You can’t argue with the math.

Those of you who despise Georgia playing in Jacksonville annually with every fiber of your being are directed to read this post of Groo’s on the subject.  Basically, you can’t fight the money.

King also wonders whether market forces might compel a move back to campus. As schools face increased pressure to sell season tickets as more fans watch at home, they might have to consider improving the quality of home games. It makes sense – Florida on the home schedule would definitely make a season ticket more attractive. Neither Florida nor Georgia seems to be at that point yet – we’ve seen the empty seats, but the tickets are still – for the most part – being sold.

Let’s say that season ticket sales do fall off. It would take a precipitous drop to give up the cash cow that’s the WLOCP. With ticket prices $70 and up, Georgia’s share of the gate is already more than they’d make selling out a home game at normal prices every other year. That’s even before you include 1) the incentives and bonuses built into the new contract and 2) the fact that Georgia’s take in Jacksonville is pure revenue. The schools pay nothing to host this game and forego only concessions revenue. More, let’s remember that all neutral site game revenue is on top of what we’re already paying for season tickets. Georgia gets the Hartman Fund donations, season ticket renewals, *and* any revenue from neutral site games. It would take one heck of an apocalyptic fall in season ticket sales to upset that gravy train.

Rather than encouraging games on campus, economic incentives tell us to prefer the neutral site. Successful neutral games can command premium ticket prices, cost the schools nothing in terms of operating expenses, and will almost always come with a national TV audience. There might even be untapped revenue to be had. As neutral games go, the Georgia-Florida game is still a bargain. $70 will get you in the door in Jacksonville. Last season it took at least $85 to buy a UGA-UNC ticket, and of course better seats cost more. Prices for this year’s FSU-Bama, Florida-Michigan, and even Tech-Tennessee games are comparable or even higher.

The guarantees that come with these games easily eclipse the net revenue from a home-and-home with a comparable opponent. Michigan is walking away with $6 million for their 2017 opener against Florida. Again, that’s on top of whatever Michigan is bringing in from season ticket sales and priority donations. When Jeremy Foley talks about the “unique opportunity” of Florida playing in that game, he’s not talking about a chance to spend quality time with Jerry Jones. These schools might not have the sharpest knives in the drawer running the athletic department, but even they can do the math.

In an era of financial screw jobs, neutral site games are just one more way to stick it to the paying fan base, which seems more than willing to tolerate it.  As Groo asks in conclusion,

As for Jacksonville, until Georgia begins to take a noticeable hit from its own core fans about the quality of the home schedule, there’s just too much value in the neutral venue. If that backlash doesn’t happen with the rancid 2017 and 2018 home slates, will it ever?

I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

24 responses to “You can’t argue with the math.

  1. We were getting a crap 2017 schedule in exchange for the ND game in 2019. McGarity’s agreement to have us travel to Auburn on consecutive years has officially come home to roost.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul

    If the home schedule the last couple of years hasn’t caused massive drops in renewals it’s hard to imagine how bad things would have to get before ticket holders revolt. I haven’t even watched most of those games on TV much less bothered to show up in person.

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    • Russ

      LOL! That’s true. I listened to most of the Nichols game in the car while driving. Damned near wrecked the car, too.

      My GAS meter is running pretty low. I’m much more likely to record the game and maybe watch it later (or not, depending on the result).

      Like

  3. Macallanlover

    You get what you are willing to accept. It isn’t just Georgia, and it has little/nothing to do with Jacksonville, I have seen home schedules at Bama and TN that look just as bad as UGA’s 2017. You get what you are willing to accept, and so far, it hasn’t made any difference at UGA, or Bama. The other driver has been the lack of a guaranteed spot in the playoffs (and BCS) for conference champs as everyone runs from quality, competitive matchups. With 4 OOC games, it is pathetic that three of those aren’t high interest games for fans, imo.

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    • Chickamona

      For Tennessee, over any two year period, their season ticket holders are guaranteed to see Bama, Florida, Georgia, and one other SEC West team in Knoxville, plus the usual suspects in the East. Throw in some decent OOC teams like Oklahoma and Oregon, who they’ve played in recent years, and their season ticket package does offer a better schedule. Now, it also has offered pretty mediocre football for a while now, but the home schedule is consistently strong, at least.

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      • Indiana State
        UMass
        Georgia
        South Carolina
        Southern Miss
        LSU
        Vandy

        That’s your ’17 season ticket at UT.

        Like

      • And UF’s home slate in ’17:

        Northern Colorado
        Tennessee
        Vandy
        LSU
        A&M
        UAB
        FSU

        That’s a pretty good ticket.

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        • Mayor

          You left off UGA in JAX, FU’s second home and only 60 miles away from Gainesville. Improves an already pretty good “home” schedule for FU somewhat.

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          • Macallanlover

            What part of “neutral” don’t you understand? I get you want it changed, that’s your preference and everyone’s opinion is equal in that, but continually making a completely incorrect statement weakens any legit points you may actually have. Obsession has blinded you to reality.

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            • Mayor

              Playing FU in JAX is as “neutral” as playing Bama in Birmingham. Alcohol has blinded you to reality.

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              • Macallanlover

                With all the other guarantees in place that is offered in JAX, playing Bama in Birmingham would be “neutral”. You just don’t get how level the field is with exact same ticket offerings. The home field advantage in football is related to crowd differences, everything else is already neutralized in both of these examples. Nothing blind about that, feel free to invent something that disadvantages UGA in either of those situations. As stated before, only the Athens business owners lose something in the current situation, that’s the only valid complaint. You embarrass yourself with this distorted rationale.

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      • And Bama just so we’re all on the same page:

        Fresno State
        Colorado State
        Ole Miss
        Arkansas
        Tennessee
        LSU
        Mercer

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    • With Macallanlover on the teams doing this. It is not just UGA, it is all. My alma mater was one of the last to join the parade, but UDub has joined big time.
      My hopes for 4 OOC games of significance have long been dashed.
      As long as people buy and pay, it will stay the same, and my interest will continue to dwindle.

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  4. Bright Idea

    This new deal with Jacksonville makes no mention of parking. I don’t know the details but seeing the stadium lots filled with tents and tailgates instead of cars while the old shipyard is packed at $75 per space is my biggest problem with Jax. The Jacksonville Bulldog Club has historically controlled Georgia’s designated lot and they horde them for locals. Why can’t everybody with a priority to buy tickets get a space?

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  5. St. Johns Dawg

    The weak home schedule this year will certainly add to the immense pressure for Kirby to win the East. The howling for his head will likely be deafening If UGA loses one game in Athens. When was the last time we were undefeated at home in a season? I don’t have my media guide handy at the moment …

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  6. The 2018 schedule is an abomination. If it wasn’t for the 2019 home game with Notre Dame, would anyone renew? Even for the Auburn/Tech/Tennessee triple play?

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  7. Cousin Eddie

    Is it true that McG also requested in the new contract that only 1 of every three urinals and toilets be functional in the restrooms on the UGA side as a way to make the UGA fans feel more like a “home game”? He wanted a reduction in concessions staff but JAX wouldn’t go along as it would have a negative impact on revenue.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chico Dawg

    Since 1990 we are 6-19 in Jacksonville…that takes out the 2 games we got destroyed (in the home and home) while the Gator Bowl was being torn down. Maybe someday we will get an AD who cares about winning and get us out of this stupid game. But not today.

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  9. It makes money;
    It comes at a time I can use a fall break for sun and seafood;
    It is good for south Georgia fans;
    It is a great,long term tradition
    And J-ville is not the reason our record there has been poor lately…U of F has gotten better and we haven’t……or how do explain that we still have a winning record against those booger eating morons.
    The solution is to get better NOT move the game.

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  10. Mayor

    I get that Georgia makes a lot of money off the game in Jacksonville. That’s my point. B-M cares more about the money than it does about winning. Until we change that attitude UGA will always be operating at a disadvantage against teams that put winning above money.

    Like