“So why shouldn’t Georgia have 93,000 for every spring game?”

I’m sure this will shock some of you, but count me in the easier said than done camp on management of a larger than usual G-Day crowd showing up.

It’s no small undertaking, however. To date, the largest crowd ever to attend the annual intrasquad spring game was 46,815 last year. So Smart is hoping to double that his first year.

And it hasn’t come without some hiccups. Already UGA was unable to achieve its stated goal of lining up a major musical act for pregame entertainment. Administrators reached out to several front-line stars but ultimately could not get a deal done, primarily because of the limited window of entertainment time available (roughly 15 minutes).

Instead, UGA has produced a 15-minute “behind-the-scenes” hype video that they will show on the videoboard right before kickoff.

“We didn’t know what this was going to look like and once we got the schedule and started talking about the pockets of time … we figured we had a 15-minute time span there, and it just didn’t work out,” Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “But I think the videos will be something nobody has seen before. Our video staff does a great job with that. Really in a way it will hype the fans. The next thing that comes out of the tunnel is the team.”

The game will also represent a challenge from an event management standpoint. They obviously sold no tickets to it and admission is free. But they also didn’t issue any vouchers or distribute anything that would give organizers an idea of how many fans might actually show up.

So they’re planning for a full house. They will have every section open, all the way up to the 600 level in the upper tier, and they will be filled from the bottom up on a first-come, first-serve basis. All concessions stands and restrooms will be opened and most general game-day parking is expected to be available, though not on a reserved basis.

“It’s a lot more difficult planning for this than it is for a normal game because you (don’t) know what you have as far as numbers,” McGarity said. “So we’ve got plans in case it fills up, what do we do if it goes over the amount? So that’s how we’re planning this event. Everything is staffed at full strength. We just don’t know.”

There’s a certain sense of “what have we gotten ourselves into?” there that’s inevitable, I suppose.  In a real way, G-Day is as much of a test for how the athletic department can manage heightened expectations as it is for the coaching staff.  Here’s hoping for a day full of pleasant surprises.


Filed under Georgia Football

20 responses to ““So why shouldn’t Georgia have 93,000 for every spring game?”

  1. Athens Dog

    I’m hoping that the surprise is we have a great crowd and BM figures out a way to manage it. And color me skeptical…….but I’m still going.


  2. John Denver is full of shit...


  3. Go Dawgs!

    I really don’t understand why we think it’s going to be difficult to manage a crowd of 92,000 for G-Day if UGA does it 7 times every fall. As near as I can tell, the only difference is that parking isn’t reserved. As far as the stadium itself goes, when people show up and the lower deck is full, they just go upstairs and find a spot. I don’t think it’s going to be that tough.


    • In the immortal words of Greg McGarity, “We just don’t know.”


    • SRQDawgs15

      It wouldn’t be Georgia football if we couldn’t complain about asinine shit every day


    • Herschel Krustofski

      I think you might be underestimating the reality of a 93,000 seat general admission event that is free to the public and involves some pregame boozing. The logistics of filling a seating section where each seat is occupied, identifying when the section is full, and then taking the necessary steps to prevent said section from overfilling seems pretty difficult to me. Let’s just say that I think that would take a lot of ushers.

      I have similar concerns for the parking, which gets the added wrinkle of students not moving their cars out of lots that are normally used for gameday parking.

      I’m not saying it will definitely be a disaster but if you don’t see the difficulty in those issues, I would argue that you’re not thinking very critically. Honestly, I don’t think 93k people will show up. I think it will be more like 75-80k, which will help BM quite a bit in dealing with those 2 issues. But who knows…maybe 93k will indeed show up and BM will have enough people in place to make things run fairly smoothly.


      • Tommy

        ^^^This. Unless Butts-Mehre is deploying an army of ushers, this has shitshow potential written all over it.

        Given how things went with the musical act, it doesn’t look like B-M has gone nuts with the advance planning. Guess we’ll know in 90 days, huh?


    • tmflibrarian

      I live about a block from Foley Field, and I can promise you that allowing students to keep their cars in their residency lots is enough to cause a lot of grief on my very narrow street, which already fills up before regular games when there are more lots and garages open. We had a ton of parking and human traffic the night of the Aldean concert, and that was just 60k.

      I hope the day goes great and they get the turnout they want–I expect them to get in the 75-85k range, honestly. But I have no reason to believe McGarity thought this through, so we pushed my 3-year-old niece’s visit back to Sunday. It’s one thing for us to be trapped here all day (we have a lovely patio and a stocked bar); it’s quite another for the human equivalent of a border collie. (And we aren’t taking her–she can ruin her own hearing when she’s a teenager.)


  4. I’m taking one of my daughters and one of her friends. I’m not worried about finding a seat. Although if the 600 level is the only place left, I don’t see walking up there to watch a glorified scrimmage. I’m nervous about the traffic, the parking situation, and the potential resulting chaos. Other than that, it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day for spring football.

    Does anyone have the real-time QBR app developed yet?


  5. Macallanlover

    The music idea was bungled from the start, imo. It never should have been scheduled for prior to the game as the field set up was a major issue for any top act, and a recognizable group would have brought in so many non-football fans that it would have denied seats to those who intend to show up and support the program. (No act would have been agreeable to all attending anyway.) Why not a free, 2 hour concert on Friday night to make this a big weekend on campus for all? That would have eliminated the timing impact….and the excuses.


    • Will (The Other One)

      You get a full set from an act you have to pay more though, and McGarity can’t totally let go of the reserve fund that quickly.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree the music was bungled from the start – that has McG written all over it. There’s all manner of extra entertainment BM could’ve considered. The proposed video being just one. They could have frisbee dogs, one of those Dr. Pepper halftime competitions (FG kick or pass contest), parachutists, etc. I suppose the spring game by itself is enough to get 65,000 there. But with a little extra effort they could’ve essentially guaranteed a nearly full house.


  6. 3rdandGrantham

    I’ve been predicting around 65K for a while, and I’m holding to that figure. With that said, what if, say, 97k or 102K show up, in which they are having to turn away people at the gate? Or, say things are unorganized and the ushers don’t know what to do (and thus they let everyone in), in which you then have a totally full stadium with an extra 5-7K wandering around the isles looking for a place to sit?

    I know this probably won’t happen…but its certainly within the realm of possibility given the San Diego like weather expected, no Masters to worry about, etc.


  7. Chipperdawg

    I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to it. Coming up from SE Ga, I’m gonna treat it like I would a real game, which is, expect crowds, lines, and don’t get in a big hurry to leave… just enjoy the moment and the atmosphere! I just hope we play well and nobody gets hurt.
    Go Dawgs!!!


  8. Jason

    I’m shooting low.. they be riding shetlands. 30k

    I hope its 100k.


  9. DawgPhan

    I suspect that they will have empty seats in the stadium. I also think that once things start filling in, they will manage the crowds as best they can to make it look full.

    The problem with 93k is that you need to double the attendance, but havent really done anything to entice double the people to show up other than asking them to come.

    But in doing so you also turned off a lot of people who do attend.

    So you have to make up for the people turned off by your new approach and then encourage more people and you really didnt do anything to encourage anyone else to show up.


    • ugadawgguy

      “But in doing so you also turned off a lot of people who do attend.

      So you have to make up for the people turned off by your new approach and then encourage more people and you really didnt do anything to encourage anyone else to show up.”

      Yeah, that, too. I’m one of the thousands of people who often enjoyed casually attending the G-Day game specifically BECAUSE the stadium was half-empty, concessions lines were short, parking was easy, etc.

      I have no interest in spending money to park and enduring a worse-than-real-game-day experience getting in and out of town for a meaningless scrimmage that has specifically been touted as “not a show for the fans.” In fact, the latter portion of that last sentence doesn’t matter.

      An intrasquad scrimmage is not worth the hassle of enduring conditions worse than a real game day. It’s a pretty big pain in the ass, and not an insignificant expense, to get to and from REAL games, for which parking is handled as well as possible. The notion of fighting a huge crowd of people, many of whom have never been to Athens, to watch a scrimmage completely removes whatever incentive I used to have to attend G-Day games.


  10. ugadawgguy

    Anything other than an abject disaster when it comes to parking, getting in and out of the stadium, getting in and out of town, and the in-stadium experience from top to bottom will be a pleasant surprise.

    But parking, especially — parking is going to be an absolute nightmare.


  11. do not resuscitate

    While I do believe that the Athletic Association is going to screw this up (more than they have), you guys seem to be ignoring the fact that a fall game day attracts a lot more people than just those who have seats. Maybe an additional 30-40K show up just to be in Athens on a fall afternoon? So perhaps it won’t be quite the shit-show everyone expects.

    Still…good luck if your planning on attending.


  12. Tim In Sav

    Well well well I guess they did pull this one off, so much for the “we can’t do this or that” crowd. Stadium looked more than full to moi.