Stadium attendees, Greg McGarity feels your pain.

At least that’s today’s version of things.

A couple weeks ago, UGA announced a $63 million project to help the team’s gameday and recruiting experience, by building new locker rooms and a recruiting area. But the reaction from many fans was essentially: Great, but what about us?

The state of the bathrooms has been criticized, as well as long concession lines and other areas of complaint. McGarity, whose initial response when that was brought up two weeks ago didn’t please some fans, made clear Thursday that he hears them.

“It’s important to us.,” he said “We’ve made strides. Have we made enough strides, no. Is it important to us, yes. And I think the message that we’d like to convey is that it’s a huge deal for us.”

What strides have been made? McGarity said the bathrooms have been renovated over the past few years in “roughly half” of the stadium. And part of the West End project includes building four new bathrooms and newer concession areas.

But more work to other areas of the stadium needs to be done, and McGarity said that’s coming after G-Day.

“We have addressed certain areas of the stadium every year, and we still plan to do that,” McGarity said. “And what we would do is at the appropriate time, whether it’s around our next board meeting, or some point at time before that, we would let our people know what’s going on. But we usually do that kind of before the season starts, as far as what’s new at Sanford Stadium. Do we need to talk about it more? Probably so. Now that it’s become an issue for a number of people. What are our plans. Can we communicate that better, absolutely.”

McGarity pointed to some other work that’s been done for fan experience: Ceiling fans in the first-level concourses, to alleviate complaints that it was too hot in those areas. The ability to use credit cards at all concession stands, and a “grab and go” process at those concession stands, which would hopefully speed up the lines.

Out of decency, I probably should skip past the last paragraph and not mention the pathetic comparison to be made between ceiling fans for the paying customers who attend the games regularly and entirely new facilities to entertain recruits who… um, don’t, nor the pathetic band-aid McGarity’s tried to slap on poor concessions service (“hopefully” is the ginormous tell there; even McGarity isn’t trying to claim success).  I guess I’m not that decent.

What’s noteworthy here is two-fold.  One, that the athletic director even felt the need to revise and amend his earlier tone-deaf remarks indicates to me that there’s been more heat about the level of customer satisfaction over the stadium experience than I anticipated.  Second, McGarity felt it necessary to point a finger at Butts-Mehre for doing a poor job of communicating to fans.  Mea culpas from the athletics department to the fan base aren’t something you read every day.  So, to everyone who’s lifted a voice and complained, my compliments.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start popping champagne corks just yet.  Talk is cheap and doesn’t cost the reserve fund a cent.  Not to mention nothing in McGarity’s remarks indicates he’s convinced of anything more than that some people are bitching.  Put it this way — if you think that installing ceiling fans is a concrete solution to any of the structural problems in the game day experience that the spending on the new west end stadium project has exacerbated in the minds of the people who show up to cheer on the Dawgs, then you’re part of the problem.

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60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

60 responses to “Stadium attendees, Greg McGarity feels your pain.

  1. Jason

    If you are making it easier and faster for you to take our money… i.e. upgrading the concession areas.. thats for you not us.

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  2. BulldogJay

    Greg McGarity feels your pain….NOT!
    It took him 2 weeks to figure out his initial statement was stupid and indefensible. Time for him to go.

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  3. 92 grad

    Commentariat, please don’t take my comment to mean that a debate should begin here.

    I just want to say, Trump is in the White House because he leaves the public with the feeling that he has heard and contemplated the issues presented. Mcgarity, while progress seems to have been made, still leaves you with the feeling that nothing substantive will be done and the complaints will receive all of 2 minutes consideration. Hence the “bullshit” response from Mr Sanford. The general public isn’t going to allow the non commital placating conflict resolution tactic deployed by these people that carefully choose their words in such a way that says nothing other than “I hear you”.

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  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    What group, or what portion, of fans actually go to the west end during games? That walk seems like a huge hike down into a low area just to get a drink or use the john. Admittedly I’m usually in lower deck South.

    And, as long as the concession stands are run as fund raisers for civic clubs, we’re gonna be waited on by teenagers just figuring out how to run a cash register.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      It was always the closest for my seats. But it was a pain. The lines were huge for both the bathrooms and the concessions. And by halftime, they were usually out of pretzels and popcorn. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t renew my seats this year.

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  5. doofusdawg

    Renovating urinals is just not the kind of development that most bureaucrats envision. And it’s kind of hard to sell the naming rights.

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    • Naming the toilets after ADGM may be the only way to have a better service. LOL. Welcome to ADGM Toilet Facilities.

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      • Nah that would imply that he actually took initiative and got something done….for the same reason I wouldn’t name the stalls “ADGM Getting Shit Done Stalls”

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      • Got Cowdog

        How about selling honorary(?) naming rights? For instance, if I donated a grand, could I have Gary Danielson’s picture embossed on a urinal with a plaque above it? It doesnt have to be one of the waterless ones. Those would be two grand.

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      • Bazooka Joe

        If he would put his picture at the bottom of the urinals Id bet we would all contribute to the renovation !
        I guess I am now one of the “lucky ones” as my seats are in the lower level, SW corner so the lower west side is where I come/go, etc… I usually stop at one of the restrooms just outside the stadium before coming in, and get a drink on my way to my seat (and try to avoid having to go back at any point during the game unless necessary). Oh, and the “we have put more vendors out in the stands selling… yes – large poles full of cotton candy that blocks your view of half the field. Who the hell eats cotton candy anymore ?
        We will see if this gets any better or not… I am also concerned about how/where I will be entering/exiting the stadium going forward.

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

    Look, I know most of you are in the Society of the Miserable. That’s just the way you are. The fact of the matter is that we’ve been making small improvements over the years and will continue to do so.

    Online ticket ordering should open up in the next week or two. You’ll then have a couple of weeks to get your orders in, so don’t fart around and then call us in early April whining about how you didn’t have enough time to order the tickets that we allow you to buy.

    As always, thanks for your support of UGA athletics!

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    • The Georgia Way

      As Mr. McGarity outlined above, we are sensitive to the fan experience and have already been making small improvements to the fan experience, such as the discontinuation of the refillable coca cola cups.

      Given the positive impact this had our restroom lines, we are now announcing our next fan-friendly initiative.

      Beginning in the 2017 football season, we will be reducing the size of all food and beverage items at the same competitive prices you have come to appreciate from the University of Georgia.

      This initiative will provide an additional positive impact on the restroom lines, enhance the fan experience, and is fully supported by our Office of Sustainability.

      And that’s another Bulldog Point of Pride!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MLB2

    You are as decent as a Jewish lawyer is capable of being. 😉

    Like

  8. Dog in Fla

    Grer gets daily intel report from GTP

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  9. sUGArdaddy

    I get the angst at ADGM, but the reactions here seem overblown. What’s he supposed to say? He said nothing and was blasted, and said something and was blasted.

    If you’ve been to any other SEC stadiums, you know that we’ve got a gem in Sanford. Columbia, SC and Knoxville are dumps. UK and Ole Miss are okay. I believe Sanford is better than Jordan-Hare. Fayetteville is phenomenal, but we rarely go there. Mizzou is okay. They have some cool concessions, but the stadium is in a weird spot. Tech is awful. Baton Rouge is a great trip, but the stadium is a lot of metal and nothing to write home about.

    I appreciate any improvements for me as a fan. But, the greatest improvement I’d like to see is more winning. I believe to have more winning, we need better players and more of them. Hence, recruiting is the key to turning around our program. The fact that we have no in stadium recruiting lounge is kind of ridiculous. Kids are taking their officials on game weekends more now than ever before. We need that experience to be top notch. Shouldn’t we celebrate that?

    Also, our locker rooms are below par. Besides some wall graphics, we have not renovated them in 25 years. We should want to best for our players. This is also part of a wow-factor with recruits, which helps the program. Do we invest in the people who are not even part of our program? You bet. They are the lifeblood to having a competitive program in the future.

    This thing is a titanic. Kirby’s one year into the job and has already shifted B-M from a $30 mil project to another $63 mil project. That’s a sea change in approach. It’s just the beginning.

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    • ATL Dawg

      A lot (most?) of the bathrooms and concessions in Sanford are the worst in the SEC. Hands down.

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      • JCDAWG83

        You’ve never been to Willy B in Columbia, I think there are a total of 2 mens rooms in the upper decks on each side of the stadium and getting in and out of that dump is complete nightmare with those spiral walkways on the ends of the stadium.

        Concessions aren’t a big concern of mine. I don’t go to games to eat or drink, I go to watch the game. If I really need a drink at a hot game I generally go mid third quarter and the stands are pretty empty.

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        • ATL Dawg

          We must exist in parallel universes or something. I’ve been to Willy B many times and I’ve always found the bathroom situation to be much better there (and yes, I’m talking about the upper deck sidelines). I do agree that the spiral walkways are a nightmare though.

          However, your statement about Sanford concession lines being empty in the third quarter is more evidence that we don’t exist in the same universe. I missed almost the entire 3rd quarter of a game last season waiting in line.

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          • JCDAWG83

            After midway in the third, the halftime crowd has died down for the most part on the South side upper level. Early fourth quarter is generally pretty dead too. I don’t know how it is elsewhere.

            I went to Willy B with a Clemson friend a few years ago for the Clemson/SCu game. We were upper deck North (I think) side. There were exactly two restrooms for men on the entire sideline.

            I’m not defending the Sanford experience but it seems better than Columbia to me.

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    • Cousin Eddie

      I have been to the swamp and inside the bowl is crap (narrow and very steep stairs with very few to no handle rails, looks like some angry 8 year old built it over time with Legos and all that orange) but the concourses, restrooms, concessions, and TV monitors with speakers that you can actually hear the broadcast are all very nice.

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    • If you’ve been to any other SEC stadiums, you know that we’ve got a gem in Sanford.

      I have been and I disagree with several of your assessments.

      Just as importantly, there are several SEC venues where tailgaters are better treated than in Athens.

      I don’t have a problem with upgrading the recruiting experience. I do have a problem with the suggestion that B-M can’t prioritize more than one capital project at a time. If McGarity can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, find somebody else who can.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ATL Dawg & Cousin Eddie speak the truth.

        Capital project prioritization? Y’all Hartman Fund suckers are gonna be on the hook for $50M of the $63. And Scrooge McGuck’s pool just gets deeper.

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      • paul

        What’s with the incremental improvements to maybe one set of bathrooms per season? They’re sitting on piles of cash over there. The facility isn’t being used for eight months out of the year. How difficult could it be to get in there and renovate restrooms? Granted, structural changes will be needed to do things like expand concourses. But upgrading existing restrooms to something slightly better than a mid twentieth century truck stop isn’t that hard to do. Nor is it all that expensive. And who believes McGarity is actually concerned about this? Not me. He only said something because he was forced to. Give him time. He’ll move on to other priorities soon enough. We’ll be using the same hellholes for years to come. And it will still take you twenty to thirty minutes to get your overpriced, lukewarm Coke from a really sweet but incompetent volunteer. I love my high definition flat screen more and more each year. And I literally save five, seven, ten thousand bucks a year by not making donations, not tailgating and not renting wildly overpriced hotel rooms in Athens! Hey McGarity, you don’t want to spend money? Neither do I. So we’re both happy.

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    • dubyadee

      While I agree that reactions currently make it seem like ADGM can’t win, and am encouraged that the athletic department is even talking about the issue, you have to admit this is another PR mess of ADGM’s own making. Nothing he can say is going to be received well because there has been a gross lack of action over the last few years. The built up frustration is boiling over into the media now, so talk is cheap. Any way he addresses it short of “Here are our plans & specifications for funded improvements to improve the gameday experience,” will not be well received.

      He had a chance to be a hero, but now his range of options is limited to: [tone deaf & incompetent][not completely tone deaf & incompetent].

      I love Sanford Standium, but the services have been totally outstripped by the seating. There is room to address this problem in ways that don’t detract from the historical beauty of the stadium or concourses, but it won’t be cheap.

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      He’s not supposed to say anything; he’s supposed to actually do stuff that would be useful. Action talks; bullshit walks.

      Like

    • PTC DAWG

      Well said…

      Like

  10. tesslibrarian

    Essentially, McGarity felt the need to come out to say, “Message: I care.”
    And why should he do more than that? He isn’t an elected official.

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  11. Dawg19

    Greg McGarity, the Bill Lumberg of Athletic Directors.

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  12. He feels our pain. I feel so much better now.

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  13. Russ

    Kudos to Seth and Bill King for keeping the heat on McGarity about this.

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  14. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    Remember those surveys from a little ways back? I included comments about food service and bathrooms. Bet you did too. And, what did we get? Louder music and more Wi-Fi.

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  15. AusDawg85

    One of my favorites…

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  16. DawgFaithful

    “It’s important to us.,” he said “We’ve made strides. Have we made enough strides, no. Is it important to us, yes. And I think the message that we’d like to convey is that it’s a huge deal for us.”

    Sounds like Donald Trump… It’s a great priority for us. Its very important. We’re making great progress. It’s going to be amazing. Really, really good.

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  17. ADGM was at last nights B-ball game( JJ was great as usual) and sitting in the upper level. Was he actually attempting to get a feel for the regular fans experience? Inquiring minds want to know.

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    • Red Cup

      I saw him too. And resisted the temptation to tell him on the way back from the bathroom that I could not get two of the automatic sinks in the mens room to produce any water. I am sure he is on the mother and now that the season is over will get out his wrench and take a look.

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      • Dog in Fla

        Those non-working automatic sink faucets are part of infectious disease clinical trials to determine if washing hands actually works for customers

        Liked by 1 person

  18. PTC DAWG

    ADGM can’t win with this crew, I’m convinced.

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  19. JCDAWG83

    I’m thinking McGarity will opt for putting more pressure on Kirby to win a championship of some kind as a solution for the game day shortcomings in Athens. A championship would distract everyone from all the problems and BM could raise donations and ticket prices again.

    I think the root of the unrest in the general fan base is the ongoing championship drought. I get the feeling most of the goodwill toward Kirby and the football program was used up in the tech loss. That game singlehandedly ended the honeymoon and lit a fire under the football program’s ass. Had we won that game and ended the season 9-4 with a big home win over AU, a win over tech and a bowl win, the fans would be in a much more charitable mood.

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  20. WTS76

    The allowing credit cards comment is a hoot. People just don’t carry cash like they used to and they want to sell luke warm hotdogs coke with two cubes of ice, there has to be a way to collect the $. Not really a major effort on their part.

    I don’t think the beef is that we aren’t getting prime rib for four our $6.00 hot dogs, we have to wait 20-30 minutes for our $hitty food. And you can’t even watch the game whilst one waits on their $hitty food to be slowly handed to them.

    We will be announcing some changes as soon as we come up with them. McDweebity just doesn’t have any gravitas and is not impressive. As napoleonesque’ as Mike Adams was, you knew where he stood on issues. To state the west endzone project as anything but for players and recruiting is an overreach, I do however think they should have done it. Just don’t act like you bought your wife a huge tv for both of you to enjoy.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      And only a precious few people know where it is ‘invested’.

      No one on the Athletic Board knows.

      The only thing they know about this slush fund is that it’s NOT invested in Georgia athletics.

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  21. Ubiquiotus GA Alum

    Please don’t let ADGM discover pay toilets to fund a renovation … If so, he’ll devise some plan where you accumulate points for using them. 1 point for #1 & 2 points for #2; of course the “donation/deposit” will be priced accordingly

    Liked by 1 person

  22. heyberto

    You know, I have no problem with prioritizing the west end zone renovations above the bathrooms. I just want to see McGarity give us something concrete. We don’t need renovated bathrooms, per se.. we need more bathrooms. The overall issue is really traffic flow in these old concourses. Moving those restrooms and opening that area up will go a long way to remedying that, but I don’t know where you put them either. I’d like to see a prioritization of capital projects for the stadium.. locker room stuff this year, major internal concourse and bathrooms renovations / relocations next year or 2019… get it on the radar, and not just this piecemeal BS of doing a few every year where you just install news stalls, toilets, sinks, tile and stuff. I don’t need the bathrooms to just look newer.

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  23. hailtogeorgia

    ‘Do we need to talk about it more? Probably so. Now that it’s become an issue for a number of people.’

    It’s BEEN an issue for a number of people. Jesus Christ, I don’t know if McGarity could be any worse at PR.

    Like