“[The Dawgs] always have my loyalty, [but] I can think of better uses of my money than the Hartman Fund.”

Over at the AJ-C, Bill King explores the same themes we discussed here last week in the wake of Greg McGarity’s latest example of tone-deafness.

Unfortunately, McGarity and company do seem to view us fans as merely donors to be solicited continually for more money, rather than customers whose needs must be taken into account. In the wake of this week’s west end zone expansion announcement, I was pretty surprised by the way McGarity essentially blew off Seth Emerson’s question about what is going to be done about the dismal state of many of the stadium restrooms. McGarity noted that the renovation will add two men’s and two women’s restrooms in the west end, as if that somehow is going to help the thousands of folks on the north side of the stadium, where the overwhelmed facilities are just plain disgusting.

As McGarity put it: “You prioritize stuff as they become important.” And, apparently, the fans in the north stands haven’t yet reached that status.

There appears to be a basic disconnect between McGarity and many of the fans supporting UGA’s program.

No shit.

And, to what should be no one’s surprise, he finds that some of the natives are getting restless.

Mike Keyes is “thinking it’s time to watch from home…..product on the field leaves a lot to be desired. That doesn’t have anything to do with my loyalty. …just a better use of money instead of the Hartman fund.” … Says Scott White: “Reality is, I’m in my 30s and I have very few peers that donate like I do. Most do the pick-and-choose approach [via Stub Hub] you spoke of [as opposed to buying season tickets], and, as time goes on, it becomes more and more appealing.” … Lindsey Kee Portmann complains: “UGA wants more and more money from its loyal fans, I love the Dawgs, but … I think they need to make some readjustments in their budget. Bathrooms need an upgrade & I think they have the cash to do it already. Stop hitting fans with it, in my opinion.” … Paul Germer says he chooses “not to purchase the below-standard food and avoid the unbelievably slow food/drink lines … the bathrooms are a joke.” … David Hubert, who says he’s a long-time season ticket holder, thinks “the fans are the least considered part if the equation. … It is just a matter of time before we drop our 50-yard-line tix in the lower bowl.”

“I love the Dawgs, but…” isn’t what you want to hear as an athletic director, but there’s a sizeable gap between words and actions and I suspect the part of the fan base McGarity counts on financially isn’t prepared to go beyond the grumbling stage yet.  The sad thing is if that threshold ever does get crossed by a significant enough number, it’ll take time for Butts-Mehre to realize that and take steps to woo the departed back.  At that point, better wi-fi ain’t gonna cut it.

Even assuming a turning point is possible, I’m not sure what the cause for such would be — maybe somebody organizes an effective social media campaign that rouses the fan base, maybe mediocre results on the field drive paying customers away, maybe the facilities degrade to a level similar to what used to characterize Tech’s stadium before it was renovated, I don’t know — but if the athletics administration has to deal with the fall out, is there any reason to think it’ll be any more competent in that setting than it’s been in allowing things to fester as they have?

Needless to say, Greg McGarity has a lot riding on Kirby Smart’s success.  A couple of SEC championships would make it a lot easier to sweat the small stuff.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  The sad, concise truth from the AJ-C’s Cy Brown.

McGarity, Morehead and Smart have done the simple calculus. You can build a diehard fan base with a winning football team, but you can’t build a winning football team with a diehard fan base. When you win enough games, a lot of people will be willing to put up with long lines at the urinal.

Advertisements

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

64 responses to ““[The Dawgs] always have my loyalty, [but] I can think of better uses of my money than the Hartman Fund.”

    • Mayor

      “When you win enough game, a lot of people will be willing to put up with long lines at the urinal.” Not me. There are no lines at my house.

      Like

  1. The other Doug

    I doubt Mcgarrity can survive another throw away season. He has found success by catering to the fatcats and ignoring the regular fans. The problem is the regular fans can get a better game day experience at home. Well, unless the team is winning championships and being there matters.

    Like

  2. Dawgs1

    The canary in the coal mine and the clear future of most school’s fan bases is the quite distracted, apathetic students. It’s a huge problem at Alabama, Michigan and elsewhere. The future, as espn.’s recent nosedive of subscriptions, is down, not juzt a slowing of the rate of ascent.

    Like

    • JCDAWG83

      The fact that over 60% of Georgia students are female is a demographic fact that portends some serious problems ahead for football attendance. Girls enjoy going to the games but once they graduate, they are much less likely to buy season tickets than male students. They are also generally less passionate fans and have no problem skipping games or leaving early. Additionally, when you consider the reality that many Georgia grads end up working outside the state at some point after graduation you further dilute the number of potential future ticket buyers.

      Poor facilities for the average fan, terrible home schedules, noon kickoffs, rising costs, difficulties in tailgating and disappointing seasons will lead to lower attendance numbers sooner rather than later unless a championship comes along pretty quickly.

      Like

      • Napoleon BonerFart

        I hear that. I dropped my season tickets this year. My wife is perfectly content showing up at the stadium a few minutes before halftime and leaving in the third quarter. That way, there’s no wait at Depalma’s. Why am I donating for the seat next to me that’s empty half the time? For the aggravation, we may as well buy nosebleed seats cheap on StubHub, or just watch the game at the Georgia Theater or at home.

        Like

      • Dawg1

        All true. I was surprised to see the 60% figure recently. It is good news for my boys; and my daughter wants to use our season tix to attract the boys! So we will still pony up I guess!!

        Like

  3. MLB2

    AjC giving Bluto some credit. Well deserved. They know what’s up.

    Like

  4. Atticus

    Win the SEC and nobody will care about bathrooms or concessions. But it is amazing how naive McGarity is relative to these issues.

    Like

  5. Macallanlover

    Sounds like McDummy has passed the tipping point to me. You can only insult your loyal followers so much, even as the AD at a passionate program like UGA. I long ago thought that game attendance lost out to watching at home except for occasional, selective attendance, but the combo of declining facilities, very weak home schedules, and lousy customer service is driving more loyal subjects away….and it will be almost impossible to replace them all once they change their routine.

    I can appreciate how difficult it would be to raise significant money of you were asking for cash to spend on bathroom upgrades, and similarly sexy projects, that is exactly why you hide them in a major upgrade like the one proposed. Dummy missed another opportunity. How many decades have fans been unanimous on the subjects of bathroom grossness and simply crummy concession experiences? Now, how many $100 million dollar upgrades do you have planned beyond this one? Can you spell: over his head? Now add the, almost, across the board decline with UGA sports teams. Who keeps this guy afloat?

    Like

    • The Georgia Way

      http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

      Greg’s position is stronger than it has ever been.

      Keeping expenses low keeps Greg in good graces with the university as the net gets ‘invested’ by the UGA Foundation. The UGA Athletic Department now has fourth lowest budget in the SEC and Greg has us on track for number one.

      Greg’s position is privately-funded, as is the baseball coach’s position, so we do not see either of them at risk.

      Like

      • JCDAWG83

        All season tickets sold out and “donations” increased by double digit percentage. McGarity is a rock star at BM. I’m sure the BM crowd is reading this article and chuckling to themselves at the thought of Georgia fans deciding to not buy tickets.

        They know the vast majority of fans live by the decades old theory of “If I give up my tickets, when we get good again I won’t be able to get them back”. This way of thinking is the same as “the beatings will continue until morale improves”.

        Like

      • Macallanlover

        Guess I don’t put it all on finances. In a strong position? Don’t agree with that at all. Not getting the job done, and native are getting antsy. We will see.

        Like

  6. Ole Dokes

    #MAKESANFORDGREATAGAIN!

    Like

  7. Jdawg

    I have been a season ticket holder for almost twenty years and I almost gave them up. Just the fact that a co-worker wanted to split them is only reason I kept them. I am getting to that point quickly. Common fan is being left in the dust.

    Like

  8. ApalachDawg

    When Adams got his slimy fingers on our university, in my opinion, UGA changed in a lot of areas. I think back to how tailgating used to be prior to when i attended UGA in early 90s, right after graduation in the mid to late 90s and how it is today. You have cops on bikes harassing folks, seems like tailgating has gone corporate – where is the budweiser, friend chicken, pimento cheese, tater salad, throwing the football with munson highlights in the background, on sidewalks wrapping north campus – where has all that gone?
    I go back to one game a year if that and that has happened in years. I gave up my season tickets 10 years ago.
    Now, I enjoy watching the games down near the Redneck Riviera. At least being at the beach lessens the blow when the Dawgs find a new, spectacular way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Like

  9. HVL Dawg

    How much can it cost to spiff up some restrooms? Compared to the 60 million just announced it would take pocket change to replace all the fixtures and re-tile 20-30 restrooms.

    Why is there 60 million available for one project but a half million not available for another? Because Kirby didn’t ask for restroom upgrades. Well I guess Kirby did ask for rest room upgrades, but not the ones you are using.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Irwin R. Fletcher

    I think what it gets down to is that there is no sense of urgency. I mean…we should have had an IPF 10 years ago and the End Zone project has been on the plan for years. To basically have not done ANYTHING other than cosmetics to Sanford since the addition of the 400 section back in 2003-04 is redonkey. I mean…Reed Plaza is fine…but the fact that I have to walk past the bathrooms on the concourse an additional 50 yards to get to any sort of decent facilities is just dumb.

    Look at the timeline…
    1981- East End Zone
    1984- Letterman Club
    1991-West End Zone
    1994-Sky Suites
    2000-Sky Suites
    2003-North Upper Deck
    2004-Sky Suites
    …then crickets.

    That’s 20 years where the longest time between projects that added FAN capacity was 6-7 years. Then nothing…so demand goes through the roof with Richt, they cap capacity, prices increase, and then they don’t reinvest any of it back in the facility that actually got them there. It’s literally killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    Let’s see…since 2004, Miss St, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Texas A&M, FSU…they’ve all continued to add capacity and renovate fan facilities/seating.

    Hmmm…where’s Florida on that list?

    After the 2011 season, an extensive renovation of the 1950s-era concourse under the west stands (of Ben-Hill Griffin Stadium) improved restrooms, lighting, concessions, and crowd circulation patterns and added flat-screen displays for fan viewing

    At least ADGM is following his mentor’s playbook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 86BONE

      Bottom line is that UGA is WAY behind. It is VERY sad to admit that, and as a letterman I swallow hard when offering the many excuses year after year. It’s not just Sanford Stadium, it is the entire mind set out of BM. Time to clean house, or better yet, time to call Leeburn and Young and ask them to!

      Like

  11. Bright Idea

    The “football crowd” as Adams called us will never get McGarity fired by complaining about bathrooms and losing. Everything is not about what gets done and when, but whose idea it is and who will pay for it. That’s way above McGarity. He’s just the front man as will be his successor.

    Like

  12. MGW

    When Mississippi State, Mizzou, South Carolina, and Kentucky are your “marquee” home games, then yes, StubHub makes a whole hell of a lot of sense.

    Like

    • dawgfan

      Make UF home and home. The home schedule immediately gets much better every other year. However, once again it’s about kickbacks from Jacksonville and what the big donors want. After getting $41 million from the SEC, do we still need the money bad enough to go down there every year and get our @$$ handed to us?

      Like

      • Yeah, wouldn’t be easier to stay home and watch UGA get its ass handed to it?

        Like

        • dawgfan

          One bad game under Ray Goff does not make a trend. I believe 6-21 since CSS took over and made it a priority to beat UGA is a trend. I like our chances in Athens every other year and it improves our home schedule. I sure wish we had them at home this year since it looks like South Carolina and Missouri are our big home games.

          Like

          • Donnan lost in Gainesville by an equally bad margin in 1996. And then kicked ass in Jax the next year.

            Georgia doesn’t lose to Florida because of location.

            Like

            • dawgfan

              I agree it’s not the location. I think the biggest reason is that CSS stopped UF from playing Auburn the week before Georgia which happened every year in the 70’s and 80’s. Making the game home and home would absolutely make the home schedule better and give UGA a better chance to win in the series, in my opinion.

              Like

              • JCDAWG83

                It would make for a better home schedule but it would most likely simply allow Georgia fans to watch us crap the bed against UF in Athens instead of Jacksonville. The game location was no big deal until Spurrier showed up. We have had the week before off for a while now and it hasn’t seemed to help much so that doesn’t really explain the results.

                If we start winning some games that matter, our home opponents may not get a lot better but our kickoff times will. We can’t make the SEC East into a decent division but we can make Georgia football into a program that gets a little more respect in terms of kickoff times.

                Like

                • dawgfan

                  Spurrier, Zook, and Meyer all owned Georgia. Even Muschamp beat us the year he was fired. Our new coach didn’t start off so well either. Somebody needs to figure something out. It’s not Dooley’s Jacksonville anymore.

                  Like

                  • Macallanlover

                    Haven’t heard one single reason for making this change, except that you want it. Not arguing with your opinion, just never heard a single valid reason, from any one, to go to The Swamp every other year. In fact, that would disadvantage UGA for the first time. Why the hell would we ever want to do that? Sure, we are struggling with them so let’s give them an edge.

                    Like

                    • dawgfan

                      Go back and read my original post. It was in response to a post saying that our 2017 home schedule is not very appealing. I replied that making the Ga/Fl game home and home would improve our home schedule, and certainly anyone can understand that, especially with our 2017 schedule. Don’t you agree that UF coming to Athens this year would make an otherwise crappy 2017 home schedule much better? I bet it wouldn’t be a noon kickoff.

                      Like

                    • If it’s all about fixing the home schedule for you, why not just dump one of the cupcakes for a better opponent?

                      Like

              • Never met a UGA fan from South Georgia who didn’t like having one game a year where he/she had the short drive.

                Like

            • Nope, it was Goff in 1994 in Gainesville. Donnan got his @$$ handed to him in Jacksonville the first year the newly renovated Gator Bowl opened.

              Like

  13. Beer Money

    What makes even less sense is that the bathrooms at both Stegeman and Foley have been renovated recently. Go in either one of them now and it looks modern and up to standard.

    So given that these were priority enough, WHY IN THE HELL HAS NOTHING BEEN DONE IN SANFORD which drives the bus for the entire athletic department?

    Like

    • Ricky McDurden

      Given that the rest of Foley is an underwhelming high school venue, nice restrooms was the least they could do (and they aren’t even THAT nice…)

      Like

  14. Ed Kilgore

    When considering the collective fan hassle of attending games in Athens, you should remember how many of us are coming from some distance. My wife (a long-time season ticket holder) and I commute from California to games, which means well over a grand in travel costs before you even get into the insane traffic into Athens, the parking issues, the long line to beg an uncomprehending volunteer to take too much money for a drink or snack, the restrooms, the post-game snarl, etc. The final indignity after the Tech game this last year was being all but pushed off I-85 twice by state troopers with screaming sirens accompanying the Tech team, band and equipment bus to Atlanta. (Couldn’t let them sit in traffic, could they?) When on top of all that you lose winnable games, it’s just too much to ask.

    I understand the priorities argument, but I can’t imagine that, for example, a professional concessions operation would cost any more than the current nightmare. So yeah, it comes across as indifference, and sometimes as cynical contempt for fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dawg friendly

    We moved past the “grumbling” stage this year. No Hartman Fund donation and no renewal of our four seats or parking pass after 30+ years. Still supporting with a trip to Notre Dame and a couple of trips to Athens for games of our choice. The concerning thing for the AD should be that we offered them to our kids (28 and 31) and they both declined to continue- although they are both easily able to afford them and they’ve attended games all their lives. The younger generation may not be willing to continue the tradition of donations for tickets for 12:00 games, slow concessions, limited games worth the hassle and terrible bathrooms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bulldawgjosh

      I did my Hartman fund donation before the announcement, but I probably would’ve done it anyways for the tax deduction and to keep my points up.

      However, I had already planned to not renew my season tickets this year because of the awful schedule.

      For 2018 I’ll probably just throw in the towel altogether. It’s just too easy to get tickets from other people or stubhub.

      Like

    • Chi-town Dawg

      Like others have posted, I’m a 25 year out of town season ticketholder who didn’t renew my 8 seats (including 4 club level seats and a Tate center parking pass). Finally had enough of pathetic home schedules, no fun tailgating restrictions, long concession and restroom lines, rising prices for poor on-field performance plus a total lack of concern for the customer. I basically got sick of being a wallet for the AD. I’ll still go to the ND game and a home game or two, but will buy tickets on the open market for far less money than it would cost thru the athletic department.

      Like

      • Chi-town Dawg

        And almost forgot the BS way that McGoofy is making most big opponent games neutral site, so we have to pay through the nose for those tickets just like we do the UF tickets above and beyond our standard ticket package.

        Like

  16. DawgPhan

    I will be curious to see what the cutoff looks like this year for new tickets. I am guessing that they are not currently sold out.

    I know I gave up 4 tickets, who is the person that is going to pick those up? The fan that hasnt been getting tickets who decides that this is the season to grab 4 renewable tickets? Especially with the schedule for 2017 and an increase in donation and ticket price?

    Like

  17. soccerdawg

    I am a season ticket holder for 30 years. I use the west end restrooms though I sit on North lower bowl. These were the largest and most efficient bathrooms IMHO. Where are we adding two bathrooms? Are we taking away these two very large bathrooms on west end and replacing them with something smaller?

    Like

  18. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    “When you win enough games, a lot of people will be willing to put up with long lines at the urinal.”

    That is probably true, but it wouldn’t hurt to hedge your bet a little bit, and do a little for the fans. As others have pointed out, a competent, efficient, and professional concession would very likely make extra money. It wouldn’t be a loser. We should have better bathrooms, actually more bathrooms, but I think a lot of the bathroom problem is the people using (abusing) them. The nicest bathroom n the world isn’t very nice if people just piss on the floor…

    Like

  19. heyberto

    General traffic flow within the stadium needs a lot of attention.

    Like

  20. Greg McGarity, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics

    A lot of comments here are representative of the Society of the Miserable. You don’t want to be labeled as such, do you?

    Thank you for your support of Georgia athletics. Keep that money coming in!

    Greg

    Like

  21. lakedawg

    And All Bill King mentioned was the north concourses, hey take my word fo it try the ones above aisle 132 and he will find the same crap.

    Like

  22. Godawg

    Congrats Cuz! The Senator used your quote for a post headline! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. CB

    I lived with Cy in college and we grew up together. Life comes full circle when one of your own gets quoted on your favorite football blog. It seems like just yesterday we were pining over Jim Rome reading on of his e-mails over the air.

    Like

  24. Bigshot

    I really don’t understand why people complain so much about the home schedule. There is not a lot that can be done when you are playing Florida on the road every year and then GT every other year. The simple way to improve the schedule is to move Florida to home and home. The UGA out f conference schedule is rated the 6th most difficult in the nation. MOVE FLORIDA!

    Like

    • DoubleDawg1318

      A weekend in JVille/Golden Isles is a whole lot more fun than another home game in Athens. Plus, there’s a lot of good Georgia people who depend on that game for a good economic boost. I’d much rather make the trip down, than stay in Athens.

      Like

      • bigshot

        Then my questions is why not just take a vacation. It can’t be much fun going down there and UGA losing the majority of the games. I am sure the merchants of Athens would welcome it and a lot more UGA fans would get to see the game.

        Like

  25. Folks demanded more wins. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this thing is run like a business and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’ll be run even more like a business moving forward.

    Like

  26. Pingback: You mean so much to me, baby. | Get The Picture