Stop making sense

Chick-fil-A Bowl chairman Gary Stokan explains why neutral site openers are the logical way to go.  You’ll be shocked, shocked by his reasoning.

“I believe that college football should keep its intersectional rivalries, should keep its home-and-home,” Stokan said. “But on the other side, if you’re looking at potentially getting into an area where you want to recruit, where your alumni are, where a financial windfall can take place. In the case of the ACC and the SEC it works because you have four conference games at home, with four non-conference games to schedule. They build their budget on seven home games, so as long as you can schedule seven home games, you’ve made your budget. Now you’ve got one game to schedule. And if you can schedule it in Atlanta and make $5 million, where you net $3 million for a home game, that $2 million is a win. For your recruiting base, coming to Atlanta is a win. Playing in front of 30,000 of your fans is a win. So there’s no real down side.

“It’s harder to do home-and-home, because when you play the away game part of that, you don’t make any money. So if you can do like Nick Saban has done and go neutral-neutral, $5 million one year and $4 million the next year, that’s $5-6 million more than you would have made playing a home-and-home. Do I believe in home-and-home? Most definitely. That’s how college football was built. But when you get an opportunity to play in one of these neutral site games and get a financial and recruiting windfall and where your alumni are, I think it makes sense.”

Tell that to the fans who have to pay full freight for a season ticket package and the inflated ticket cost for one of these mega games, all for the privilege of not seeing their team play at home.  Such a deal.

Advertisements

91 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

91 responses to “Stop making sense

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    The last paragraph makes a point, but since when do the fans have any input into scheduling? Maybe when they run out of money?

    Like

  2. Bob

    Hey it works. Bama hasn’t played a true out of conference Road game in almost a decade. I don’t like it…prefer a mix of these games and something like the ND-UGA series, but a neutral site game still beats playing Samford. I think part of the great fun of college football was the allure of going to play at Clemson or Arizona State or Notre Dame. I hate that we are losing that. The result is the home schedule we have this year.

    Like

    • Stoopnagle

      You know, I will take this year’s schedule (on the whole) and even next year’s abysmal schedule IF I get a home-and-home out of region and a neutral site game against a P5. So, like now, we get to go to ND this year, we get crap next year (OOC wise), we get ND here in ’19, UVA at MBS in ’20, then crap in ’21, then hopefully start all over again leading up to the UCLA home-and-home in ’25/’26 (if that even happens).

      I tell ya: UGA’s 2nd largest alumni club is in DC, it’s 3rd in NYC. Why we aren’t trying to do one-off’s with Syracuse or Maryland at MetLife or FedEx Field is curious. We travel like mad for these things (see: Arizona State in ’08 and Colorado in ’10). We’ll be swarming Chicago in two months.

      Like

      • PTC DAWG

        Nobody wants to go play a one off game in shitty weather up north…it’s about getting in front of recruits in their area…in a huge game…like Bama/FSU…

        Like

        • Charlottedawg

          As someone who lives in the northeast, September and October up here are gorgeous and I will go as far as to say superior to 90 plus degree days for a noon kickoff in Sanford. Chicago this year against Notre dame will be similar. Now as far as getting in front of recruits, no argument there….

          Like

          • PTC DAWG

            ND home and home is fine…same with Michigan or OSU for that matter…

            Like

          • 3rdandGrantham

            I agree — GA native now living in upper mid-Atlantic region who prefers warmer weather mostly. IMO the weather here trumps GA weather up until early Nov. or so, perhaps mid November as the fall weather here is awesome. That encompasses about all but about the last few weeks of the entire season.

            Like

          • Macallanlover

            Agree, weather is not an issue at all, it is actually better. Getting a big name match up in the Northeast would actually help UGA, not only with the national audience but we have gotten some talent from NJ, and now NY, recently. They pretty much only have ND, Syracuse, State Penn, and BC currently as large groups who identify with D1 CFB programs; UGA could become a fan favorite with many unaffiliated CFB fans. I see no downside to an occasional neutral site in a location like Giants Stadium.

            Like

            • Bob

              Concur with this. But if we aren’t doing something like that, lets play Army in a 2 for 1 deal. Its a class University and while we obviously should win all three, it would be a fun matchup. And believe me, if you have ever been to a game at West Point, you wouldn’t forget it. The post seeps history and it is less than an hour from NYC. I bet West Point would take us up on that in a heart beat.

              Like

              • Macallanlover

                As much as I hate the triple option teams as an opponent, that would be worth pursuing. Sure beats the Austin Peays and Samfords of the world. Should have also added Swift and Webb to the list of players we have gotten from the NE recently. Opening a door into PA could pay dividends.

                Like

      • Why aren’t we trying to do one offs in DC or NYC? Because Syracuse and Maryland blow. Going to play some Yankee 2nd tier program so maybe a couple thousand Dawg fans can watch them play in their backyard doesn’t really make sense.

        Now, if it was Pedo State U we were playing up there that might be a different story.

        Like

    • Otto

      Agreed with Bama making the neutral site game work, and you could argue it is a key component to Saban’s success. He plays in front of Georgia, Florida, and Texas talent on national TV, 3 of the 4 producers of the most talent. I like the model of 8 SEC games, GT, and 1 P5 out of conference game. I would like a mix of neutral site games and home and aways for the P5 out of conf. game.

      Part of the allure is the less frequent road trip, ND or LSU which UGA didn’t play for a decade at a time. If you go further back neutral site games were part of the college football landscape but fell out of favor as on campus stadiums grew in size and teams didn’t view being on a railway hub as criteria. The move away from neutral sites was because of money and now the move back is as well.

      Like

      • dawgfan

        Don’t give Bama too much credit. Alabama has a huge scheduling advantage over UGA in that they don’t have to schedule an out of conference rival every year (Ga Tech) and don’t have an annual neutral site game (Jax). It seems we can have the tradition of Tech and Jax OR we can have decent out of conference scheduling with decent home schedules but not both.

        Like

    • stan

      Bama played at Penn State in 2011.

      Like

      • Bob

        Right. Since 2000, they have played a total of 4 road games against Power 5 teams. Oklahoma, UCLA, Duke and PSU. Georgia does that in 2 to 3 years. After this year we will have played 15 in the same time period. And of course that doesn’t include 17 road games against Florida.

        Like

  3. JCDAWG83

    Money drives every decision in college football. Once you accept that it is much easier to make sense of everything that happens.

    Like

    • Yep … I know why the Atlanta Sports Council does it, but it’s not something that helps us. It gives other power programs exposure in the Georgia recruiting market. Other than the money, there is no value to Georgia’s participation in the CFA game.

      Like

    • PTC DAWG

      It started here…more games on TV is the big upside…and money..

      “The era ended June 27, 1984, when the U.S. Supreme Court, affirming lower-court decisions in an antitrust lawsuit filed almost three years earlier by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and the University of Georgia Athletic Board, effectively stripped the NCAA of authority over football TV contracts. The ruling allowed each school or conference to cut its own deal.”

      Like

    • dawgman3000

      Yes…..yes it does JC.

      Sincerely,
      Greg McGarity

      Like

  4. paul

    If the choices are Austin Peay at home or a real game in the Dome, I’ll take the Dome every time. It’s worth the extra money to see an actual game. Cupcakes suck.

    Like

    • JCDAWG83

      One issue with the real game in the neutral site is the huge downside of a loss to a legit opponent in the CFP picture. As long as there is the beauty pageant/committee aspect of the CFP, programs will be hesitant to schedule too many legit out of conference opponents. If the CFP pitted conference champs against each other and did away with a selection committee I think you would see many more compelling out of conference matchups.

      Like

      • Stoopnagle

        I don’t know. I think you’d get the opposite. Why schedule OOC P5 if winning your league gets you in? Why risk beating yourself up for the games that matter?

        I think the system now, where you can win your league but have to look good doing it because some league champ is getting left out, would do more to encourage having a quality OOC win under your belt to look prettier than, say, Oklahoma.

        Like

      • Otto

        I think you would see compelling out of conf match ups go completely away other than in state rivals as there would be little incentive other than recruiting to play out of conference. UGA has no need to schedule out of conference to visit recruiting areas, and would make more money with fans buying an Austin Pea ticket as part of a season package. The only thing to come from a visit to Arizona over a home cup cake would be more injuries and lost revenue

        Like

        • JCDAWG83

          I guess I’m thinking more of the old Clemson rivalry or games against UNC or UVA being more likely. A team wouldn’t have to travel across the country to have good out of conference matchups.

          As to injuries, those happen no matter who the opponent is. I recall losing Massaquai or Green or some top wide receiver for the UF game because he was in on kickoff return duty against a cupcake and got hurt.

          Like

          • Otto

            Agreed it can happy any game but is less likely to happen when the 3rd string in during the 3rd qtr.

            I don’t see Clemson coming back under the conf. champs model. I could see more big out of conference games if the playoff moved to 6 with the Top 2 getting a 1st round bye.

            The neutral site games are making a come back thanks to sponsors upping the payout combined with teams fighting for recruits. Ole Miss and LSU need Texas talent to win the SEC and as such are happy to play a Big12 team in Houston or Dallas. Bama wants Ga, Fl, or Texas talent.

            Like

    • Macallanlover

      +1 Exactly, and as Bob said above, you can have both better home games and a big neutral site. The season schedule went from 10-12 games a year and the consumer (fan) got nothing out of it…except higher costs. Go to nine conference games, add better home and home games against Top 25 opponents, and sprinkle in a top match-up occasionally in the opener at a neutral site. Better entertainment for fans, and more exposure for your program.

      Have to give credit to McElwain yesterday when asked if he inherited the opening game against Michigan this year or was stuck with it. He said he asked for it and felt it was great for CFB to see top programs play each other in games like the ones in Dallas and Atlanta this Labor Day weekend. Good on him, Florida certainly needed some improvement in openers, think they have won 27 straight. Most every team needs to look at how to upgrade the experience for fans because cupcakes do suck.

      Like

      • Otto

        Florida has done the opposite of Bama,, maximize home revenue, and schedule in state take the easiest path to an undefeated season. It has worked to Florida’s credit, a built rivalry with FSU gives a little weight to their schedule and undefeated SEC season is often enough to get in the championship game.

        However, if you look at the recruiting board it also makes sense with Florida producing talent by comparison Bama has to recruit out of state.

        Like

    • Go Dawgs!

      But those aren’t the only choices, of course.

      Like

  5. Bigshot

    You hit the spot. Neutral site games are a burden to the fan.

    Like

    • Stoopnagle

      I don’t completely agree with that. They certainly are for me because I live 10 miles from Sanford Stadium. But most of our alumni live in Metro Atlanta, so I have to think getting to the Dome (or MBS) is an easier day for someone from Cobb Co. than getting all the way to Athens on 316 and its oppressive parking situation, etc. etc.

      Like

      • Otto

        Agreed, I purchased tickets to UNC at a great price and it was easier to get to and from the game.

        Like

      • Part of the appeal of these home and home series is getting to visit a new place. Stillwater was kind of nice, but the game sucked, Boulder was great, but the games sucked. Still visiting those places is worth it.

        Like

    • PTC DAWG

      Better roads, much better/ more of them lodging options at most neutral site games, ATL and Dallas for sure…I disagree..

      Like

      • Otto

        I see a game in Orlando as more fitting for UGA. It is a quick drive with obvious options to make it combine as an end of summer vacation for UGA fans. I would likely go and stay on the beach driving over for the game.

        It gets UGA a game in an area that it recruits heavily. UGA has had success recruiting Texas but Florida is the bigger target.

        Like

        • PTC DAWG

          The superior facilities that ATL offers is a big recruiting draw for participating schools…

          IMHO UGA plays enough neutral site games in FL.

          Like

          • Otto

            It isn’t facilities for the recruits, it is the media exposure which the talking heads will talk about during the off season, and all the recruits hear on twitter and ESPN.

            Like

            • PTC DAWG

              So you don’t think Bama sells to recruits playing in Jerry World or the new Benz Stadium in ATL? We disagree here.

              Like

              • Otto

                It isn’t the facilities they are selling the Jerry World on, it is the media exposure they receive from playing a high profile game.

                Further the benefit is on the front end and the back end. The recruits, like most of us, look forward to the season beginning and will watch the big games so they are interested without the program initiating contact, and then yes the program can market “you too can play on national TV on opening weekend”.

                It isn’t the locker room of the Jerry World or the state of the stadium. It could be the old Orange Bowl if it were standing or the vacated Chargers stadium in San Diego, if you could get a prime TV slot on national TV against a team that generates publicity. LSU played in Green Bay not exactly a glamorous city but it has history which creates press.

                Like

                • PTC DAWG

                  IF we all agreed all the time, it would be boring…although you make some good points.

                  I will say that if UGA wins big, the neutral site games will become more of a thing. As others have said, having GT and the game in Jax on the schedule make it harder for UGA for sure.

                  Like

                  • Otto

                    You also have good points. I think the facilities is more a draw for the fans who would be interested in seeing what the Jerry Dome is and it does all snowball together.

                    I also agree that the WLOCP and GT does limit UGA more than some of our rivals especially the ones who do not have an annual out of conf. game. UGA should schedule the away trip for home and aways or neutral site games on the years that GT comes to Athens.

                    Like

                    • dawgfan

                      The old argument was that we had to have at least six games in Athens each year for the ticket revenue and to boost the local economy. We may be at the point with TV money that these things are not such a big deal. I could easily seeing the current administration going to fewer than six home games if the price was right on a neutral site game.

                      Like

                    • Otto

                      I am not denying it is possible but even McG knows there is a minimum when ticket holders view their donation as not worth what they are getting. You read it in comments here every time it comes up.

                      Another reason why I bring up Miami as out an out of conference game (if Richt wasn’t there), is they don’t sell out their home games. It would not surprise me to see UGA fans have 2/3rd to 3/4th of the stadium in Miami. It may not be a home game but the fans could attend and likely for a decent price.

                      Like

  6. MGW

    At what point does that dip in required hartman fund points outweigh that $2M neutral site perk?

    Like

  7. Go Dawgs!

    Concern for the fans? How quaint.

    Like

  8. Bright Idea

    Maybe Georgia will get good enough to play a opener at a neutral site somewhere other than ATL one day and we’ll find out whether we really like it or not. Of course we have the annual trip to J’ville.

    Like

  9. ugamelt

    We’re being taken for a ride again.

    Like

  10. AusDawg85

    Wait…did he just say it’s about the money?

    Like

  11. The Georgia Way

    Rest assured, we are already in front of this and are always looking for opportunities to move our home games out of Athens.

    Frankly, we prefer to collect the proceeds and have cities like Atlanta and Jacksonville deal with you people, keeping our campus pristine. Holding more ticket deposits for fewer seats is a core financial growth strategy dating all the way back to our 1892 game in Piedmont Park. This is why the noon home game is always option 2.

    In these areas, no one approaches the track record of The Georgia Way and it is yet another Bulldog Point of Pride!

    #KEEPINGOURCAMPUSPRISTINE #COMMITTOTHEG

    Like

    • Otto

      Bama, LSU, Florida and TN are all opening on neutral sites. Auburn and UGA are the only teams that are considered a contender to win a divisions opening up on Campus.

      Like

  12. Mayor

    Senator, I feel the need to point out that basically everything Gary Stokan of the Chick-fil-A Bowl said that you just criticized and labeled as self-serving bullshit is virtually identical to the arguments YOU have put forth on this blog in support of keeping the WLOCP in JAX. Hypocrisy thy true name is Blutarsky.

    Like

    • Mayor, I knew as I typed the post that it was inevitable you would respond in that nail, meet hammer way.

      And you know what? Other than that the WLOCP has more than an eighty-year tradition, isn’t scheduled as a one-of-a-kind game and offers the opportunity for Dawg fans in south Georgia to have the short drive, you’re totally spot on.

      Bless your heart.

      Like

    • Macallanlover

      The WLOOCP is soooo much more than just another neutral site game that it doesn’t even belong in the discussion with “one and done” neutral games. Sorry you have missed all that in your blindness to the unique, enviable JAX situation. That is surprising given your longevity as a fan and closeness to the situation. But it doesn’t change the fact you will remain in the minority in any rational discussion of it…fortunately.

      Like

  13. jtp03

    Four conference games at home he says? Not us every other year.

    7 home games he says? Not nearly often enough for us.

    Move the Florida out of Jacksonville and we can be as creative as we want to be with scheduling.

    Like

    • Otto

      Disagree, keep the WLOCP in Jax and open it up to hosting recruits.

      Like

      • PTC DAWG

        I think the recruits would love it

        Like

        • Otto

          I have been to all of UGA rivals at home, GT, TN and Auburn away, the WLOCP in Jax and in Athens, Tiger Bowl in both stadiums, Iron Bowl at Bama 2010, UT / S Carolina with SOS in Knoxville Halloween night etc. and nothing is like the WLOCP for energy around the game. Iron Bowl was 2nd but the fan bases did not interact at all before or after the game.

          Like

          • Macallanlover

            It is a great tradition and unthinkable that we would ever give it up under the circumstances it is currently played (neutral in every way and revenue positive.)

            Like

  14. Southernlawyer11

    I think every team has a different strategic goal regarding the neutral site game. My thoughts:
    1. UGA should basically only be concerned with playing “defense” in regards to our home turf and the Atlanta opener. How much we push our way into that game, I’m not certain.
    2. Piggybacking on #1, and given our schedule complexities, I don’t think we should ever play outside of ATL in a neutral opener. Put the fence around your state and hike your leg on your own turf. That trumps anything you will ever get out of an Orlando in the long run.
    3. It’s hard for me to understand how much the location really matters vs. who the 2 teams playing each other are. Especially in 2017….. if UGA is playing FSU in the opener, the game is going to receive just as much pre-season hype and TV eyeballs whether it’s in ATL or Athens.
    4. Who is this recruit who is going to be swayed by you coming in to the Dome vs. having the same game in Athens ?
    5. I suppose the only advantage is for you to be able to entertain recruits for a big non-conference game EVERY YEAR, where you would not be able to do that if you had to play a return game in a home-and-home.
    6. The no recruiting in Jacksonville is such a beta-level giveaway on our part. That is an ABSOLUTE GIFT to Florida to which they give up very little. Which goes to my point about Atlanta and us really only needing to play “territorial defense”…….which is what florida is doing in Jax. It really doesn’t hurt them to not recruit there that one weekend.

    Like

    • Southernlawyer11

      So basically we DO PLAY that big neutral site game every year (albeit, a divisional game), but UNLIKE Alabama, who can recruit it every year, we get to recruit it. . . NEVER. THE GEORGIA WAY.

      Like

      • Otto

        I made the same point about the Dome having little impact on a recruit as they would travel to Athens as well. A game in Atlanta can be argued as a defensive move against the Bamas and TNs of the world to lock down the borders. It would be nice to see more early season P5 home and away games scheduled.

        A high profile opener in the state of Florida could benefit the program. I have posted in the past if Richt wasn’t at Miami, I would be for a home/away or a neutral site game against them in Orlando. Miami always has some press around them and UGA loves to recruit Florida. Orlando is a great place to target Tampa, Volusia county, and even some south Georgia athletes. South Georgia is very much a battle ground with FSU, UF, and Auburn being closer to them.

        Like

    • Southernlawyer11

      A bully athletic director worth his paycheck would threaten cancellation of the Jacksonville series unless it was opened up to hosting recruits. If Florida doesn’t cave, it only illustrates the built-in advantage they perceive themselves to have.

      Imagine Alabama agreeing to (1) playing LSU in the superdome every single year while (2) also agreeing to not host recruits in said game. I love the tradition of GAFLA, but that is absolutely a accurate comparison.

      Like

      • Otto

        Disagree for years if not Jax was the largest Bulldog club outside of the state, and it is convenient for the South Georgia alums. Jax is also close to the South Georgia power house High School programs. New Orleans is not closer to any in state Bama alum.

        Like

        • southernlawyer11

          I’d like to see a regression analysis projecting the number of South Georgia alums 10-20-30 years out. And the same for millenials who won’t make Hartman contributions but will maintain that St. Simons condo (admittedly that may have less correlation).

          Nonetheless, i love the idea of Jacksonville and, as of now, would vote to keep it (if i had a vote). But acting like there are no legitimate reasons for debating the locale is disingenuous. Not saying your exact point ^^above was… just, in general.

          Like

      • Otto

        *if not now

        Like

      • dawgfan

        I’m thankful we haven’t had recruits in Jacksonville to see us mostly get our ass handed to us over the past 25 years. A half empty stadium by the fourth quarter isn’t a very effective recruiting tool.

        Like

        • Otto

          It is amazing how defeatist the fan base has become over Jax. and something I am ashamed of even more so than the losses. SOS flipped it when he arrived, a good coach can do the same for UGA. The energy at kick off is still there, and a coach could sell the recruit on being the class to change the series resulting in the fans staying the entire game.

          Like