“They still want the basics.”

You will be shocked, shocked to learn that despite college football programs across the country spending millions of dollars to upgrade cellular reception inside their stadiums, most of their fan bases couldn’t care less about that, at least in comparison to what’s important(h/t)

The most recent support for this surprising result comes from a new survey by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators and Oregon’s sports marketing center. It asked almost 24,000 students across the country to rank the factors that influenced their decision to attend games. By far the most important was a student’s interest in that sport. By far the least important was a stadium’s cellular reception or wireless capability.

The study is so counterintuitive that it seems like it must be an outlier—except that it is supported by similar polls in places where college football is massively popular.

At Michigan, when the student government asked undergraduates why they go to football games, what they found clashed with conventional wisdom: Michigan’s students simply didn’t care that much about mobile connectivity. In-game Wi-Fi wasn’t as essential as lower ticket prices or better seat locations. Among the seven possible improvements to the game-day experience, in fact, students ranked cell reception last.

The Southeastern Conference, which led all leagues in average attendance last season, has come to the same conclusion.

Now you – especially if you’re one of those people who actually spends money to go to college football games – may react to this with an insightful “duh”, but to the geniuses charged with managing the sport, this evidently comes as a major surprise.

One of the shocking things that schools have learned is that football fans, including students, currently care more about clean restrooms than fast Internet. In the recently released Oregon study, which surveyed students across all five power conferences, fans ranked cellular connectivity last on their wish list.

Gee.  It almost seems like they never attend games.

And these are the folks charged with college football’s future.  Good luck with that, peeps.


Filed under College Football

32 responses to ““They still want the basics.”

  1. The other Doug

    Georgia needs to focus on the tailgate experience. Make it easy for people to group together with their friends before the game. A lot of people go to the games for the social part, and that is an area where the live game can compete with the big screen in the basement.


    • If Georgia put the tailgate back into the tailgate experience, they would have a lot more interest especially for cupcake games. The game day parking restrictions and the hauling of supplies from parking lot to North Campus make tailgating work as opposed to fun now.


  2. JCDAWG83

    I’d love to know how much money was spent on this insightful survey. It is truly frightening to think these are the people tasked with preserving and promoting the future of college football.


  3. paul

    Nor do they read this blog. We’ve all been saying for years that what we want is an improved tailgating experience, clean restrooms, reasonable priced food that doesn’t suck, shorter lines and a traffic plan that actually works. In a word, logistics.


    • I’ve been writing letters directly to the Athletic Dept each year about all of these. My piddly ass donation compared to the big-timers that sit in the SkyBoxes doesn’t seem to hold much sway. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


      • DawgPhan

        Every week as I stand in line at the concession stand I send McGarity an email when I get in line and another when I leave the line. Thanks improved wifi!

        Last year I sent an email about the bottles of water running out and got some snarky response about they didn’t run out they had plenty on the truck when the game was over, but some of the stands did run out of bottles during the game. Like the fact that they had them in stock, but not cold and available for purchase was the same thing.


  4. Russ

    This actually makes sense. The people in charge of these decisions have never had to buy a ticket, stand in line for a drink, or use a nasty restroom. I’m sure they worry about cell reception and WiFi, though.

    So, yeah.


  5. Ahhhwwww, Let Them Eat Cake.


  6. Charles

    Again, the student ticket distribution system keeps tickets from ever reaching a market clearing price (through transfer barriers… it’s not as easy to transfer your ticket to someone else as back in the olden days of paper tickets). That’s why you see the puddles of concrete amidst red and black in the student section(s).

    Blaming HDTV at the frat house? Please.


    • Will (The Other One)

      That’s a head-scratcher too. If you’re going to ditch actual physical tickets for students, why not go with the LSU model where student seating on gamedays goes-first come, first served. Gets rid of empty student sections, and gets the most pumped up fans in the crowd.


  7. dawgtired

    If I want good WIFI access I’ll stay home and watch the game on TV. I go to the games to watch the Dawgs live and take in the game day experience. Give me a close parking space, a good comfortable seat and access to a clean bathroom…and make it all reasonably affordable. Simple really.


    • ” … and make it reasonably affordable.”

      Surely, you jest about the impact on the sacred reserve fund.

      Good post … I agree with you. If I want to post to social media during the game, I’ll stay home with access I don’t have to share with 90,000 other people. Good parking (no longer available without a big contribution), a comfortable seat (if you rent the seatback or bring your own), and clean bathrooms should be a minimum expectation.


  8. DawgPhan

    I know you hate the wifi thing.

    But I cant help but wonder if the improved wifi hasnt moved the need for faster wifi down the priority list.

    Also tailgating is super easy. I am not sure where some of you want to tailgate or whatever, but our tailgate is close to the stadium, free parking, and we never get hassled by the police. Where is it that you guys want to tailgate that is so awful?

    Clean restrooms and improved concessions are biggies for me, but wifi would have topped the list prior to the improvements.

    Just like clean restrooms probably wont top the list after they address that.


    • warden

      Agreed. I’m usually right on board with the Senator’s snark, but despite going to few games per season it was a MAJOR annoyance not being able to easily check scores for other games (among other smartphony things). Also, potentially losing people among the horde of fans because there was literally no way to text or call them caused a good bit of anxiety.

      I don’t need wifi of course, but better cell coverage when the population quintuples was definitely warranted and i’m glad that it’s no longer an issue now (at least inside the stadium, not sure about tailgating). Next up is concession stands. They move way too slow and I miss way too much football. And the papa johns pizza is stale/bland, and the chicken fingers are quite possibly life threatening.


    • DP, where do you park for free close to Sanford where you can tailgate without hauling your gear halfway across campus and not feel like your car may not be there when you get back from the game? Inquiring minds want to know …


      • DawgPhan

        I guess close is relative, but we tailgate over near the new ceramics building and the PAC deck.

        surface lot parking is free, the deck is $20, less than 1 mile from the stadium and no hassle. lots of great parking and tailgating on that part of campus.

        It might not look like north campus, but we can do as we please.


  9. GaskillDawg

    The Senator said, “Gee. It almost seems like they never attend games.”

    The administrators are folks that never attend games the way the fans do. I remember Vince Dolley talking to a local Bulldog Club the summer of 1990. He had just experienced his first season of not being a coach or a player, riding to the game on the team bus. He commented about how he, for the first time, had to find his way to the stadium as a fan does. He said it was a lot harder than he had ever imagined, getting through traffic and walking to a gate. This was the AD, who had a sweet parking space and traffic cops to waive him through.

    These guys in Butts-Mehre don’t drive into Athens from an hour or two away, have to deal with traffic, haul tailgating equipment back and forth, and no, they do not know what your Saturday pre-game needs are, Senator.


    • Alkaline

      I think we’re all on the same page. But the obvious question is: why don’t they know those things? In theory, it’s one of the main requirements of their job to understand the needs of the target demographic.


      • tess

        To be surprised that clean bathrooms are a priority shows how much the administration considers anyone not in a skybox just a mammal to be herded and fleeced. It’s actually pretty offensive.


  10. PatinDC

    I laugh that they find it “shocking” that people rank clean restrooms high on the list. Just shaking my head.


  11. steve

    Hell, I would urinate in a hard hat, drink warm vinegar and drive over my iPhone if we would beat the hell out of Auburn, Tech and Tenn…in that order. And if we could do it at home so those obnoxious UT fans had to drive 8 hrs arguing over why their over rated QB was intercepted 4 times I would eat an earthworm.


  12. Union Jack

    I would love to hear about the methodology on the survey and how they sourced their respondents. I wouldn’t think that they are pulling the wi-fi access thing out of thin air. I would guess the wifi data reveals something about a group they are trying to attract and/or keep.

    Does this survey interview attendees at the game or are they responding to the survey when they are away from the stadium or a combination of both?


  13. Bulldog Joe

    Winning is at the top of my list.


  14. Brent

    “By far the most important was a student’s interest in that sport… The study is so counterintuitive that it seems like it must be an outlier”

    Counter-intuitive to whom? Verizon? AT&T? Otherwise, I feel like that should be pretty obvious.


  15. Clearly gtu cares more about Wi-Fi than clean restrooms. Those dungeons have not been cleaned for at least a half a century.


  16. PTC DAWG

    The concourses are too damn small for a 95K seat stadium. It should have been addressed YEARS ago when they started adding on, and adding on and adding on. I would like to know the ration of places to take a leak now to what it was back in the days of 59,200, it was that for 14 years or so..have they added much since then in the way of widening the concourses and adding toilets?


  17. 79Dawg

    Burn lol the press releases from Butts-Mehre keep mentioning how awesome the revamped Sky Club is gonna be!!!