Even as the cost to attend home games rises, many of the more attractive games going forward are likely to be off-campus. For Smart, it makes sense for the reasons outlined above. He saw the benefit of the big neutral site games while at Alabama. It also makes sense for Georgia’s bank account: neutral site games come with premium ticket prices and bring in more money than a home-and-home series would with the same opponent.
Fans will be asked to contribute more for what’s likely to be a lesser home schedule. You’ll have the usual SEC slate, and Tech will visit every other year, and more attractive opponents in Athens are likely to be few and far between. Alabama under Nick Saban has hosted only one power conference opponent at home: Penn State in 2010. (That’s no knock on their schedule; they almost always have a challenging opener.) Georgia will have a visit from Notre Dame in 2019 which was arranged before Smart took over. But if you want to see some of the better non-conference games on Georgia’s future schedules, be prepared to travel and pay on top of your increased donation and season tickets. [Emphasis added.]
Listen carefully and there’s a mournful tone of inevitability accompanying his observation. Although I do wonder if that can be countered with two points. First, Kirby isn’t ultimately calling the shots on scheduling, at least according to the terms of his just-signed contract.
–Smart is to work “in good faith” with the athletic director in scheduling future opponents, but the athletic director has the final say in scheduling.
Second, while nobody at Butts-Mehre wants to acknowledge the possibility that there is a limit to our wallets’ generosity, you better believe somebody has taken notice of the fact that the cumulative Hartman Fund cut off score to renew the receipt of two season tickets fell from 6701 in 2015 to 1201 in 2016. Sure, one season doth not a trend make, but in the wake of a coaching change supposedly jazzing up the fan base – #93k, good times, remember? – it doesn’t appear to reflect the sense of enthusiasm for the program that’s being pushed in many quarters.
Moar sure: yeah, win an SECCG or two and that fall will be arrested. The question is, will that be enough in the years to come for Georgia fans to continue shelling out “more for what’s likely to be a lesser home schedule”? We know Greg McGarity hopes that’s the case. If it’s not, is there any more of a Plan B in place than expecting television revenues to make up the slack? You know how impressed I’ve been with the business acumen of the athletic department, but, obviously, your mileage may vary there.
In the meantime, you’d better treasure that home-and-home with Notre Dame. If Groo’s right, we may not see its like again for a while.