That Process ain’t gonna pay for itself, homes.

Boy, have I gotten a few “Senator, I know you’re on vacation” emails about this:

Georgia has sold out its allotment of 58,000 season football tickets for 2016, as always. Next year, however, the costs to obtain those tickets will go up.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity asked for and was granted by the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors Thursday an increase for per-seat donations for the right to buy season tickets in 2017. The motion was approved at the end-of-year meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee.

The minimum donation for the right buy season tickets went up an average of 17.3 percent. That includes a high of 20 percent for Sky Club seats ($1,200 from $1,000 per ticket) and a low of 10 percent for the Champions Club ($2,250 from $2,000 per ticket). General stadium seating increases from $250 per seat to $300 per seat (20 percent).

That goes hand in hand with a budget increase for the athletic department.

The board also approved a record $123.1 million budget approved , operating expenses increased by $11.1 million over this time a year ago. Not surprisingly, a lot of that spending is attributed to increased spending within the football program.

“One of the most significant increases is football expenditures relating to compensation, guarantees, recruiting travel and game expenses,” the board’s treasurer said in his report.

To which all I can say to those of you who are upset by the news is simple:  you should have seen this coming.  The people who hired Kirby Smart did, because Kirby Smart told them what they’d have to do if they wanted him in Athens.

The assistants are scattered out on the road recruiting, and as their boss so appropriately puts it, trying to find players who can beat Alabama.

“That’s the standard in this league,” says Georgia first-year coach Kirby Smart, who has had a close-up view of that standard for the past nine years, as one of Nick Saban’s most trusted assistants. “At the end of the day, if you’re not beating the teams on the road recruiting that you have to beat on the field, then you’re probably not going to win many championships.”

Like all head coaches, Smart isn’t allowed by the NCAA to be off campus recruiting in May, but he’s still going 100 mph prepping for a different kind of recruiting trip. He’s about to catch a plane to visit a group of big-money boosters, and he’s taking a video his staff put together of some of the swanky facilities other programs in the SEC, namely Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Texas A&M, have built in recent years.

“We’ve got to recruit at the same level of the people who are winning titles and playing for titles, and to do that, we’ve got to have great facilities,” Smart explains. “We have the resources and the people within the radius of us to build those facilities, and we’re going to recruit like crazy. We’ve just got to have the facilities to get them in here.”

And judging by this, that’s exactly where we’re headed.

Georgia’s home locker room at Sanford Stadium soon will be switching ends.

The Georgia athletic board on Thursday approved $1 million from its reserve fund for the “pre-construction and design phase” of a project that would include building a new home locker room and recruit entertainment space on the west end of the stadium underneath the Sanford Drive bridge. The Bulldogs traditionally have utilized dressing rooms underneath the East End of the stadium. The visiting teams would remain in the space alongside that.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity could not say when construction would actually begin or how much it might cost.

“It is part of a master plan exercise that has been ongoing for years,” McGarity said. “Now we want to take the next step to move forward with the planning.”

McGarity said the hope is to hire a design and build team by August and hopefully have some tentative plans by the September board meeting. It’s expected to be a major project that will encompass much of the space from the bridge to the backside of the West grandstands. No seating will be affected.

Alabama-style facilities, staffing and recruiting budgets don’t come for free.  And they sure as hell don’t get paid for exclusively out of the reserve fund.  In other words, Dawgnation, you’d better get used to it.  They’re just getting started.

55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

55 responses to “That Process ain’t gonna pay for itself, homes.

  1. Nothing to improve the fan’s experience … Why am I not surprised?

    By the way, those contributions are supposed to pay for athletic scholarships. How in the hell do they rationalize increasing the minimum when they already raise sufficient funds to pay for what those contributions are earmarked for? Are we getting a whole new set of sports where they need athletic scholarships?

    • We are a means to an end, brother, nothing more. The money coming in is to build a football program, not the fans’ experience.

      • Senator, I know, sir, but I find this decision to raise the contribution minimums to be very frustrating. If they want the money to “build a football program,” raise football ticket prices by the same amount and be transparent about it. When you get your contribution brochure in December and you see the cute equestrian participant or the baseball player talking about how your contribution improves her/his academic experience, we should all remember this.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Well, at least you can take solace in the fact that, by increasing the contribution minimums (instead of ticket prices), that additional money can also continue to be deducted from your taxes.

          (Eh, you still can deduct contributions, correct? Its been many years since I’ve been a season ticket holder, so I’m not sue of any changes).

          • It’s 80% deductible according to the IRS rules if you itemize and if your deductions aren’t subject to phase out.

            • DawgPhan

              The deduction is pretty meaningless to the great unwashed that sit down low….

              Yeah I get to deduct, $800 or whatever from my taxable income, but it doesnt change my life or my ability to donate. The deduction is there for the BSDs.

              • That’s right and that’s exactly why I’ve thought the contribution increase is a bit disingenuous compared to raising the base ticket price.

          • Debby Balcer

            I bet ticket prices go up too maybe not next year but the year after.

            • DawgPhan

              I believe that we are currently in a ticket increase cycle. Just saw a $5/ticket increase and I believe that another is already planned.

              • Debby Balcer

                Yes they went up already. I imagine they will keep going up.

                • Chi-town Dawg

                  Dawgphan is correct about the planned future ticket price increase. When they announced last year’s $5 increase they also announced another $5 increase in another year or two, so it’s already in the pipeline.

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Honestly, I believe they feel they will be improving the fan’s experience by putting a better team out on the field consistently week after week — as opposed to a muddle-through, state of drift like program we’ve been for quite a number of years.

      • I get that … I also get that I spend a quarter of the game trying to get to the restroom and grab a drink. I also practically break my daughters’ hands trying to lead them out of the stadium after a game, so we don’t get separated in a crowd that’s trying to get through the tight spaces in the stadium.

        • 3rdandGrantham

          I get that, but Sanford is a very old stadium, in which those concourses were originally designed for a 30K stadium. Widening the concourses alone would be an insane structural undertaking — I can only imagine the tens of millions of dollars that would cost. Thus, them drastically improving the fan experience in that regard just isn’t feasible, so you’re better off adapting accordingly.

          As I mentioned the other day, we make sure to use the restroom several times before and right after entering the stadium while grabbing a bottled water at the time (concession lines typically are light then). Very rarely if ever do we need to use the restroom during the game, and I certainly don’t consider myself to have a camel’s bladder by any stretch.

          • I do the same, but you can’t do it with daughters who want a drink during the game

          • I know we have to work around what is now almost a 90-year old facility that now holds 3x what it was originally designed for. I don’t know how you adapt accordingly with kids other than to decide you’re going to leave early regardless of the score. At that point, you might as well stay home and watch.

            • DawgPhan

              exactly. I can make it through a game. It is when I bring my son that the games become difficult Want a drink and a snack? quarter of the game. Need to hit the bathroom, quarter of the game. You can’t even see a tv when you are waiting in most of the lines and they dont pipe in the announcers into the concourse.

    • WarD Eagle

      An SEC title will greatly improve the fan experience.

      • No doubt, WDE. I’m not sure that a pure money grab from season ticket holders is going to achieve that end, and I would even make the case that if things don’t work out, people will be even more pi$$ed because they anted up, paid more, and didn’t get the promised benefit.

      • By the way, how’s life up your way?

        • WarD Eagle

          It’s good. First hot day of the year was today; high 80s. ACC BB tourney is in Durham this weekend. And we’ve had a ton of surf the past few weeks.

          What about you, and where did you end up?

      • Chi-town dawg

        WDE is exactly right. The main reason we continue to put up with all of the B-M BS is that we hang on to the hopes of winning the SECCG and playing in the CFP for a national championship. If those things don’t materialize fairly quickly with the new regime, the peasants may start revolting faster than in France circa 1789.

      • Sh3rl0ck

        Hey, WDE. Are you excited about Art Briles being Auburn’s next HC?

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        One of Ernie Johnson’s favorite sayings: “Winning is the best promotion.”

    • Prosticutor

      This is when I’m glad I live far enough away that my biggest contribution to improve the fan experience means buying a bigger tv 😉

    • ugadawgguy

      Not only will the fan’s experience not be improved, it’s going to be WORSENED.

      If they block off that West end zone for lockers and “recruit entertainment,” that will eliminate most, if not all, of the stadium’s largest point of entry and egress for fans. Just imagine what that’ll do to the traffic flow elsewhere in the stadium.

      • I shudder to think about that during both the construction and after. I guarantee however they do it won’t involve taking away parking spots at the Tate Center on game days from the folks who give $$$$$.

  2. I'm right, you're wrong

    Another example of McGoof’s ineptitude. Now is not the time to hit big donors for money. We have the lowest interest rates we will probably ever see and a massive reserve fund that can be used as a backstop to float a bond and pay for all the improvements you want/need. Keep your powder dry with the big donors for when the economy corrects, and it’s coming in the next 2-3 years. This guy simply doesn’t get it.

  3. 3rdandGrantham

    Good — glad to see them increasing the cost of tickets to help fund all of this.

  4. aladawg

    Thought Fran Tarkenton and all those high dollar donors who were so intent on this change happening and promising their millions……….I’m getting very close to the tipping point. I can pay for good seats to decent games and skip the cupcakes or pick up $10 tickets on those game days for far less money than hanging with this. Increases every year for a game day experience that McGoofy does not care about is also impacting my thoughts. The local Joe’s(Middle income) are being shoved aside. It’s ironic that this coincides with the road game to Notre Dame. Being retired has fixed my income and this dragon is gobbling up money in a ridiculous manner. No comments on the fact that TV revenues are soaring further. The game I loved is loooooong gone.

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Kirby knows how to manage a program. I hope he can coach too.

  6. Windogger

    Nobody has even touched on the pathetic job they do managing traffic flow after the games.

  7. Soccerdawg

    What most concerns me about this is what will happen to the concession and restrooms under the west stands? This was the fastest place to get a coke for my bourbon and take a p. Much faster than going up.

    • Concession stands and bathrooms don’t matter … It’s all about recruiting. Who cares about the little people in 100 and 300 sections?

    • tmflibrarian

      This was my first thought, too. We’re row 6, and I need a cold drink or two during those awful hot noon cupcake games. Also, as someone who came down with food poisoning during the 2nd quarter of the SC game in 2011, let me just say that having the restrooms so close was key to getting out of the stadium with some dignity.

      It seems like a bad sign that they didn’t even address the concessions, restrooms, and cooling areas (the fans with spritzers) in the announcement. Maybe they really do want everyone to just stay home and watch on television.

  8. Can you imagine if BM ever decides to expand the stadium to 100,000++, that will likely increase the contribution to another 25 – 50%. Go figure.

  9. PTC DAWG

    Some of y’all sound like the games are a miserable experience…

    • Tim In Sav

      And if its that bad, stay home and watch it on TV

    • The experience while you’re in your seat for the game is unmatched (I can even deal with the pumped in music). The miserable experience is the getting there, the ridiculous lines for concessions and restrooms, and the getting out. The whole experience was much better before UGA and Athens-Clarke County teamed up to push everyone without parking passes as far away from campus as possible.

      • Gaskilldawg

        For years I have been having to park at a pay lot on Prince Avenue. According to my gps app I walk 1.2 miles to the stadium and 1.2 miles back to the car when I walk directly there and back. That is a lot of energy getting me to and from the place where I stand a lot of time during the 3:35 minute game. That does not include the distance I walk downtown if I go to eat.

        I am 62 and have been a season ticket holder since the Carter administration. When I was 30 my Hartman Fund score was much, much lower and I had a 30 year old’s physical condition and parked a few blocks from the stadium for free. I realize that the capacity is much higher now, but the longer I financially support the team and the older I get shouldn’t I be getting closer to the stadium rather than closer to Watkinsville?

        • We used to park at the corner of Baldwin and Jackson (those spaces are gone now). It was the best and it was free.

          Gaskill, I understand your plight. While younger than you, that walk from Sanford to the Clarke County Courthouse deck gets longer every year.

    • Gaskilldawg

      Sorry you inferred that. I think what they mean is that we fans who go to the games are willing to put up with all that the guys referred to when the price we pay reflects those problems, but are less willing to pay significantly more to put up with the hassle of ingress and egress, restrooms and concessions when paying a premium for admission.

  10. Bright Idea

    The $1 million is for an architect to figure out what can and can’t be done on the west end. McG acknowledges it is a tight squeeze and thankfully he won’t be drawing the plans. All we know now is the architect won’t get a box of condoms in the deal.

  11. AusDawg85

    Pffffftttt…we could have kept the old coach, won 10 games, not raised ticket prices and have HIM pay for the expansion.

  12. AB

    Good for those fans funding the program but I would not buy one ticket let alone season tickets in odd years. App State, Samford, Kentucky, Missouri, SCar, and Miss State. I hope you enjoy AM kickoffs.