texting, I don’t care, but I get that your generation does.

      As far as PA music between plays… well, if I wanted to go to a pro hockey or basketball game, I’d go to a pro hockey or basketball game.

      • DawgPhan

        I agree and I almost said that I dont want it to turn into a hockey game. So something more than what we have now with the music, but significantly less than hockey/basketball.

      • Not sure where the generational divide lies with the cellular issue, I’ll be 37 in March, and improved cellular service would be a major bonus for me. Of course, I’m not the target for it, because I’ll be there whether the cellular service improves or not. But I would think that it could have a positive affect on students who have a ticket, but don’t care too much one way or the other whether they go or not. If they can still do all the stuff on their phone, may be more likely to get them in there.

        For me, my buddies and I are spread out throughout the stadium. Would love to be able to text with them during the game………during away games when we’re all sitting in front of our tv’s, we text the whole game, with our ongoing commentary. If I could do that during the home games, it would increase the level of enjoyment for me, and by a pretty significant amount.

        Plus, sometimes something has happened but they either don’t show a replay or whatever, and you just want some more detail on it. It’s nice to be able to text a buddy who may be watching on TV, where they give the updates, and get the info needed, or log onto Twitter where the news is probably on there too.

        I certainly don’t blame the older crowd that has no interest in looking at their phone other than maybe during halftime. But there’s a whole lot of people that I think it would make a big difference for.

      • dc_oliver

        I don’t think there’s much denying that other stadiums do a better job of getting the crowd pumped up. If you were at Clemson or Auburn this past season, I think you’ll agree.

        Yes, they do it with piped in music between downs. I’m all for that but I know some older alums are not. I think the tie breaker in this scenario should be our players. And you know the players love the piped in music. Why not give them what they want, and also make home crowds a little louder in the process?

        • I was at the Auburn game, and the crowd wasn’t any more pumped up for that game than the Georgia crowd was for South Carolina or LSU.

          • dc_oliver

            Sure, if you only take into account the big moments during the game. But I stand by my observation that the Auburn and Clemson crowds were consistently louder than Georgia’s, from kick off to the end of the 4th.

            It’s hard to get loud when I have people sitting behind me the entire game telling me to sit down and shut up. Not sure what the perfect solution to that is, but I think more popular music between downs could help get the entire crowd fired up. I’m sure if the older folks at Clemson, Auburn, etc. can adjust, the folks in Athens can too.

          • Hank

            SC and LSU were electric. Mizzou was kind of alright, but subdued. The rest were just like somewhere you thought you had to be – and that is if you pay for season tickets. The games are at noon or at night. If the students don’t live on campus, they have nowhere to park. They can get a few spots if they are in place at 6:15 am (of course they can’t set up until the clock strikes 7:00 am). I don’t go in at the student gate, but I assume it’s not fun with all of them at one place, where everyone starts out a criminal until they are frisked and all of their bags/purses are checked and cleared of bottled water or anything else. UGA cops are trying to tow every car not parked perfectly in an approved spot and roaming isles trying to catch someone drinking. Is tailgating still banned on North campus? But hey, you can now get a refillable $8 coke and popcorn. The university has done everything in their power to discourage people other than big money donors to attend games. I don’t understand whey they are confused.

            • Spence

              Amen.

              Most posters on this blog are pretty far removed from what students go through now to get into a game. I sneak booze all the time, but for a 19 year-old kid who wants to get drunk (like I do) during a game, it may mean getting arrested now that they’re all herded to one place and really scoured and frisked.

              In 1997 there were cops there too, but they didn’t care unless you got really out of line or had something sticking out of your pocket. Let’s just say managed to get a LOT of booze into games.

            • Governor Milledge

              This comment, plus Spence’s comment @ 11:04am and hassan’s @ 12:22pm, rolled together, pretty much encapsulate the items that need to be on GM’s checklist of things to address to fix the attendance issues.

              And it’s not only students, either. Imagine how much more willing alumni would be to attend & buy season tickets if you also make it easier for them! North Campus tailgating was more about alumni/visiting fans than anything else.

            • Will (the other one)

              I’d call the Mizzou crowd less subdued, and more (rightfully) nervous about a then-untested, but undefeated team facing a home team that nearly lost to a bad Tennessee squad and lost several offensive stars the weekend before.

              • Hank

                I was referring to how the crowd was pumped up at the game, and in my mind how that is affected by game time, etc. USC was 4:30, LSU – 3:30, Mizzou – 12:00. That, along with every other deterrent the University has thrown at us is a big cause for students (and a lot of the faculty and regular season ticket holders in my section) not showing up or staying until the end of games. USC and LSU were LOUD. Mizzou, people stood and kind of cheered when we scored with some high fives. App State, 12:30, everybody just sat there and lightly clapped when we scored.

        • Spence

          I’m 34 and if they start piping in music all the time like they do at Tech I’ll cancel my fucking season tickets. This is a HORRIBLE idea and I hate hate hate sitting at Tech games and having their GD shit blasted in my ears.

          Look, if you go to a Braves game and someone hits a home run, they play that stupid music, then when it’s done the crowd is silent. Why? Because you can’t hear yourself cheer. I know students at Clemson, Tech, and other places jump up and down when they play that Euro-techno song, but nobody else is. It’s a horrible idea.

          Stadiums cannot compete with the flashing lights and pretty noises of TV. But they have something TV does not and never will, which is a huge roar of the crowd and the excitement of seeing things happen. If it was up to me, I’d have a scoreboard going with other scores on it, being updated constantly, then take out the big jumbo screen, or at least only use it for replays of cool stuff and ads during timeouts (I get that revenue is a part of the process). In other words, FOCUS ON THE UNIQUENESS OF THE STADIUM EXPERIENCE, don’t try to make it TV.

          Students aren’t coming to games for the same reasons that everyone else isn’t coming to games… the broadcasts are getting better and better as are TVs, and you can grab a beer out of your fridge. Dilute the experience down more and more with half-ass efforts to stay modern (piped in Miley, shitty flashing jumbotron videos, etc) and they’ll stay home. Rile them up with calls to attend, good game times (no student likes a noon kickoff), and flexible student ticket sales, and you’ll see those seats fill back up.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            +1.

          • Cosmic Dawg

            +1000. Even as it is, I get major information / advertising / sensory overload.

            And as pointed out by somebody above, the kids aren’t staying home because they don’t find live football interesting, they’re staying home because the administration treats them like felons, not customers. These kids today are the gentlest, best-behaved group you could ask for.

          • 81Dog

            This.

            I’ve been to Auburn enough times to want to stab my own eardrums for a little relief from the fake juice/constant piped in BS noise they play every.Freaking.NANOSECOND. that the ball isnt in play.
            If coming to the stadium and actually EXPERIENCING the game in person (live crowd. UGA Band. Weather. Watching the scoreboard for info instead of your i-phone) is too much trouble for your ADHD suffering spoiled self, do the grownups a favor and stay home. You can watch the game with one eye and play angry birds, update your instagram account, and tweet with your other afflicted friends instaed of, you know, paying atrtention to the game.

          • I’m 34 and if they start piping in music all the time like they do at Tech I’ll cancel my … season tickets. This is a HORRIBLE idea and I hate hate hate sitting at Tech games and having their (music) blasted in my ears. Look, if you go to a Braves game and someone hits a home run, they play that stupid music.

            I couldn’t agree more. I’m old (to a lot of you), and also a classically trained musician. I quit going to games some years ago because of the ‘music’. And I use the word ‘music’ lightly. What heavy metal and hard rap noise have to do with football I’ll never know. We have one of the best bands in the world, at considerable expense, yet they have to share time.

            To me, it ruins the atmosphere. My last game was Matt Stafford’s first start vs. UAB. 2006, I think. That was the game I reached my saturation point, and I’d had all of the ‘musical noise’ I could take. So I was surprised to read Georgia’s experience is “traditional”. If it really were, I’d be back in the stadium.

            As it is, on big game days with good weather, I’ll go Friday afternoon and spend the evening downtown, have brunch on Saturday morning, then take in the tailgating around the stadium, just to see people and get the experience. The about half an hour before the game, I retreat back downtown to watch the game in an atmosphere I can enjoy.

            Yet if what I’m reading here is true, the situation is worse in other places. Loud ‘music’ between plays? I can’t imagine. The last thing I want in my head is that crap, at any time. But between plays, I’m thinking, or at least trying to. I’m into the game.

            To me, it’s a shame the atmosphere changed. And IIRC, it happened on Damon Evans watch, right after Dooley was shafted. But it doesn’t matter now. It is what it is. I don’t know the answer to the current problem. I just know I can’t be a part of it.
            ~~~

            • Spence

              So I appreciate everything you’re saying very much, and know I made a case against piped in music. I stand by it. BUT, when we played Soulja Boy after the 3rd quarter bands were done playing (I believe it started against Ole Miss in 2007… turned the season around), I was fine with it. And here’s the thing, that song wasn’t blasted super loud, it’s a subtle beat, they took out the lyrics (heh) and everyone just danced and had fun. It was NEVER pumped in as loud as AC/DC is (and AC/DC over those speakers sounds miserable).

              There’s a time and a place for a little piped in music, but you’ve got to know when/where. Don’t do it to get the crowd hyped, but inbetween 3rd and 4th and 1st and 2nd is a decent time. Certainly I’m fine with some pregame music, etc.

              Regardless, anyone who thinks playing more music is going to get students to come either needs to turn over the sound system to them (and suffer the consequences) or realize they don’t want to hear the shit you think they want to hear. Let the damn band play.

              Oh, also, have vendors sell sunscreen, visors, and fans during the scalders, especially over in my section (304). Maybe a little extra water too. Little things matter.

          • Will (the other one)

            Very much agree about the early kickoffs. When Kentucky is the only nightgame we have, it’s going to be disappointing, turnout-wise. Now, I know ESPN set some of those early games, but I think far more people would show up for the North Texas and App States of the schedule if we treated them the way LSU treats gimmie games, and had them at night.

      • hunkerdowndawg

        One of the WORST things about playing in the GA Dome is the loud shitty music and ads that are borderline deafening but add zero value to the game experience. And I love loud music… just not 20 seconds at a time when I am trying to pay attention to a football game.

      • John

        People are completely missing the point. Students don’t care about rap music, checking twitter, or texting their friends. They care about partying. And with first-come first-serve seating, ruining North Campus tailgating, and frisking almost every student, the student section isn’t a party like it used to be.

        The lower level is now 98% freshman without a drop of alcohol. It used to be 80% drunk with mostly juniors and seniors coming in from tailgating. Internet and phone service is nice, but if you want a full and loud student section, you need a party atmosphere.

      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        When you’ve got one of the best band programs in the Southeast, actually one of the best in the country, you need to take advantage of that. For what it’s worth, when Dooley was AD, the only music during the game was provided by the Redcoats.

    • PTC DAWG

      Being tethered to a phone sounds thrilling…I have one, I certainly do not take it everywhere I go.

      More wifi? WGAS, watch the game.

      • The people who aren’t coming to the games are the ones WGAS, which is the point of the post. :)

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I think PTC’s point was that if they don’t GAS then they shouldn’t go to the game at all. Let someone who does GAS have the seat. FWIW I agree.

        • PTC DAWG

          More wifi? Who gives a shit, watch the game.

          Does that make it easier to understand?. Are they coming to a coffee house with free wifi or a football game?

          • I completely understood what WGAS meant. My point was that they’re trying to get more people to the game. The people who aren’t coming are the ones who give a shit about things like wifi. If they want more the stands full, they can’t have a WGAS attitude about what the people who aren’t attending the games actually want.

            And it’s not just a student thing. Six years ago you had to have over 10,000 points just to get season tix (assuming you weren’t renewing). Now ANYONE who sends in a minimum contribution is pretty much assured of getting tix. Obviously there are economic factors at play there too, but they can’t have a WGAS attitude if they want a full stadium. My guess is that if you owned your own business (you might actually own one, I don’t know), and you were given specific feedback on why people weren’t buying your product or service, you wouldn’t then look at them and say “Well who gives a shit about that?” Like I’ve outlined under the very first comment above, the social aspect actually enhances the game watching experience for me and lots of others like me. It’s not that people just want to go to the game and surf the web the whole time.

            • PTC DAWG

              Ok, moving on..what would it cost to supply a decent Wifi signal to the stadium area, assume 25K on at any one time? This I have no idea about.

              I know the cell systems get overloaded on game day, can’t they bring in some type of repeaters to help with this?

              Obviously there is more than just one problem with student attendance…

              • The economics would be another debate. I think a decent wifi system is seriously like over $5 million or something like that. This article says $6 million:

                http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/dollars/post/_/id/1561/patriots-latest-to-install-wi-fi-in-stadium

                I’d love to have the wifi system, but if it became an either/or situation……like either a wifi system or an indoor practice facility (which obviously doesn’t affect attendance, just using it as a budget concern), I’d have to rethink my stance on wanting the wifi system. Not because I think an IPF is essential……..but I still might rank it higher of a need for the good of the program than a wifi system for Sanford.

                • Will (the other one)

                  That’s why you get some company to subsidize the cost via sponsorship, like all the airports that have “Free Wi-Fi brought to you by AT&T/Verizon/etc”

          • GaskillDawg

            I understand the position, “If the folks UGA wishes to sell season tickets to in 2024, 2034 and 2044 don’t want things to be the way PTC Dawg wants them to be then who gives a shit.” The “who” in the “who gives a shit” are the athletic association staffers with teh foresight to understand that one day PTC Dawg’s tickets and Gaskil Dawg’s tickets will become available beause they are dead and they have to sell those tickets to someone who was a feshman in 2014 and thought that those things 60 year old Gaskill Dawg and PTC Dawg DGAS about were important to his game day experience. At that point, UGAA will say, “Seats are available for th eingame experience.” The now successful 2014 freshman will say, I rememerb going to games and it was dfun for Gaskill Dag and PTC Dawg but not as much fun ofr me. I have gotten used to watching at home.”

            It is a lot harder to sell “Experience Sanford!!!” when we ignorted the next generation of consumers’ tastes and their memories of “Experiencing Sanford” doesn’t end in an exclamation point. .

    • South FL Dawg

      They do the PA music at University of Miami games but you see their crowds. OK so the stadium is not on campus, but at least it’s nice. The old Orange Bowl was close enough to campus but the gripe then was it was rickety. I think the moral of the story is that you can always find a reason not to go. But if being there is your thing (and it kinda has to be for a lot of people considering the money they spend) well then you will go.

    • Bright Idea

      There are issues for each age group no matter what is offered to enhance the game experience. Old guys hate loud rap, students want more of it and louder, etc. etc. etc. The bottom line is all games are on TV now and it is just too easy to avoid the stadium especially if you just can’t sit still. I suspect the schools don’t really care if the students come or not but it worries them because it looks bad on TV.

  2. SCDawg

    Nothing to do while you wait in line? You could go with a big group of friends. Also, look around you. Ever seen a sorority girl going to a football game?

    • Castleberry

      Winner. Was about to leave the same comment. You may enjoy the view from your leather recliner, but there probably aren’t as many ladies in black dresses walking through your living room either.
      The atmosphere for Carolina and LSU was hard to beat. There wasn’t too much to get excited about on the home schedule after that…

      • mwo

        Exactly! Quit scheduling North Fucking Texas, Agnes Scott, Sisters of the Poor, etc. Get some home and homes with respectable teams. Then watch how fast the atmosphere changes.

        • DawgPhan

          North Texas was a bowl team last year.

          • Bulldog Joe

            Agree. North Texas was better than us on defense and special teams. We were fortunate to win that game.

            • mwo

              Maybe they were a bowl team and maybe they were better than us but I bet no one was as excited (players or fans) for that game as they were for LSU or SC.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Scheduling is a complicated issue. Years ago we could get Cal, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oregon State, UVa and other major conference teams to come to our place for a one shot deal by paying some dinero. Now if UGA schedules Cal, for example, Cal wants the Dawgs to come to Berkley next year. Likewise with any other ACC, Pac 12, B1G or Big 12 opponent. Given that UGA is in this JAX situation every year there would be years where UGA would only have 5 home games if McGarity did what you said. And we sure as hell don’t need to have a 9 game conference schedule where some years UGA will have 3 SEC home games, 5 SEC road games plus the WLOCP in JAX. If the SEC goes to the proposed scheduling model where all SEC teams have to play an ACC or Big 12 opponent as a yearly OOC game, we’re already there with Tech. That would free Georgia up to play at least 1 OOC opponent of significance on a home and away basis (like Clemson), but that’s probably the best we can hope for realistically.

      • tbia

        Really?

        Problem cited. An undefeated team who would eventually win the east comes into town, but there was nothing more to get excited about?

        • mwo

          Sanford was twice as loud as Mizzou’s stadium was 2 years ago. Plus half our team was crippled by then. I think our crowd may not have been sold on Mizzou last year. Probably won’t make that mistake again.

  3. KitteryDawg

    or not wait until 2 minutes before kickoff to enter

  4. hassan

    12:30 kickoffs are more to blame. College kids generally don’t like to get up at the crack of noon.

  5. Q

    Look, not everyone loves football, but everyone does love a party. Make the stadium shake.

    Wolk’s point is valid. I’ve heard it over and over again. The atmosphere sucks compared to places really put thought into getting the crowd involved, godforbid.

    The 2 big September games are the exception for in game noise, not the rule. Email the stadium people asking to strategically use music and PA. You’ll get back “See the LSU game, it was wild!.” Well the other ones were not.

    We schedule G-Day on Masters weekend. We don’t coordinate Baseball games with G-Day to bring the crowd over. Why? My guess is that BM doesn’t recruit talent to work there.

    • ThetaDog

      Oh,please. The very idea of going to see a game just to see the game? How dumb is that? The guys on the field can’t get me a drink, answer their phones or do anything else that I find truly worthwhile.

      Give me a break.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Thank you sir, +1

      • Q

        Don’t put words in my mouth about phones. I said atmosphere. USCe tries with their music and it works. After the ’12 game in Columbia, Richt said their fans jumped on us and we couldn’t recover. Would be nice to return the favor. He has to literally make a point in his press conferences for fans to make noise.

      • 81Dog

        Re Wolk’s brilliant analysis of how to “improve” the in stadium experience: it must be great to be 20 and know everything. Put your phone down and try watching the game, sport. Talk to the people around you. Get a date and pay attention to her between plays instead of your twitter feed. Believe it or not, the world wornt end if you fail to update your twitter account after every play.
        somne of our young nerds sound like Tech students. How distressing for the future.

        • Q

          You’re muddling two separate arguments. Wolk’s for creating a lively atmosphere and another for cell/wifi signals.
          You’re coming at this from a football fan’s perspective, not a ticket buyer’s perspective. These are not the same. “Customers” always get different needs met from the same product/event.

  6. 3rdandGrantham

    “There’s little added value from being in the stands watching the game.”

    This is basically the attitude of an increasing number of fans these days of all ages (but especially those younger than, say, 40). HDTV’s are amazingly cheap, and when you pair a nice 52 inch or whatever HDTV with a good audio setup, beer on ice, food on the egg/smoker/grill, perfect 72 degree weather, bathrooms a few feet away with no lines, no traffic/parking issues, no idiots screaming/cussing next to you/your family, and all the rest…its no wonder that more and more are choosing to stay home.

    This is why newer and proposed future stadiums are smaller in capacity with more luxury seating options at higher costs. Just look at the new Braves stadium and other proposed stadiums (such as L.A. for a future NFL team). These stadiums will be smaller in capacity with far more club/luxury type seating. At some point college stadiums will follow suit and decrease their capacity while adding more premium seating with built in entertainment options of some sort.

  7. The reality is that 16,200 student tickets for a 30,000+ person campus is too many. Although I do not condone it, the majority of people are not the type of college football fans that really enjoy the atmosphere and pageantry and tradition. The same goes for students. It will mean more to them when they graduate, but for now, they don’t want to stand in the 100 degree heat to watch something they could better watch at home with a DVR and stocked fridge. Again, I don’t endorse it, but I understand.

    Give priority back to the seniors, and make the freshmen hope there are tickets left over. Make having a ticket mean something again, and people will want it. Also, it might be a good idea to lump all the students in one place instead of three radically different sections within the stadium. Just a thought.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      I honestly don’t think that making less tickets available will cause students to ‘want’ it more. I think they’ll simply shrug their shoulders and move on to something else without giving much thought (all while constantly staring at their smartphone.) The attitudes among today’s students and those of my generation of the mid to late 90′s (which really wasn’t that long ago) is astounding to me. Students today simply don’t care as much about football as they used to. Plus, as someone just mentioned, they have to be constantly stimulated or they quickly get bored and leave.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Also, like it or not (I’m one who does not) there has been a change in the make-up of the UGA student body because of increased admission standards caused by the Hope. Too many closet cases in Athens now. Hell, most of my fraternity brothers and I probably couldn’t have gotten into Georgia if the admission standards were what they are now–and we’re all lawyers and doctors. But we were partiers. You just don’t see that as much now.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Yes, UGA students have gotten far dorkier over the past 10-15 years. As a Charlottesville resident, I can tell you that UGA students are eerily similar to UVA students, if that tells you anything.

        • Bojangles

          If it’s a choice between a smarter student body (and a degree that’s now worth more thanks to HOPE) or lamenting that there are fewer bros on campus to rage at Sanford, I’ll take the former, as it is a university after all.

          • hunkerdowndawg

            The admissions folks could give a little more preference to qualified in-state residents instead of soaking up the extra revenue from equivalent out-of-state applicants. The in-state kids may be more inclined to be Dawg fans already and in most cases, their parents have paid state income taxes that help support the state university system.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              It’s worse than that. If you study who gets admitted to UGA most of the student body is from the “doughnut” area outside the perimeter around Atlanta, and Macon, Augusta, Savannah and Columbus with a major empasis on private schools in those cities, plus private schools in Atlanta, not to mention the out-of-staters. The idea of kids (boys and girls) from Villa Rica, Hahira, Zebulon, Waynesboro, Midway, Calhoun, Blairsville, Pooler, and Statenville, etc. going to school at their state university, marrying and making lifelong friendships, then returning to their hometowns to be the leaders of their communities is a thing of the past. They stayed in touch with each other for their entire lives in a statewide network. You still can see them at ballgames as 40, 50, 60 and 70 year olds. But this new crop are all on their way to grad school and a big job in Atlanta or out of state in insurance, law, finance or real estate. Just another casualty of that carperbagger Michael Adams and his attempt to use UGA as a springboard to the Presidency of Harvard. I, for one, do NOT think what we have in Athens now is an improvement. We’ve lost something that made Georgia a special university and I fear we will never be able to get it back again.

      • Alkaline

        I agree with both of you. Even when at events Millennials crave constant stimulation via their smartphones, etc… but I the changes made to student ticketing in the past 7-8 years aren’t helping either. When I was a student for the ’01-’03 seasons there was a completely open “black market” for student tickets (which were still paper then) that created excitement. I never watched a single cfb game before attending UGA, but the immediate camaraderie of waiting in line for your lottery-awarded half-season package, and then trading for the ones you wanted and selling (at major profit) the ones you didn’t was exciting. I wanted to make sure I could sit with my friends and enjoy the event.

        There was one game where I took my entire family into the stadium using only student tickets–no one cared who used them and the fact that anyone could get in both added to the scarcity and made sure all sections were packed. The move to having the tickets be based entirely off of the UGA Card a few years ago killed that black market and got rid of the scarcity. They’re no longer a hot commodity, and they can’t even be sold to people who would actually want them.

        • Will (the other one)

          I think this is a damn good factor too. (And worse, students now don’t have game stubs they can keep for years after they’ve graduated…like my 2002 Tech stub from my final home game as a student.)

        • dudetheplayer

          Ding ding ding. Thank you for bringing this up. Too often this discussion devolves into the “those damn kids and their smartphones” type of thinking that drastically simplifies and distorts reality.

          Hey old guys, what about Geezer Joe in section 30 who is telling everyone in his section to pipe down and sit on their hands? Can’t stand those guys..

  8. BMan

    I think a large part of it is the convenience of flat screen TVs, multiple channels, booze, bathrooms, parties, etc. As for the boredom of waiting in line for an hour and bad cell service in the stadium, I understand that’s a fundamental difference between me and the current generation. It seems that no matter where they are, they have to constantly be in communication with everyone that’s somewhere else. They can’t just sit and watch, or cheer, or think; they have to be stimulated at all times.

  9. dawg3fan4

    I am one that has said the thing I love about college football is the college part of it, the band versus the PA. After having been to many other stadiums the last few years the ONLY difference in noise is that they are pumping in a lot more noise during the down times and it does create the illusion of a louder stadium. At its loudest Sanford is as loud as any I’ve been to but it is not consistent throughout the game.

    If we want the home field advantage to be what it could be I think we will have to give into newer way of doing things. It is sad to me that college kids don’t know what they are missing as there is nothing like game day from the student section. For point of reference I will be 37 in a month.

  10. Long time reader – first time commenter.

    I was at UGA from 2000-2005 and 2006-2009. For the entirety of my first stint in Athens and for, at least, some of the time during my second stint, there was VERY little enforcement of secondary market activity for student tickets.

    I know that the lack of enforcement led to its own set of problems (e.g., students would sign up for tickets solely for the purpose of reselling them at a black market rate) – but, I do think that old system resulted in better attendance because people who wanted to be there (young alumni, students from other state schools, etc.) were able to get in for a reasonable price.

    • This. The reality is that the majority of UGA students have always sucked as fans. They sucked fifteen years ago just like they do now. But fifteen years ago, they could sell their ticket to someone who wanted to be there who might not be a student of UGA. I took non-UGA friends to games all the time. I actually bought a set of season tickets from a Redcoat back when they allowed them to get/sell tickets, so I always had a non-UGA student with me.

      I’d wager that the number of actual UGA students that attend the games hasn’t declined all that significantly from back in our day. It’s just that B-M has effectively banned anyone else from taking those seats, so it looks really bad, and we can all wring our hands about it and talk about this new generation and ask people to get off our lawn.

      • Ginny

        I was a student from 2004-2008 and totally agree with this. Even after I graduated, I would still pay premium prices for a student ticket because that’s where I wanted to sit. And if given the choice now, I would do the same thing. I’m sure I’m not the only one either.

        • AlphaDawg

          This x 1000. I sold the games I couldn’t go to and bought extra student tickets for friends and family when needed. I still perfer to sit in or near the student section when I make it down for a game. My brother and his wife sneak into the student section damn every game they go to.

    • Good comment, you should comment more often. :)

      This has been brought up some in the past, and I agree with you. Some of the attendance problems no doubt stem from the current system.

    • PatinDC

      YES. Bring back paper tickets for students. The seats will be filled.

      • Dawgoholic

        Exactly – and quit checking IDs while you’re at it. If the students want to sell their tickets, let them sell their tickets. Hardly anyone that will not act and look like a student will buy them anyway.

        BTW – I’ve probably sat in the student section more times as a non-student than as a student despite the fact I spent 4 falls in Athens as a student.

    • CreswellKing

      Good points. Don’t forget how the administration has also ruined tailgating (particularly North Campus) and now the student section is dominated by completely sober freshman because of the first-come first-serve rules. When the student section is like a party, it’s a lot more fun/popular, although that’s not PC.

    • PTC DAWG

      I said this when they made the change, my thoughts were shot down.

      Paper tickets are the way to go.

    • charlottedawg

      This. I was at school during the same time. Also I’m a little surprised that the administration doesn’t just charge more for paper tickets. More $$$, full house. win win.

    • dudetheplayer

      I was also a student during this era. This is the biggest problem with student attendance right now. The card ticket idea was and is moronic.

  11. Dawgoholic

    (1) Ticket distribution to students is the real problem. It used to be that students camped out and if you weren’t there you did not get tickets. That pretty much ensured that the kids that wanted tickets got them. Now, anyone can sign up with a couple clicks and a bunch of kids that don’t really want tickets get them while kids that would go don’t get tickets. If Duke can have kids camp out for all of basketball season, we can do it for a night in the spring. THIS IS THE ISSUE. (I’ve got a sister-in-law at UGA now.) Camping out ended under Adams because the students had too much “fun.” Also, regardless of what people think, the student population does not have a ton of football fans. Out of 40K, half are guys and probably half of them are football fans – so you get 10K there. Of the girls, about 1/4 are football fans so you get 5k there. You have 10K more of the students that like to party but are not into football that much but will go to a game if it fits their party plans. You have 15K students that may go to a game or two if it’s convenient. I’d bet 30K sign up for tickets now. If you reinstitute camping out, you get the 15K that are football fans and the partiers most likely to find football convenient. Last, if you’re that concerned about the effect on academics, sell the tickets the Friday morning before spring break.
    (2) I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes to enter Sanford – and was glad pretty much every time as I was able to finish my drink – not sure what that dude was doing.

    • I was there 95-98, and yes camping outside of Steg was part of the fun. Nowhere near the scale of Duke, but it was part of the experience of being a student and a fan.

    • Oh, and also, on #2, that quote was from a kid at Michigan. But still, I’ve been to lots of games at a number of different stadiums, both college and pro, and never waited anywhere near an hour in line to get into a game. What the heck is Michigan’s entrance procedure?

    • PTC DAWG

      This, but like you said, someone might have fun, or their phone might go dead and they miss a tweet or a text from a buddy, better to sit in the dorm and play with their phone.

  12. Bulldog Joe

    Vanderbilt only has 6,800 undergrads. If every one of them showed up, it would be hard to notice.

    UGA is unique in the SEC as it puts Athletic Department profits ahead of winning.

    Students don’t care about Athletic Department profits.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      ^^This. Students aren’t stupid. They know the Administration doesn’t really support the team like it should, so why should they?

  13. John Clark

    I do not understand why people pay big bucks to UGA for the privilege of being uncomfortable and inconvenienced each football season. Unless UGA is willing to send a limo to pick me up and bring me home, guarantee that I won’t EVER stand in line for anything or have to wait for anything, will provide me with unlimited free food and drink delivered promptly, and provide a comfortable seat with LOTS of personal space around me, I will never again spend money to see a college football game in person. Not worth the hassles.

  14. DawgTired

    I tried to read through all the responses thus far so my apologies if this is rehashing a point which has already been made, but in my mind one issue with the students these days is that they are too smart. The Hope Scholarship has had a positive effect on UGA’s academic profile over the last 15-20 years. Unfortunately, that has attracted a growing number of students that place too much importance on the academic side of their college experience. I studied hard when I was there (at times) but I also had a balance to my experience, attending just about every Bulldog sporting event at least once with the exception of equestrian. When we go up to tailgate with my wife’s cousin who is now a sophomore, the impression I get is that a fair number of students are just too worried about grades to really get the most out of the best 4-6 years of their life.

    • Bulldog Joe

      There may be some truth to this, but looking at the number of students at the game day tailgates, the number of students working in Athens’ food, drink, and entertainment venues, and the number of students downtown after the game, it doesn’t appear they are studying very much on Saturdays.

    • BulldogBen

      Yeah I’m not buying this at all. It’s 6-7 Saturdays in the Fall. By this rationale, Duke would never have anyone attend basketball games.

    • Bulldawg165

      “Unfortunately, that has attracted a growing number of students that place too much importance on the academic side of their college experience.”

      Really? You see that as unfortunate?

  15. fetch

    We had Generation X, Generation Y, now we have Generation ADHD.

  16. Irwin R. Fletcher

    I think one thing we should realize is that even for ‘our’ generation…whichever that may be…the number of college students/alumni who went to the game for the football vs. those who went for the social experience was different.

    It’s just simple peer pressure and group mentality…it’s what got sorority girls (and completely clueless dudes) who gave two craps about football to the student section in my day or got men and women in the 50s to a sock hop or a pep rally or a parade etc. etc. etc. and it’s what keeps them at the house in front of TV’s now. Or keeps them at the tailgate instead of in the stadium. The technology is just the mechanism. It’s not that they ‘can’t tweet’ it’s that when they can’t tweet, they don’t feel like they are part of the party/group. They live in a culture where the larger the group, the more connection. Number of followers reached are more important than number of folks that actually care. Alternatively, they don’t feel like they are missing anything when they can stay by the cooler and drink with 40 of their friends during the game. (that’s kids and adults…how many adults come to Athens with no intention on going to the game each week?)

    “Game Atmosphere” are small fixes…although, admittedly, installing a DAS system and/or reliable WIFI should be at the top of the list…the real issue is making it socially acceptable to be a fanatic. That’s going to require more creativity and grass roots efforts than just fixing the music.

  17. CreswellKing

    Wait, when you ruin on-campus tailgating and switch to non-ticket system where that eliminates any secondary market and first-come first-serve seating, student attendance drops?

    The student section used to be like a party of bar. After the tailgating rules and first-come first-serve, the lower level was dominated by stone-sober freshman who waited the three hours (instead of tailgating) in line to get those seats. Also, the lack of a secondary market really hurts attendence. Not every student who gets season tickets will attend EVERY SINGLE game. In the past, those tickets would get used by other students, young alumni, or friends/students at other schools visiting Athens.

    As much as the narrative would like to say otherwise, this is the administration’s fault, not the students.

  18. Gatriguy

    Go to South Carolina and see how they keep their students engaged with hip hop music, one student section, etc. and then our game day experience. Just not the same right now; UGA is stuck in a generational power struggle that they have no idea what to do with.

    • The problem is that the students only make up about a sixth of the overall attendance at Sanford. How much catering can you do to them without turning off the paying majority?

      • Gatriguy

        Not sure, but Auburn and South Carolina managed to figure it out. Unless there is something culturally different at UGA(which I’m not necessarily saying there isn’t), then I don’t see why a middle ground can’t be reached. Consolidating the student section would go a long way.

        • Ricky McDurden

          Difference in Auburn-Carolina and UGA is a cultural one: UGA fans grew up in a state with a million entertainment options (Braves, Falcons, Dawgs, Hawks, Jackets, etc.) and we have experienced some success in most all of those facets. Thus, Georgians tend to be a very fickle group overall (we don’t bother wasting money on a losing product, even if that product was winning last season and is destined to start winning in the near future). Carolina, however, has been an abysmal program with a dedicated following. What alternative is there for Carolina fans on a Fall Saturday? Same question for an Auburn fan? Georgians are snake bit by the privileges of our landscape.

          • Bulldog Joe

            Some truth to this. Go to downtown Athens after a game. It’s hard to tell if the home team won or lost.

            The only other place I’ve seen this happen is Atlanta.

      • Q

        No snark intended here, that’s a good question. It seems like UGA isn’t willing to experiment to learn the answer though.

      • Bulldog Joe

        Exactly. The student game experience is not a priority at UGA. They don’t carry enough cash.

        TV revenue, Hartman contributors, and $8 cokes are the priority.

      • Bulldawg165

        Fair point, but what percentage of the total attendance is made up of former students and their families? I’d guess a whole heck of a lot, so if you don’t get them attending when they’re students, they likely won’t be attending as alumni either and the problem will snowball.

      • 81Dog

        If Auburn and South Carolina are the paradigms for the future, does that mean our students should all be living in trailers and dating sheep? Or that we should move Sanford off campus about 5 miles to a dust filled stockyard?

        What’s next? Should we start copying notes from the Clemson gameday playbook? Or UT?

        get a grip.

    • CreswellKing

      No one is going or not going to football games because of hip hop music or a lack of hip hop music.

      • Gatriguy

        Of course not, that was merely an example that out rivals are doing more to appeal to their student crowd than we are. The stadium atmosphere feeds off the energy of a raucous student section.

    • Governor Milledge

      SC doesn’t have one student section…sure, they have the “Cockpit” beneath their jumbotron, but they also do have an upper level student section too. SC also has a ticket system which mirrors UGA’s.

      From my 3-year graduate tenure at SC, it wasn’t the hype; it was the fact that their tailgating experiences were not overregulated. All of the warehouse-style lots permit setup early (most parking outside of the Fairground lots, which is alumni dominated, is privately owned and student-dominated) and spread-out tailgating experiences. Not quite what we had at the high point of North Campus, but to me, tailgating overregulation has been one of the biggest stymies to UGA attendance (along with elimination of student paper tickets/secondary market).

      • Gatriguy

        Fair enough, thanks for clarifying re: student section. I know it’s not feasible to have one gigantic student block, a la LSU, but it would make a huge difference with stadium energy.

      • Q

        Agree. Stadium atmosphere is not the best, but not the biggest issue. These little issues (tailgating, game time, music)add up to indicate that the school/AD doesn’t try.

    • PTC DAWG

      Another good point, UGA has no idea, and the older fans will bitch no matter what. Many of them have forgotten they were young once, and their folks hated their music/habits too.

    • Ginny

      I’ll say this about the music – I think the fans get really into it when the players seem really hyped up. When the players are dancing, jumping up and down, waving their arms for us to get loud, etc., that’s when Sanford is the loudest. That also seems to usually occur when hip hop music is playing. Say what you will about Soulja Boy, but that was the most fun I’ve ever had at a Georgia football game. Even if you don’t like hip hop I think there’s enough good hip hop music out there that isn’t raunchy but that still gets people excited.

  19. Dawg in Austin

    Of course improving wifi would ease fan frustration which should improve the crowd. Texting or tweeting during TOs or breaks doesn’t take much attention and keeps people connected. It doesn’t prevent them from being loud as hell, either. If you don’t understand the perspective, it really doesn’t matter. Just know many others want that experience, that it doesn’t hurt your own game day experience, and go with it.

    I also completely agree with the comment that 16k tickets for the students is too many. Before enforcement cracked down on the secondary market, and even in the 90′s when I was there, many students sold their tickets. What does that tell you? 1) That a smaller number of students at our school want to go to games than are provided tickets and 2) that this is not a new phenomena of the digital age. Either cut the allotment or allow for resale again.

  20. Scorpio Jones, III

    Maybe this is just a generational contrarian view, but it is just possible that if the home games were better, bigger games, if every game became important in the post-season scheme of things, then whether I can like Mike Bobo on fucking Facebook would seem to take on less importance.

    Please explain to me why better Wi-Fi matters if the game is going on right there in front of you? Are you saying you simply have to have the capability to tweet about your game experience?

    This “game-day” experience we are talking about…that does include the game and its outcome, right?

    Frankly, the game day experience for me would be far better if people who did not really want to watch the football game would gather in a venue that has better Wi-Fi and let me watch the fucking game with people who are actually interested in watching the game.

    But YMMV.

    • See my response under the very first comment at the top. Even during away games, my buddies and I are constantly texting with our ongoing commentary throughout the game. If anything, it makes us pay MORE attention to what is going on, and improves the experience (for us). I’d love to be able to do the same during home games. Don’t care what other people think about the game, but being able to keep a running a commentary with my close buddies actually is a big thing for me.

      • Dawg in Austin

        Exactly. There’s a difference between sitting on your ass and using Facebook all game vs sharing your experience with the friends who can’t make the game. It doesn’t make you any less of a fan, either.

        • Yep, and one close member of our group of friends was relocated to Colorado a few years ago. Being able to text among our group is a way to watch the game with your friends, without actually watching it with your friends. And it’s nice hearing his commentary because he sees things on TV that we don’t see live………especially questionable spots, close penalties, etc……..on the rare occasions we can actually get his texts, they are very helpful.

      • PTC DAWG

        You are one of the dudes who will sit in a room full of people and not say a word to them, all the while pecking on your phone and giggling.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          I have tried the text stream during a game and found it distracting…you don’t want to not respond cause it is rude, but it is distracting to me, and as I said…YMMV, but for me it is a distraction I don’t want…during timeouts etc, I want to watch the sidelines…coaches talking, trainer’s table etc.

          TV may give your buddies another look at something, but what they see, and especially what they hear on TV (or the radio broadcast) does not matter, only what happens on the field or in the stadium matters.

          When I watch a game on TV I turn the sound off and watch the game alone.

          I am a little more “social” about the game, after the game…but not much.

          I don’t multi-task football well, there is just too much detail you can miss.

          • Totally understand, and wouldn’t try to convince you to be anything different.

            But here’s the thing……..Just because there’s an awesome wifi system in place, that doesn’t mean you or anyone like you is gonna be forced to use it. It just gives more options for people. And the more options for entertainment, the more likely you are to fill the stands, which is the point of the whole discussion.

            I just honestly have no idea why anyone would be so dismissive of it, it won’t impact your personal experience of the game at all if there is a wifi system in place, it just helps accomplish the goal of getting butts in the seats.

            • Scorpio Jones, III

              Rev, as I said, YMMV or to each his own…but

              “And the more options for entertainment, the more likely you are to fill the stands ”

              Funny, I thought the entertainment was on the field, who knew?

              Filling the stands with students is the subject I believe.

              I have no problems with any of the “improvements” you want, and I have no problem with anyone using them…unless he or she is sitting next to me and when the play is over asks me what happened.

              Let me see if I can explain my perspective more clearly…I don’t text in church…do you?

        • Not at all. I’m as social as the next guy. The phone is an extension of that, not a replacement.

          Though I certainly grant you that there ARE plenty of people who social media has become a replacement for actual personal interaction. But most folks on this board seem to be pretty normal folks. Some just more willing to jump to conclusions about people than others. ;)

        • Dawg in Austin

          Right, because that’s the only way people behave when they use phones.

    • Bright Idea

      Preach it Scorpio! Amen

  21. JCann

    I’m 31, a UGA alum, and a high school teacher, so I guess I’m somewhat in touch with both ends of the age group that is being discussed here. I can say for my age group, a lot of what keeps us from games is the expense. Donations and the cost of tickets is just too much to justify when I have 2 young children and my wife and I are both teachers. If they had the “young alumni” tickets when I graduated in 2005, it may have been a different story, so hopefully that will help.

    As far as today’s kids…they don’t seem to care about any sort of school pride or spirit. I’ve worked at 2 different high schools, and it’s the same at both. Kids make fun of football players/athletes, tell them how they suck, say things like, “how did y’all pull that off” when the team wins. It saddens me, and they get an earful when they do that in my class. They even wear shirts from rival schools to school. Imagine walking into classes at UGA with a GT or Florida shirt on.

    I also think the posts about how they do tickets is accurate. Not every student wants to go, so give them the ability to sell the tickets. I bought every ticket I could find when I was in school so my friends who loved the Dawgs, but didn’t go to UGA for whatever reason, would be able to come to games. The student section was full, even if they werent all UGA students.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Lets face it, the games are for the alumni who pay for the privilege…well privilege is somewhat opponent-dependent. The students who care get in, the ones who don’t won’t.

      I would say that your experience with your students as an observer or their various reactions to high school football is at least partially location-dependent.

      I don’t know where you teach, but I would have to assume it is not Dillon, Texas. (Which is actually Permian, I believe.)

  22. Russ

    Sad but true. My niece was a cheerleader in HS but only goes to the games at UGA to see other people if she goes at all. We need to find common ground on this because the fake juice the students apparently like (piped in music & screaming announcers) is what I hate about the games now. I like the decades old traditions and if we can’t find common ground the game will really decline or change for the worse.

  23. Monday Night Frotteur

    Students are treated like criminals when they try to enter games. It’s perfectly rational for them to infer from the way they are treated that they aren’t wanted at college stadia; this isn’t for them.

    It’s beyond easy to fix this, if you really care about student attendance.

    1) Night or late afternoon games only. Nothing at noon, ever.

    2) No extra security or long lines for students. Let ‘em in fast.

    3) Alcohol should be sold throughout the stadium.

    4) Full wireless capacity.

    5) Show other SEC games on the scoreboards.

    • Noon games aren’t going away unless the SEC ditches its deal with ESPN.

      • Monday Night Frotteur

        That’s a big one. Kids hate noon games. Everywhere; FSU, Georgia, Michigan, Iowa, etc. Noon should be the exclusive province of MAC, AAC and C-USA. Real programs should always play late, and should play on other nights of the week instead of just Thursday and Saturday.

        • PatinDC

          All the games were at noon back in the day. The rare big game was at 3:30. Students managed to attend then.

          Dating myself, but I remember when the lights went in at Stanford. Ohhhh.

      • AlphaDawg

        I actually enjoyed the occasional noon game. Bloody beers and shit-on-shingle for breakfast while tailgating, a noontime win, then home for a nap before hitting downtown for the evening festivities.

    • Bulldawg165

      I agree. I know that a noon game here and there is unavoidable, but it seems like we have gotten more than our fair share the past few years. If I weren’t crazy I would think our admin requests it when there’s an option. How many noon home games has LSU had, for example?

  24. 69Dawg

    After reading all the comments I think the AD is just not trying. We know what is wrong but they don’t want to fix it. I have seen UGA go from a great place to tailgate and watch a game to being so restrictive that even long-time season ticket holders are opting out. From a student standpoint it is stupid not to have real tickets that they can sell. If the AD is still reversing the ticket priority that too is dumb. To make matters worst they stopped grad students from getting priority. I remember when the AD made a rule that after your forth year you went to the bottom of the priority. Why in the heck would they care as long as somebody shows up. From the South Stands it is obvious that the 600 nose-bleed section is empty for all but the biggest games but given the way the seats are first come first seated I think a lot of that is over crowding the lower sections.

    If the students are losing interest college football is going to slowly shrink. They are not going to go as alumni if they don’t go as a student.

    • Debby Balcer

      My daughter went to UGA as a grad student and could not get student tickets. We have season tickets so she used our ticket to get in and then went to sit in the student section. This was 2010-2012. She went to GCSU for her undergrad and used a friend’s student I’D to sit in the stands. The problem is kids getting tickets and not using them when others want them and can’t get them. Making them camp out would show who really wants to the game.

  25. Jeff Sanchez

    I’m in education, and I don’t think you guys have any idea how much the smartphone revolution has changed young people in a fundamental way.

    Just wait – we’re only five years or so into it

    • As the father of three twenty-something daughters, believe me, I do.

      The wi-fi part of this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s my choice if I want to text and tweet, after all.

      But if I have to listen to “Zombie Nation” three dozen times a game over the course of a season, I fear I’ll go mad. ;)

    • PTC DAWG

      I agree, it sucks. Many never look up. They walk into crap, just go to a public area and watch folks, good comedy, and not just young folks either.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I was in a restaurant recently and watched 2 teenage guys sitting at a table nearby eating lunch. They each stared at their respective smartphones the entire time and never said a word to each other. In fact, other than placing the food order, neither one said a word at all. The whole time theysat, heads down texting madly using their thumbs in between bites. These kids are socially inept.

  26. AusDawg85

    Hand out those clear movie theater glasses to the students and tell them the game is “Now in 3-D”!!!

  27. Governor Milledge

    Also, interesting to note that in UT’s experience, the best student attendance in the past 4 years was 1) a night game 2) against UT-Chattanooga.

    Game time (ie not 12:30) and extended tailgating opportunities, not necessarily the matchup, seem to have dictated the attendance highs

  28. pumblechook114

    Being only a few years removed from student life at UGA, I learned the sad fact that the vast majority of students simply don’t care that much about football or athletics in general. There was always (and probably always will be) a relatively small core of students who attended every home game and stayed to the end, but I’d estimate that was maybe 10% of the allotted seats. The other 90% who would even consider going to a football game go because they want a party, plain and simple.

    The question for this student then becomes: will it be worth my while? More and more it isn’t. There are a variety of reasons for this, 12:30 games being probably the biggest (most students who partied the previous night are only waking up by then). But when you consider the obstacles to attending a football game for the average student, its not difficult to see why the average student might skip the game. Tailgating is an expensive proposition and a logistical challenge for the average student (it was always a struggle for my fraternity to get a simple grill with hotdogs/hamburgers and a keg on campus). If you live off campus, there is parking to consider (which always must be of the free variety), as well as the extra hassle of pre- and post game traffic. Once you actually get to the game you are exposed directly to the elements by virtue of the location of the student section. This means that for half the home games you are roasting in the direct sunlight for almost 4 hours, all the while trying desperately not to break down and spend $4 on a too-small bottle of water, and God help you if you drank a little too much before the game. Add to that the utter lack of cell/internet service in the stadium, the boring atmosphere, at least 3 or 4 cupcake games that are over by halftime, and 28% of tickets unused doesn’t sound too horrible.

    Not saying that this isn’t a sad phenomenon, but if you want to fill the student section you have to cater to the average student. Some ideas that spring to mind: less 12:30 home games (probably not likely), student reserved parking, discounts on food and beverages in the stadium with student ID, student reserved tailgating spots (perhaps by student organization), food-services sponsored tailgates for students with the meal plan (or even discounted catering for student organizations), stadium WiFi. And maybe just a little more engaging stadium atmosphere? Pretty please? The best times I’ve had in Sanford were solely due to the excitement of the crowd and the game, often in spite of what was going on in the stadium. If the administration is really serious about this generation being the next generation of season ticket holders, it has to do something to appeal to it.

  29. D.N. Nation

    The atmosphere at Vanderbilt was crazy because the stadium was 80% Georgia fans who were booing their asses off at idiot refs.

  30. DawgPhan

    ahhh….nothing like a good “kids these days” thread to get everyone to comment.

    Alright all you angry old dudes, just remember that there was a time in your life when the old guy shook his fist at you.

    Wifi is just the giant radio headset of today.

  31. Bulldog Joe

    We lose too much. That’s the problem.

  32. BulldogBen

    3 things caught my eye reading the comments:

    1) Didn’t we have 1 night game this year at home (UK?). Also, the home schedule was terrible the 2nd half of the season. When I was in school, I went to cupcake games for a Quarter or two or not at all. They were also usually Noon games. I think that played into attendance numbers.

    2) I think there is merit to the student ticket distribution model and the rules regarding selling and entry. The first several years after I graduated, none of my friends and I had seats together, so we would congregate in the student section so we could hang together. There was always room and it made the section appear full. Now, they are complete Nazi’s about letting non-students sit in there. They would rather it be empty that allow that, even well into the 2nd or 3rd quarter. You could also buy a scalped student ticket and still gain access.

    3) Just curious. Where does success of the program come in? When UGA last won the SEC Championship, most of these kids were 8-9 years old. Are they apathetic due to not winning titles? Or even getting to experience that? I was there during the Donnan years and we were usually out of it by the UT game so the only games I really cared about were UF, AU, and Tech and we only played 1 of those at home each year.

  33. PTC DAWG

    From reading these comments, one could see why the Admin is confused about what to do…

  34. Ghost of Dawgs Past

    I’m too lazy to look but would love to see the breakdown of this data by class: Freshman, Sophmore, Junior, Senior, Grad School. My daughter who is a Freshman at Clempsen didn’t miss a minute of any Clempsen home game. She LOVED the whole experience. Will be interesting to see if she has that same enthusiasm her senior year.

  35. Spence

    Two other thoughts – when I was a student, we didn’t miss a home game. BUT, we also rolled a pickup to a grassy spot on Friday night (near Creswell) and that was our spot the next day. We partied our faces off, usually got to the game ontime, etc. With the new tailgating rules, it’s a pain in the ass to get your stuff where it needs to be. Students don’t want to deal with all the hassle of carrying tents and such when they’re bombed out of their faces.

    Also, for about five years after I graduated, I’d go to games in the student section. The tickets were cheaper, the seats were good, and I didn’t want to sit anyway. You could just buy a paper copy. I know I was never alone in doing so. My guess is that an awful lot of the student section of days of old was made up of people like me.

    So make tailgating easy and fun, let people get back on North Campus and party, and let students sell their tickets to anyone, and you’ll see the end of the problem in the student section. But if you keep restricting things students like to do, make it harder for them to get into games, basically eliminate the ability of recent graduates to get to games cheap, etc. you’re not going to see a lot of attendance from that age group.

    Restated, they’re a bunch of shit-faced kids who just want to party without being harassed or having to do anything they don’t want to do. Just like we all were in college. Oh, and they don’t give a shit about piped in music (they may want wifi so they can figure out where to keep drinking after the game).

  36. Derek

    As someone who NEVER missed a home game as a student and never left early no matter what, I can’t relate to showing up late, leaving early or just not going to the game. I would postulate that hand held devices have turned our collective attention spans to nanoseconds.

    Also as someone who thinks that the games should primarily be about college students, both playing and watching, perhaps they can pull their heads out of their I-phones long enough to tell us what would keep their attention for 4 hours. I’ll suffer though whatever the kids want if they’ll show the hell up on time and stay until the end.

    Yes even annoying disco tech noise and European soccer stadium atmospherics.

  37. At least I learned a new word

    Frotteur. Eww.

  38. MGW

    All this research, and interviewing people, and trying gimmicks is a bunch of wasted time and money to try and prop up the stupid new system they’ve dumped all this money into, by blaming the students. The students are the same fickle lot that loves football that they’ve always been. Just bring back paper tickets that they can sell to whoever they feel like at the last minute (just like everybody else who isn’t a student can), and this will all go away, and the stadiums across the land will be full.

    Any other solution is a waste of time and money, and the inevitable empty seats up in the corner will continue to make the school look bad.

    • MGW

      And any delusional old farts who thinks the seats would have been full back in their day even with the current system can stick it up their asses. They’re wrong.

    • StatGal

      I agree. Going back to paper tickets for students (even if they do want to reduce the number sold) should fix the ‘student section problem’ pronto. How frustrating for the students NOT to to be able to trade for games they don’t need (going out of town) for games they need extras (sister, etc coming to town). We did this all the time in the late 90s with much satisfaction. In fact we were statistics grad students and would frequently drag a few international students who cared nothing for football with us to get tickets too so we could have theirs to wheel and deal with throuout the season. Ah… Good times! Ha. So sorry to hear the game-day experience has gone this way… I had not been to a game in many years and even then not as a student.

  39. Athens Dog

    Observations (more like a rant):

    My first memory of Sanford Stadium was playing under the bleachers before it was double decked………..my family history of UGA goes back to my Great Grandfather.
    I graduated in 79. Do the math…..I’m an old fart
    All games started at one. We were there.
    I hate piped in music
    I hate the idiot standing up in front of me when NO ONE ELSE IS STANDING
    I love standing, screaming, going crazy when it’s fourth down and the defense needs us (well not so much under Grantham)
    I would like better wifi and phone. I text to friends and follow other scores
    I love the Redcoat Band. Play more!
    The administration makes it difficult to tailgate. The city makes it difficult tailgate. They collectively try to run the city like a police state (I live there)
    Neither of my children got into UGA because of Adam’s desire to be UVA. I have many, many, many friends whose children went to Auburn, Alabama, S. Carolina, etc. because of his policies (which continue)
    I quit going to away games because I got tired of sitting in the upper deck,
    even though I’m in the top 10% of points for GSEF.
    I’ve been tailgating with the same people in the same place since 1975. (although we are losing East Hull and Sigma Chi to the Business school)
    And just clipped a check for 5K donation

    So, I’m not sure what the answer is………….I do know that we should never, ever consider expansion again. If we could take down the upper deck, I’d to that. If today’s UGA student thinks that doing it like S. Carolina or Clemson is good, then I weep for our future.

    But I do love the Dogs.

    • PTC DAWG

      Somebody has to be the first to stand…don’t get mad when it happens. I’m 50, if that makes me old, so be it….

  40. hassan

    The WiFi thing is a must have if you want to enhance the experience. Do I want it so I can play Words with Friends during the game? No. But I do want it for things like getting access to other scores, looking up that 4th stringer that I don’t know that just got in the game, rule clarification, etc.. All of which I have wanted to do the last couple of seasons, but have been thwarted.

    And if a millennial is posting Facebook pics and status during the game about how much fun they are having, wouldn’t that enhance the cache of actually being there for their friends?

    Sure, 20 years ago I went to the game and didn’t have WiFi, but now that I know all that information could be at my fingertips, I want it.

    Could be a money maker for the school as well. Sell an app with exclusive game day info perhaps? Like a virtual program? Updated real time stats?

    • MGW

      The whole smart phone thing is just part of the world we live in now. Period. If nothing else than just the fact that people plan that way now (all people)- 15 years ago you make a plan and stick with it, and people knew they couldn’t get in touch with you for a while and planned accordingly. Now everyone knows they can get in touch with everyone instantly and if there’s an emergency and they can’t, the shit hits the fan. The Wi-Fi and cell reception thing isn’t a debate, its a necessity and it should happen immediately and it has nothing to do with ticket sales. Fix it. Thats just how it is.

      The only student attendance problem is the lack of paper tickets that can be sold to anyone any time, without having to go back through the school to do it.

      As long as there is college, there will be kids with hangovers on game days, papers and tests that the morning of, guess what, “Turns out I actually do need to spend all Saturday preparing for this or writing that.” And there will be women who don’t have tickets, who need to be chased! The current system does not accommodate for that.

      Playing “Sandstorm” when we’re on defense and giving away prizes isn’t going to change that.

    • PTC DAWG

      I asked earlier, no answer..how much would it costs to get a Wifi system capable of the demands on an Athen’s gameday Saturday around the stadium? I have no idea. IF it would help and it’s not that expensive, the school should look into it.

      Frankly, I don’t care, but obviously many do…anyone know what this would costs?

  41. Otto

    I’m not reading everything but I have traveled quite a bit, my cousin played for Auburn and I went on player’s family tickets, one of my closest friend’s is a UT fan, and I grew going to UGA games back to the mid 80s. My uncle is a season ticket holder who is down to 6 tickets South Side, his pair are under the overhang 35-40 yard line. He is getting old and couldn’t take the heat for SC so I went. If I run across a reasonably priced ticket, I generally go and often see games in 3 stadiums a year.

    I don’t like piped in Music, UT did that under Lane. They were rocking for us this year, I was there. My take is the fan base is pumped for a new coach, the team is hungry, and they had a shot a their biggest win in likely 5 years. They still played piped in music but less of it. It was the loudest game I’ve been too, Yes I’ve been to LSU/Auburn too, both in Baton Rouge, and Auburn, as well as the ’10 Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa.

    Auburn was not as pumped for us. We didn’t make a game of it for a half, and the fans were looking at the Iron Bowl. Yes UGA was more pumped for SC, I made both games. Auburn did crank up in the 4th Qtr. Auburn’s chants are generally more fun, and the Auburn band plays fun music. LSU’s band plays fun music too. Have the band play some 60s, or 80s music. It maybe lame on the radio but people enjoying singing to it and you can still sorta talk to each other unlike piped in NBA music. Going to games are fun dates, women like fun music, guys like girls having fun. Yes we all want to win, see Gurley put 200yards and 3 TD on the board but If you’re date is having a great time, it makes the entire thing better. I love UGA but many of the things the band plays belong in church on Sunday morning.

    • PTC DAWG

      For sure, I agree about the LSU band…those folks know how to party.

    • DeputyDawg

      As a former Redcoat, let me assure you that the attempts are made EVERY year to bring about new music. We would have up to five new tunes in the works at the start of every year. By the first game, they are almost always eliminated by the folks in Athletics.

  42. Slaw Dawg

    Gotta say, I think the generational thing is overdone here. Fellow geezers, when we were matriculating back in the late 70′s/early 80′s, for all but a couple games a year, it was listen to Larry or go in person (or both); we could sell or buy student tickets; parking was generally not much hassle; the “what are you carrying in that bag” policing was much lighter; the drinking age was 18; the games were shorter with a lot less down time; and, on average, were simply better (usually just one sacrificial cupcake, sometimes not that). Plus, Poss’s BBQ! Nowadays, everything is regulated up the wazoo (parking, tailgating, “what’s in the bag?” oversight, ticketing), there’s much more down time with loooong commercial breaks and everlasting play reviews (while at home I can DVR back to re-watch the preceding play; I, too, am bored skull-less during the breaks and text when it works), there’s no Larry but plenty of TV; and always at least a couple games that don’t strike me as compelling.

    Unfortunately, there’s no going back. The forever breaks are here to stay, and probably to get even longer; so are the cupcakes; so is the UGA Nanny. So, accept that TV has brought us to a point where the breaks have to be livened up with improved phone and net service, jazz up the music, and fer Gawd’s sakes, better concessions.

    • PTC DAWG

      Honestly, it’s the Nanny State that bugs me the most about going to games…

      I like road games better myself, and AU seems to have it figured out.

  43. Meanmachineinredandblack

    I have some experience working concessions for sporting events(Nascar and Indy Car) and amusement parks. Concessions are a huge way to increase fan experience. And the best way to improve concessions is to outsource some of them. It works out well for both sides. You bring in people who know what they’re doing(no disrespect to the volunteers, it’s God’s work that they’re doing), and the school makes more money because the stadium charges whatever they want off the top. The bottom line is much greater for the school, and the lines move faster, which generates more sales, and improves the fan experience.

  44. PTC DAWG

    I found an article about the mandates that the NFL has placed on stadiums for Wifi, etc..it states that a Wifi system capable of handling a stadium can run in the “mid seven figure sum”. That is quite an outlay.

    Next question, is it worth it? Especially if it really costs that much. I say no, but obviously some disagree.

    http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/10/21/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/NFL-WiFi.aspx

    • Oops, should have read all the way down before I responded earlier. Yeah the patriots spent about $6 million on their’s, and they only seat about 70K. So I’d guess $7-$8 million to outfit Sanford Stadium. Plus whatever ongoing maintenance costs.

      Like I said when replying to you above, if it became an either/or, I’d have to rethink my stance on wanting wifi, depending on what the other option being weighed was. But it would be nice to have.

      • hassan

        Being a state funded government educational institution, UGA should be able to get a better deal as most vendors have education and government pricing available. Additionally, NFL teams have to staff up additional IT resources to maintain. Most schools are able to rely on student staff as part of an educational credit or pay at under market costs. The TCO for the schools should be less if they are smart.

        Just something to think about. But yes, mid 7 figures may be right.

  45. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The stadium experience should be a community experience, and most live venues seem to be moving in the opposite direction. Blaring music prevents conversation, which isolates viewers – and I can be isolated at home. Same with Wi-Fi. When I want the family or a group to come together, I eliminate distractions like music, TV, or smart phones. But all stadiums now must have the world’s largest HD TV, constant concert-level music volume, and Wi-Fi. And I find all 3 seriously annoying in a football stadium. So do my kids, but maybe I’m just raising my kids to be weird.

    Love going to high school games for a simple reason – none of them can afford any of this crap in their stadiums. I can talk football with friends and strangers alike.

    I don’t doubt that a lot of students think the answer is MORE distraction, because that’s the way all other sources of entertainment in their lives are heading. But if a Jerry World experience is the ultimate destination of live venues, then I’m going to be interested to see where the point of diminishing returns lies. Maybe we’ve already passed it.

  46. americusdawg

    I don’t live in Athens but I did have season tickets up through the 2006 season. The tickets that I didn’t want, I sold either to friends or on eBay, etc. These days I typically attend at least 2 home games per year. The fixing the first two bullets below would probably double my attendance or possibly interest me in season tickets again.

    These are just my opinions …

    Tailgaiting / Parking … The school administration and the city has made life “less fun” on game days. They both have gone out of their way to make it more difficult and/or painful to attend games. As another poster stated above … They collectively try to run the city/school like a police state. The police, whether it’s campus or APD, seemed to be out for a nice payday at each home game. They troll(e)d the streets and parking lots looking to ticket/tow anybody they can.

    Wi-Fi & Cell Reception … Whether you’re from Gen X, Y or whatever, the Wi-Fi & cell reception issue IS A NECESSITY. This would not only benefits the students that are constantly on their smartphones, but it would also benefit me … a 50 year old that enjoys keeping up with other games and occasionally texting or sending stadium photos to my friends. The administration can sit back and wait if they think that it’s a fad, but it ain’t going away! Technology is only going to continue to grow and they should (if they don’t already) realize it. Like it or not, that’s just how it is.

    Student Attendance … When I was in college, there were three things (besides actually getting a degree) I was interested in and I think they remain important to a large majority of the students today: Drinking, Girls & Money.

    Drinking … Ease off the frisking of the students, or at least search all of the folks that enter any gate in the same fashion.
    Girls (or Boys) … Whether it be simply looking at them or a full-on skirt-chasing experience, the boys like that. And some girls, too.
    Money … Since they changed from paper tickets to this ID card system, there is no free enterprise left for the exchange and/or sale of tickets that the student doesn’t want. If you want more students to attend, then make it easier for the transfer of the student tickets between each other. And maybe dial back the number of available student tickets a bit.

  47. I am 57 and a life-long UGA fan. The problem with declining attendance of students and the general population is affordability. The cost of attending a Division I football game is too expensive (i.e., tickets, parking, gasoline, concession prices, etc.) versus watching on a 60″ HD flat screen TV with surround sound.
    Adding whatever gimmicks will not make a difference in student attendance unless attending a game is affordable for them.

    • DeputyDawg

      +1

      Affordability is the reason I won’t have season tickets this year. I’m only a few years out of UGA, but Athletics has already priced me out. The new Young Alumni program was designed to keep people like myself involved before we had the resources to donate to the Hartman Fund. Unfortunately, they expected us to get a 25% raise this year in order to keep up the donations.

      Also, the importance of kickoff time can not be overstated for student attendance. Sanford goes from being “Between the Hedges” to “the gates of Hell” anytime before 5:00PM in August, September, and October. I mean since player safety is currently a hot topic, can I bring up fan safety? Sitting on a metal bleacher, absorbing sunlight, in 90+ degree weather, for four hours, without shade = not good for you. Playing Florida Atlantic at 7PM two years ago was actually an enjoyable and exciting experience because a) the weather was temperate and b) it was late enough for students to mobilize.

  48. Cosmic Dawg

    I do not feel that we have sufficiently explored all the nuances of this topic.
    #offseason