Gettin’ banged for the buck

Groo posits that the worst thing about the announced increase in ticket costs is what can best be described as an additional hidden expense.

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.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

41 responses to “Gettin’ banged for the buck

  1. Two high-profile neutral site games per year? What’s wrong with this picture? I have ZERO interest in attending a game at Jerry’s World unless it’s a playoff/championship game. I don’t go to Jacksonville, but I don’t want that to move. Arizona State was fun. I hope to go to Notre Dame. I would love to go to LA to play USC, Ann Arbor to play Michigan or Austin to play Texas. Alabama has a hell of a lot more scheduling flexibility than we do with tech and the Cocktail Party. Are these people trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

    • Andrew

      If the success goes higher than Richt’s they’ll milk that goose for every egg (ahhh, metaphors!).

      I’m with you, in wanting to visit other campuses. Not interested in neutral site games unless it’s a championship or bowl.

      • I don’t love the neutral site game in Atlanta, but I’ll go support the team to make it a virtual home game. I won’t buy a ticket plus pay the travel expenses to see a regular season game in Dallas or Houston. My family would rather use our vacation budget for other things.

  2. Chi-town Dawg

    I’ve been a football season ticket holder since graduating in 1988 even though I haven’t lived in the Atlanta area since 1989. However, I’m seriously thinking about either scaling back from 8 to 4 tickets or doing away with them entirely and just scalping or stubhubbing to the games. I know exactly what Groo means because I just sold 2 of my season seats to a buddy at face value ($540) and he wanted me to buy him 4 tickets to the UNC game for his family. The 4 UPPER LEVEL tickets cost almost as much ($355) as the 2 season tickets. Same story with the Florida ticket prices.

    I also recently sold my Gameday Condo because the home schedule has been making it less and desirable for me to travel from Chicago to Athens to see 3 cupcake games a year if you include Vandy/Georgia Southern. The increased donation requirements combined with the ticket increases also takes away much of the re-sale opportunity for some of the games to help offset the cost. I’ll probably bite the bullet one more time in 2017 in order to go see the Dawgs play in South Bend, but after that there’s a very good chance I’ll be giving up my seats entirely. I’m about as hardcore a UGA supporter as you’ll find, so if they’re losing me, I can only imagine what it’ll be like for the next generation of fans. The changes in the game combined with the rising prices seem to be taking more and more fun out of the whole experience. Then again, it’s probably just me getting old, not to mention the new 50 inch Samsung TV and surround sound system in the basement also influences things:-)

    • Macallanlover

      Well said, I think you speak for many loyal fans and your prediction for future attendance seems to be spot on.

  3. HVL Dawg

    Good home football games? There’s plenty of other rap stars available to get the G-sheeple into Sanford.

  4. DawgPhan

    Can’t wait to make that trip to south bend.

    • Gaskilldawg

      I would love to go, too, but I shudder to think at what the Hartman Fund score will be required just to order those tickets.

  5. Russ

    I’ll be very surprised if ND ever sets foot in Sanford Stadium.

    And Kirby just now signed his contract? I thought only Richt showed that little attention to detail.

    • If they don’t, we should call them out as chickens. The Irish aren’t going to back away from the return trip.

      • I’m with Russ ,history says they will back out.

      • Bazooka Joe

        Notre Dame doesn’t back out…. if for some reason it happened it would be due to something beyond their control. ND has no problem playing anyone, anywhere – history has proved that.
        Now, with all the conference junk, schedules being messed with et…. would I be shocked if it didn’t happen ? No – but it wouldn’t be because ND chickened out.

    • Oh, they’re coming. They want to play in Georgia. They’re coming down here for one reason: to steal our recruits.

  6. aladawg

    At the risk of repeating a lot of what Chi-town Dawg I am in a very similar situation as he is. I have 8 tickets now and I will seriously consider dropping 4 in the near future. We know we have Samford, Kentucky, App. State, Yech and SoCar at home next year. We don’t know for sure the West opponent(TAMU,LSU or Ms. State probably TAMU or Ms. St.). That home schedule sucks if you ask me. Almost for sure 3 nooners though. It is very clear that ADGM is fully in charge and ALL he cares about is the money, the reserve and a Championship. Now I want a championship, but not at all costs. That’s just my opinion so don’t blast me for that. I absolutely want a decent game experience for the value of the $$$$$$$ I am donating to GEEF. That is going in the wrong direction.
    Obviously the masses (93,000) who attended G-day for free are NOT the same demographics as the people donating. Otherwise, we would not be seeing renewable season’s point level dropping by over $5,000. It is clear that not all things are as rosy as some of the bloggers here believe. I implore Chip Towers and/or Mark Weizner and/or Seth Emerson to do a FOI of the EXACT GEEF donation totals this year versus last. Our note from the AA said something like the donations were, paraphrased “similar” to a year ago. I suspect that in fact the total was lower this year, though I could be wrong. I also suspect that a PART of the donation requirement change was due to this, so ADGM could offset the drop with forced increases. With no changes in the gameday experience and no incentive to do better on the horizon, scalpers and stub hub are looking better all the time. I know I can get UK, App. State and Samford in good locations for next to nothing. For prime lower level seats that allows me to have $100 EXTRA bucks per game per ticket to spend on the few good games I might want to come to in Athens.

    • lakedawg

      Seems like several of us with 8 tickets are facing the same issue. I could repeat verbatim what Chi and Ala said. I also believe that adding another SEC game would just mean an additional conference game on the road since we are stuck with Tech and gaturds.

    • stoopnagle

      Just a heads up but we do know our rotating West opponents several years in advance. MSU in ’17, @ LSU in ’18, A&M in ’19, @ Bama in ’20… I think it cycles thru in order after that endin @ A&M in ’24.

      The home schedule next year is pretty bad.

  7. Debby Balcer

    I am suprised that lwvels fell i expected those who wanted our coach gone would have driven things up since they got what they wanted. It will be interesting to see how things shake out. Hopefully the DAWGS havw a great season and they realize fans want good home games.

    • Puffdawg

      LOL. Having a keyboard and internet access and a keyboard is a lot different than writing that check to Hartman Fund. I suspect that Venn diagram wouldn’t have much overlap. I support Kirby now that a decision has been made beyond my control, but just making an observation. I would venture most of the nut jobs who regularly comment on GTP about being committed to excellence and all the garbage don’t financially support the University by getting season tickets.

      I’m also to the point where I’m questioning whether my donation/season tickets makes sense. Well, actually I know for a fact it doesn’t make financial sense. And that’s from someone who lives close enough to go to all the home games and some away games. But then I have to weigh my support to the University, the tax write off, and the convenience for away tickets. Although now even THAT’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t make sense. When the cost for Hartman Fund donors for nose bleed UNC tickets is TWICE the cost for home game tickets, what’s the point of making a donation? I don’t know, maybe the stub hub market place will go crazy and $80 will be a deal. But even if that’s the case it probably makes more sense to just save the money on the donation and spend a fraction of it on UNC tickets? For years now it hasn’t made sense to buy bowl tickets thru the Hartman Fund route. That’s for suckers And that appears to be around the corner for regular season tix now, too.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    We quit going in the late 90’s when tailgating got to be too much trouble, and game times began being set seemingly at whim. Add age, travel, expenses, ease of watching on TV, other commitments, etc, etc into the equation as well. Always enjoyed going to the away games though.

    Perhaps a reduction in season ticket holders isn’t such a bad thing if you’re a future student. You might actually have a better chance of attending a game or two.

  9. PTC DAWG

    Again, the writer doesn’t recognize two huge differences in Bama and UGA’s schedule. UF in Jax and our in state rival not being in the SEC.

  10. sniffer

    Geez, we bitch about everything

  11. JoshG

    A 60 inch 4D television has replaced my overpriced tickets and horrific traffic. I’ll try to make one game a year these days. But if I don’t, I’m not that upset. It’s a very short buzzed drive from my easy chair to my bedroom. Goodness, I love capitalism.

  12. Athens Dog

    I get closer and closer to tv. And I can walk to the stadium.

  13. JCDAWG83

    If the points requirement dropped and BM didn’t tout the number in donations, I can guarantee donations dropped. After the debacle that was 2010, BM made sure everyone knew donations increased. Their silence this year also lets everyone know what happened.

    I’m optimistic about the program under Kirby, but let three seasons go by without at least an SEC championship and I think the rats will start leaving the ship in droves. Buying 4 season tickets, travel and tailgating expenses and paying the “donation” is not an insignificant expense for most people, especially the younger alumni and fans. Paying that amount to watch two high school +1 opponents, a Vandy and/or Kentucky game, tech and generally one compelling opponent a season is hard to justify when every game is televised.

  14. Dolly Llama

    Agoraphobia has its privileges, I guess. If I never attend another game in person, I’m fine with that.

  15. Chopdawg

    Too much of an increase at one time.

  16. 69Dawg

    It would be interesting to see some age demographic numbers for season ticket holders. Age and distance caught up with me three years ago. If ,as I believe, there will be more age related drop outs, there may not be enough younger alums to pick up the slack. We Baby Boomers have a rather large foot print. ESPN, SECTV and CBS are now my Saturday friends. You may only see 93,000 show up a couple of times this year. The AD needs to drop the prices on other team returned tickets to regular ticket prices or the Georgia Tech game is going to have empty seats.

  17. 92 grad

    I find it hard to believe that the revenue from secN and tv in general doesn’t more than make up for the general fund. If anything, contributions should be lessened. Athletic depts. are getting too fat and happy.

    • JCDAWG83

      If left to itself, the free market will solve all the issues. The law of supply and demand is almost impossible to break. The supply of college football is ever increasing; larger stadiums, more conference networks, more and more games televised. The demand for tickets has been increasing as well over the past 30 years but that trend may be changing. As the population ages and college grads end up living further and further away from their alma maters, the number of people who choose to pay to travel and see games in person will inevitably decline, especially as the cost rises.

      Our nerd cousins in Atlanta are an excellent example of what could happen to all of college football. They do not have a fan or alumni base in large enough numbers within reasonable driving distance to fill up their joke of stadium. Therefore, they are constantly offering different inducements like free coke and hot dog, three game ticket package specials, Star Wars Day, etc. While they are fun to laugh at now, the day could, and probably will, come when Georgia, Auburn, Bama, Florida and so on will face the same issues.

      I believe the “NFLification” of college football will greatly contribute to the decline in it’s popularity. College fans are generally not as interested in an NFL type atmosphere and experience as they are in seeing a college game with college players and college bands and a college atmosphere. One of the biggest questions is; once the college game destroys itself and the fans walk away, how long will it take and what changes will be required to bring the fans back if they can be brought back?

  18. The Anti-Richt crowd got what it wanted, change for changes sake. The perceived minority (which I submit was actually a silent majority) who thought it ill- advised to fire the Coach with your Alma mater’s all time best winning percentage were dismissed as people who didn’t want to do what it took to win, Richt lovers and generally just blind to Richt’s obvious shortcomings are voting.
    They (the fans who understand that all change is not good and in this case is statistically, quite likely, bad) are voting with their wallets and their feet. That is the only logical reason for the season ticket cut off to drop over $5000. I was ready and willing to walk but my family paid the Hartman Fund contribution to protect their own interests. This number indicates to me that there were a lot more people bothered by the firing of Richt than we might seem to think on this site.
    There are numerous references in various posts to the powers that be killing the goose that lies the golden egg. Well they may not have gutted the fowl to dig out all the eggs at once but I would say that the poor bird has a bad cough and Mr McGarity is treating the malady with some blood letting just like any good medieval barber would prescribe. If we don’t win the SEC East this cough is going to turn into consumption.

    • JCDAWG83

      I’d say it’s more likely the donations dropped because the fans are getting fed up with year after year of under performing teams and worse and worse home schedules with over half the games being noon kickoffs. If Richt had been retained, I think you might have seen the first time in a long time that all the season tickets did not sell out.

      If there is a vote with wallets, it is against McGarity and the buffoons running the show at BM. Georgia mens athletics has become embarrassing. Of course, the fans many years of rewarding disappointing seasons with a flood of checks for Hartman donations is responsible for Georgia football and athletics being in the shape it is in. The message McGarity and the BM crowd got from the ticket buying fans was “everything looks great, keep it coming”.

      • “I’d say it’s more likely the donations dropped because the fans are getting fed up with year after year of under performing teams”
        You keep telling yourself that Buckwheat. I submit my explanation is at least equally if not more plausible…….I’m not arguing McGarity isn’t a buffoon .I’m saying some season ticket holders with significant point totals decided that firing Richt made us look too much like ,UT,Aubarn or any of a dozen programs who have little or no integrity and decided to say so the only way a consumer can and that is to reject the product that is being marketed…….It is a binary choice, buy tickets with Richt as the Coach or don’t buy tickets without Richt as the Coach….the numbers indicate ,to me at least, that is exactly what happened, a lot of high dollars contributors chose the second option.

        • sorry for any confusion…. two different headings because of different computers…not trolling really. Jdjrip and wewoof are the same poster.

  19. Tim In Sav

    Change for changes sake? Really……Richt lost his “Mojo” the last several years(some would say the past 10 years). Newsflash we didn’t win a championship in 2012. (although I turned to my wife after the game and said to her, ” That was the best college football I have ever seen.”

  20. BMan

    5 years ago I took the family on a ski trip for a week in late February / early March. While there, the Hartman find money was due, as well as the nut for summer camp for 3 kids. Something had to give. My children’s sports schedules had already limited me attending games to 1 or 2 a year, but I still kept buying season tix and trying to offset the cost by putting them on stub hub. That day I decided to let the tickets go and it turned out to be the best decision. I buy 2 games a year on stub hub (when there are 2 worth attending) and save a few thousand bucks a year. Sadly this year, if I go to the best 2 games, I won’t be in Athens…

    • Jared S.

      I don’t know. I think the the TN game is gonna be a helluva game. I was going to make it the first Sanford game I’d ever attended, but wife is due to deliver our third on September 26th (TN game is Oct. 1st) so I had to opt for a different game. =/

  21. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    It’s not all that surprising that the minimum new donation dropped by a large amount given the turmoil. I was in the stadium for G-Day, and that fanbase was not the one I typically see on a given saturday in the fall. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s why I’ve always enjoyed G-Day. It’s just a different experience.

    I think the pursuit of the easy schedule to achieve a National Title is going to bite them in the butt in the intervening years. I love watching a football game in Athens, but a noon game is just a terrible game day experience. it’s quiet in the stadium. The team is never as fired up. The fans aren’t.

    in early fall, it’s friggin hot. I’ll be in attendance at the UNC game this year and due to a new born the following weekend, probably won’t see a game in athens for the first time since 2000.