Y’all come back now.

I read Bill King’s weekend piece with interest, but nothing in there, from start…

Between a hike in the required donation to buy season tickets and an already planned ticket price increase to $50, Georgia Bulldogs fans face the prospect of paying considerably more for a rather uninspiring 6-game home schedule in 2017.

With the Dawgs’ two most enticing nonconference games coming on the road that season (at Notre Dame and Georgia Tech), the home schedule in Athens will consist of Appalachian State, Samford, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Sounds like a lot of noon kickoffs and no time for serious tailgating, Dawgs fans!

… to middle…

Meanwhile, as if to add insult to injury, at the same time as the announcement of the required Hartman Fund donation increases for Georgia Bulldogs Club members, the stadium improvements announced involve projects aimed at the players and recruits.  Again, the fans are ignored.

The athletic association said its next project at Sanford Stadium will be a new home locker room for the players and entertainment space for recruits on the west end of the stadium underneath the Sanford Drive bridge.

Not a word, however, about much-needed improvements directed toward the fans who provide that revenue, such as renovating the squalid restrooms along the dingy concourses on the North side of the stadium, or providing more water fountains so that ticketholders don’t have to miss the better part of a quarter standing in line for bottles at the overwhelmed concession stands run by poorly trained volunteer groups.

… to finish…

Yes, in order to win on the level that Bulldogs fandom is demanding, UGA is going to have to spend big money on player facilities and recruiting, in addition to ever-inflating coaches’ salaries.

But, unless they want to wind up in the business of just providing programming content for ESPN and CBS while the players perform in a less-than-full house, the folks in charge of Bulldogs athletics need to start paying as much attention to the fans as they do to the recruits.

… comes as much of a surprise.  After all, as King himself notes,

I have a feeling that’s because, in the wake of the 93K success at G-Day and the overall rise of optimism about the program, they thought they ought to strike now, while everyone’s in love with Kirby Smart. (Hope they’re still in love with him after this season, when it’s time to make those donations.) Chances are, if there had not been a change in coaches, we might not have seen that donation hike in what would have been the 16th year of a recently underachieving Mark Richt era.

Depending on your point of view, you can see this as gouging the most dedicated fans while Bulldog Nation is still in the honeymoon period with the new head coach, or simply keeping pace with what other schools in the SEC are doing. As the athletic department has been at pains to point out, UGA generally still will rank in the middle of the conference in what it asks fans to pay, even after the increases, which are the first hikes for the donations since 2005.

We fans are a means to an end.  Once, that end was merely about maintaining a healthy reserve fund.  All importing the Process has added to that goal is bringing a ruthless efficiency to maximizing the program’s resources.  Kirby is a firm believer in the importance of recruiting in that regard, and that, quite simply, is how decisions about where Butts-Mehre spends its money are going to be evaluated.  Fan friendly is a distant second.

I’m not here to say that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  After all, it’s pretty easy to argue that winning championships is the most fan friendly thing a football program can offer. But G-Day itself, with its emphasis on filling the stadium to impress recruits, was an obvious indication of the new direction.  When you’re a glorified prop, nobody really cares that strongly about how friendly the production was for you.

Which isn’t to say there won’t be some nibbling around the edges, some gestures thrown our way, when it’s convenient (and no doubt they’ll make a bigger deal out of those than they’re worth).  And, sure, if an existential threat crops up, they’ll respond.

But benign neglect of the average fan has been B-M’s mantra since the Mesozoic Era.  The idea that’s going to change now isn’t realistic.  If anything, we’re being asked to change seats and move a little farther back to accommodate the new man’s needs.

I’d end with this some sort of “it had better work” threat, but, hell, let’s face it, this program has survived and prospered plenty without things working.  If you’re a Georgia fan, take what you can get and enjoy it.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

28 responses to “Y’all come back now.

  1. Aunt Edna

    Wow man, it’s been a while since I’ve commented on here but you’ve really hit bottom huh? Hopefully just a bad weekend, but I’m not sure why someone would follow something this closely if you feel so abused and taken advantage of. If you’re just now coming to terms with the fact that the athletic association is running a business and we’re footing the bill, you’re going to have a bad time. We all want more out of this organization but I think the feeling that we’re headed towards something greater is pretty unanimous among the fan base. Let’s see where this goes before we march into Athens and burn down BM.

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    • It’s hardly a new sentiment on my part.

      As for burning anything down, perhaps you should read the last sentence of my post again.

      Thanks for the overreaction.

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    • CB

      “I think the feeling that we’re headed towards something greater is pretty unanimous among the fan base.”

      Yeah, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie were really in love… at first.

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  2. sUGArdaddy

    I could be wrong, but I think we’re going to see the bubble burst at some point with college football when it comes specifically to butts in seats. What has gotten me in recent years is ticket prices. I go to most games, but I’m simply having to cut back, and none of it really makes sense as things are going in the opposite direction as they should. I’ve missed about 10 games in the last 20 years home or away.

    10 years ago, I went to see the Kentucky game in Lexington, Stafford’s freshman year. The price of the ticket was $20 face value, and the game wasn’t on TV. The only way to see the game was to buy the ticket and go. That same year, the MSU game in Athens was also not on TV. Can you imagine an SEC game not on TV? That was just 2006!!!

    Now, every game is on TV, which means the incentive to going as decreased, but the ticket prices have risen astronomically. StubHub already has the UK game this year at $79 for the cheapest ticket. Last year, the Auburn ticket was $115 face value. The Ohio St./Michigan ticket this year is $195 face value.

    And yet, now every game is on TV with better coverage, picture quality and angles than ever. Now, I love the in stadium experience, but last year I paid $90/each and $115/each to go to the UT and Auburn games (2 tickets each). That’s a lot of cash. A lot.

    Now, I’ve always lived by the mantra that there will be someone else in line to buy that ticket, but there is a limit. There is a price tipping point and I’m not sure the administrators think there is.

    Who knows what will happen? Just one piece of the puzzle to the issue that has caught my attention in the last few years.

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  3. lakedawg

    Having been a season tickets holder longer than some on here are age wise and also attending most away games I can definitely see a point coming where the cost will force me to have to give up some tickets. Also having to stand in line to use the outdated bathroom facilities and woe some concessions is just total disregard for particular older fans. But hopefully what I give up someone is waiting to pick them up.

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    • Cojones

      Us old farts have modernized to fit the up-cost future that doesn’t do crap for waiting in line at the bathroom. Many older people have bladder incontinence and going for the bathroom can sometimes end in going to the bathroom before getting all the way to the urinal. Nothing in the ticket costs can assuage that happening to some of our bodies, but the silver lining is that many of the elderly can now self-catheterize, tape a couple of liter bags to our leg and hobble into the stadium. When they get overfilled, we can patiently stand in line and, having finally made one’s way upstream can empty our bags before the end of the game. If people aren’t nice to their elders, we can empty our bags unnoticed on the latrine floor for you pushing and shoving aholes to wade through while standing in line once you are inside. And wooooeee, does old fart urine smell bad.

      So, the next time you complain of your inconvenience, think of the elderly and be gracious to those who have a worse control problem than you young whipper-snappers, before “Bad Grandpa 5.0” is unleashed and tells you: “Cojones sent me.” .

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      • Cojones

        Btw, we are smart enough not to wear flip-flops at Sanford among other not-to-dos.

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      • Trbodawg

        so you’re telling me the experience I gained strapping a leg bag to take bourbon INTO the stadium in the early 80s is going to help me take bourbon OUT of the stadium too?🙂

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        • Cojones

          No, but it will get you to the bathroom without incident. Crawling helps, but you want to be upright for the last drainage.

          Have you considered a two-way switch to obviate the problem? Just remember not to suck after flipping.

          Have you considered cookies? And are you going to be in the team pickin’ this year? You have done well in the last two.

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  4. The millennial generation of alumni and fans will decide the future, if ever they can afford and if their lifestyle fit with attendance in this stadium as it is now without improvements.

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  5. Athens Dog

    I moved to club level a few years ago, thinking the experience would improve since it’s more of the “high value” donors. Disgusting bathrooms and long lines………….same as everywhere else.

    It’s never been the focus; why would we expect anything different?

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  6. Ugajeff

    A question for you senator and bloggers: if Smart does take UGA to next level and leads us to sec, playoff, and NC, will these issues be as big a deal to us all then? I’m not sure I can say they will to me…what about you?

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  7. Macallanlover

    Appreciate the folks who are willing to go through the cost/treatment issues and keep the stadium (almost) packed every game. It is a great memory of mine dating back to the sixties but I long ago gave up on the whole season experience and have never regretted it. I have cherry picked the better games, both home and away, for many years now and will continue that for a few more but honestly it won’t be many more. I don’t mind paying $200-300 for good seats at special game atmospheres but the increasing hassle makes it less enjoyable than it was, and the excellence of TV and home comfort just gets better and better. As I said, I respect those who have stayed the course but I am not tempted any longer, and I have tickets offered to me free for almost any game.

    I don’t think you will see the current, and most recent, generation (s) of students being that committed to the social phenomena that has driven those in their 50s, 60s, or 70s to make those Saturdays so special regardless of the opponent, weather, time of kickoff, or treatment inside the stadium. Add the spiraling costs and my prediction is for smaller stadiums, not expansion of existing facilities.

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    • Athens Dog

      I think we will rue the day we expanded the stadium; especially the upper, upper deck. None of our children are as invested. And many were forced to Auburn, Bama, USC, etc. by Adams decision to no longer invest in legacies. I’m still doing the season tickets………..but i was going to drop back to two tickets if Richt was still here. I see a time in the not too distant future where i do it like you do.

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  8. Lrgk9

    Treat us like wallets long enough and we’ll start acting like wallets.

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  9. Athens Realtor

    The treatment of the game experience is across the board…Ever to to a baseball game at Foley or a basketball game at the Steg? The game experience is not good at all events. BM doesn’t get it.

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  10. I thought the so-called “Georgia Way” that, in theory had handcuffed Richt, was about B-M skimping on needed resources for coaches, facilities, and recruiting. Now I guess it is about screwing the fans. (Sarcasm font)

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  11. paul

    The truly frustrating thing is that fixing the two most complained about issues (nasty restrooms and glacially slow concessions) is actually pretty simple and not even all that expensive in the grand scheme of things.

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    • Greg M.

      I promise you that we’re looking into both issues and hope to be providing some relief in the coming years.

      In other news, the 2017 Hartman Fund drive should be opening up in the next few weeks. It’s never too early to give us your money!

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  12. BCDawg97

    One part of the problem is families like mine. I’ve got 2 young boys who love going to games. Season tickets, while expensive, are easier to manage than the hit and miss of scalping, finding friends with extras, etc. Perhaps the younger alumni won’t view the experience with the same nostalgia that I do to go through the hassle and expense, but my guess is there will always going to be up and coming families who feel season tickets are the way to go, filling in the gaps of those older holders who drop off. Or think how many comments we saw telling people – “I hope you drop your tickets if we keep Richt so I can get some”.

    While I agree as consumers, we should speak with our wallets, I just don’t see the drop off that would precipitate BM actually listening to us.

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  13. Semper Fi Dawg

    revenue from ticket sales is decimal dust to the athletic department. it cover’s their end of year bonuses and staff retreats to the ritz carlton @reynolds plantation. Cmon tv and bowl revenue is where its at, not tix sales. As an old plt sgt used to say, “crap in one hand and wish in the other, then tell me which one fills up first”………

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  14. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    As a 32 year old Alum without season tickets, I’ll offer a vantage point from an older millenial. I don’t say this as a brag, humble or otherwise, simply to describe the situation. I can afford season tickets. I can afford to jump in line a bit. I graduated 1 year too soon to get the young alumni offer that they created. I almost pulled the trigger before the 2008 campaign, but at the time, I couldn’t come close to affording the minimum donation to get 2 tickets. I simply haven’t gotten them over the years because of how un-welcome I have felt in Athens since they changed the parking rules and tow every car that so much as looks like it is possibly parked incorrectly.

    When I had no kids, my wife and I attended nearly every home game, and many away games, scalping as we went, getting great seats each time. I just can’t mentally commit to getting season tickets knowing how utterly awful it is to park in Athens to attend a game. I now have an almost 3 year old with another on the way. Saturdays in the fall won’t be the same for me for a long, long while. I love going to games. I’ve invested a lot of money over the years to do that, but going the season tickets route is simply different.

    It seems to me that the Athletic Association feels that I would be owed no loyalty should I decide to invest the money in tickets. it is assumed I will do so. they do nothing to make me want to be in athens for gameday, other than hosting a game I dearly love to watch in person. I may seem like a whiny kid to some, but at the end of the day, I have finite money, to be spent on finite amounts of entertainment, with finite amount of time to be spent doing so. Scalping big games lets me go to the games where it’s worth a 2 mile hike to the stadium from a grassy area to tailgate for extended periods of time. I couldn’t care less about bathrooms or concessions, though that for the longest time, I would miss much of a quarter of football waiting in line with no way to see the game I could hear happening behind concrete walls, was frustrating. If athens wants to ensure that they have a rabid, and present, fanbase, they should look west to Auburn to see how a university town welcomes back home its alumni on a gameday and makes them feel welcome.

    Sadly, here is the whine factor, I would rather watch a game on TV than sit in the 600 section. I’ve sat there before on different occasions, and having given it a shot, I’d rather not do it again. I assume new season ticket holders end up high in the 600s, and i don’t really care to start that journey.

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    • Macallanlover

      Good post, thanks for that perspective. Not sure we will recognize the college game experience in another decade or so. I would say with your current family status, you need another decade or so before having to decide on that commitment. By the time that gets here, I really doubt it will be what you fell in love with anyway.

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    • BCDawg97

      600 is usually for away fans. I started 3 years ago and got 301, corner end zone. If you start, some of it is how much you donate, then relative to how much others donated. I think most start corner end zones.

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  15. aladawg

    Well, I have reflected a bit on this after sending a private E-mail to the Senator who like many of us boomers is reasonably concerned. I spent 8 years in school, (BS and DVM), 6 of them married paying $1 a game to sit in the married section on the 40-50 yard line lower level above row 52 out of the rain. I got spoiled in school and loved the game experience. I chose to get season tickets in ’82 and have given and moved to better seating over 33 years. I was here in good times and bad, road or away. It all began to erode when certain school’s (TN was first) raised road tickets exorbitantly. Then TV , Michael Adams and the need to have cupcakes expanded to a point that the experience was no longer what College Football was all about, it was the money. Premium seating in the non-club level came next and on and on. I am very close to my tipping point. We are going to Mizzou without tickets because I know I can get those cheap. I bought Ole Miss ones because their program has elevated to “sellouts” and the ticket will be a tough one and we love Oxford. We stopped going to So Carolina, TN and Allbarn because of ticket prices and noxious fans. We will stay on long enough to go to the Golden Dome in 2017, I’ll find a way to go to A & M in 2023 or 24 when we go there so I can say I have been to all stadiums in the SEC (Including Gainesville when they were re-doing the Gator Bowl). My point level is such that I have great seats, but now it is the experience that is more important to me. I can see me giving up some of my 8 season’s tickets in the next few years, especially with our kids not attending any cupcakes. We already know we will miss Nicholl’s State this year………another wasted $400 bucks on a blowout……………But I ramble. Needless to say the tipping point has been reached. Attendance will begin to wane and ESPN’s issue with the Longhorn Network will grow forcing more playoff games to pay for all this falderal. It’s just sad to see the greed. Our President, McGoofy, Kirby, etc. et.al. all have it and won’t miss me one bit……The treatment of loyal fans is deplorable and disgusting. It’s just sad…….

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