Sounds like a plan, man.

I speculated a couple of weeks ago that one likely approach athletic directors might take in a future when financial growth began to top out would be to adopt a professional approach to their fan base.  The trend on the professional level is to shrink overall stadium seating in the newest stadium venues.  The goals in doing so are two-fold:  one, fewer overall seats means less supply, which means the value of those seats to the buying public increases; and, two, replacing general seating with premium seating is another way to enhance the per seat revenues.

Now, we may have our first canary in the coal mine chirp sounding from, of all places, Gainesville, Florida.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin has a long-term plan to give The Swamp a much-needed face-lift.

Stricklin wants to “find ways to upgrade the overall quality” of the fan experience inside the outdated football stadium.

He said there is some “low-hanging fruit” that could include improved wireless, an enhanced sound system and upgraded visual boards. He also said restrooms and concession stands would be remodeled throughout the facility.

But the biggest — and most expensive — part of the makeover would include revamped seating.

“There was a time when, probably when the north end zone (section) was done in the early ’90s, when seat count is all anyone cared about,” Stricklin said last week. “Just cram as many people as possible in there. Obviously that is not (the case) when you talk to people who do facilities and stadiums these days.

“That’s not as important as quality and making sure you’re creating an environment that people want to come and participate in. The days of fans being OK sitting three hours on a piece of aluminum, I think, are gone. So we’ve got to find ways to upgrade the overall quality.”

Florida’s last major renovation to The Swamp was completed in 2003. The $50 million expansion included the addition of 2,900 club seats and luxury suites. Little has been done inside Florida Field since.

Stricklin said part of the plan would be to aesthetically overhaul the 90,000-seat stadium, which could reduce capacity and create premium seating closer to the field.

What a coincidence… upgrading the overall quality and increasing revenues.  (From Strickland’s point of view, increasing revenues is upgrading the overall quality.)

The reason, by the way, that once upon a time seat count was what folks cared about most is because it was important to athletic directors to make sure that as much of the fan base could attend games as possible.  It’s nice that people who do facilities and stadiums these days are much more enlightened about what truly matters.

(h/t)

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36 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's Just Bidness

36 responses to “Sounds like a plan, man.

  1. Bright Idea

    That sounds like ripping out aluminum boards and replacing it with chairs. I wonder how many seats a 90,000 seat stadium would lose and how small the chairs would have to be to have any leg room? Would tiny chairs for 4, not 3, hours be better than the boards? Just askin’.

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  2. PharmDawg

    Stricklin described my expectations perfectly: The days of me spending 3 hours on an aluminum bench are over. I refuse to pay money to be inconvenienced. I’m very content with my virtual Sky Suite in Section HD.

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    • Agree. Nothing beats Section HD.

      I see UGA play UK here in Lexington every 2 years because a friend of mine is in a group that rents a box so I watch from there. I’m too old and tv is too good to watch from the stands and deal with all that BS.

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  3. Some guy

    So bored with this soap box. Can you talk more about football instead of politics or economics? The narrative is tired and your minions are the only ones interested.

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    • And yet you keep posting to complain. Perhaps you’re not as bored as you try to sound.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        People always find time to whine.

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        • The “more football posts” is a dead giveaway. The real complaint is that I don’t agree with his world view. Sad!

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          • jhorne2000

            Surely it’s legitimate to enjoy a product greatly but also complain about nuances that you don’t like about it, right ?

            I’d hate for anyone to ever dismiss an otherwise legitimate complaint about UGA football simply because the complainer continues to consume and enjoy the product.

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            • Considering you don’t pay anything for the privilege of reading the Senator’s blogs, you really don’t have a right to complain about what the good Senator seems newsworthy and interesting for discussion.

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              • jhorne2000

                That’s an easy place to go. My way or the highway. Of course he can post what he wants! He’s in control of the blog!

                I was making a larger point that it’s fair to have criticism of something you love. This very blog drives that point home nearly every day! (Not to criticize, I love this place)

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                • Criticize on the arguments … that’s completely in bounds and the point of a blog. The comments aren’t meant to be an echo chamber.

                  To say you wish someone wouldn’t post on a particular subject, that’s like telling someone who invited you to dinner that their menu choices could be improved and aren’t your tastes.

                  If there are subjects you aren’t interested in, don’t read them.

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            • Surely it’s legitimate to enjoy a product greatly but also complain about nuances that you don’t like about it, right ?

              I’d hate for anyone to ever dismiss an otherwise legitimate complaint about UGA football simply because the complainer continues to consume and enjoy the product.

              I assume this is a clever attempt at pointing out some hypocrisy on my part by somebody who also has a bone to pick with my criticism of B-M.

              Except for that I haven’t misled this guy, or taken money from him, it’s spot on. Color me ashamed.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      You really can’t connect the dots between seats in a stadium and the game played in the stadium?

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  4. Why do all of this when you can just increase the prices by 30%+ when you have a good season? Eventually, these guys are going to figure out the goose is on life support and they can either cut back on the waterfalls, the $10k lockers or the bloated payrolls to save the goose or keep her on life support for one more yield of golden eggs? Who am I kidding? This bunch of idiots will say open her up we’ll find another goose. The problem will be instead of golden eggs … this one will crap all over everything like geese tend to do.

    These dummies don’t understand that the typical college sports fan doesn’t want the pro sports experience (otherwise, I would be a ticket holder of one of the pro franchises). I want value for my entertainment dollar. I want to be able to park where I want legally without a mile walk each way and where I can tailgate if I so desire. I don’t care about a seat back other than before the game, at halftime and during those damn TV timeouts. We stand for most of the game anyway. I don’t need a cup holder at my seat. I want easily accessible concessions and clean bathrooms for my kids. I want safe entry and exit from the stadium. I would love to be able to get out of Athens without feeing like I need a full gas tank when I park.

    I don’t give a damn about WiFi, ribbon boards that all they do is advertise anyway, or the music. Just give me a product on the field and the fan experience that’s worth my money. Kirby seems to be delivering on the former … the AA is clearly sucking at the latter.

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    • Russ

      Well, I’m a 1000 miles away from Athens so it doesn’t really matter what I think, but I agree 100% with you. I don’t want a pro experience at a college game. I want marching bands, cheerleaders, and a crisp game played in 3+ hours. Pro football doesn’t really interest me. That’s the main reason why I was happy to spend my dollars for the Rose Bowl and skip the Super…er, NC Game. I didn’t care for all the extraneous crap including the halftime “entertainment” (which was outside the stadium-sort of a giveaway on who’s really driving the show). Just line up, say a few words, and get after it.

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      • Bulldog Joe

        Those of us in MBS were entertained by the marching bands, with only a brief after-show ‘highlight’ on the overhead ring of what was going on in the park.

        The Redcoats did their Allman Brothers tribute. The Alabama band lost a band member that morning and did a very somber, emotional show.

        With the exception of the game officiating, the on-field events were well-done. The problems were in the concourses, the gates, and in the stations.

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  5. waterloodawg

    Well, if they are worried about aesthetics orange should be the first thing to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I am not going to pretend that I prefer alluminum bleachers to seats. As someone who sits somewhere different, among different fans, every time I am in Sanford, I would like to point out that most people these days are fat and take up too much space.

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    • I don’t prefer aluminum bleachers over seats. I just know they aren’t used nearly as much as anyone thinks. This year was the first in a number of years I didn’t rent seat backs. I didn’t really miss it.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        I get the seatbacks mostly to keep people from infringing on my space. I would like it better if they were a little cleaner. I still have mildew on a pair of pants I got from the seats the first game two years ago. These are now the ones I wear to games.

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        • dawgfan

          If you have problems with your seatback go to their customer rep site in the stadium and they will send someone to replace it. My seatback was soaking wet (holding water like a sponge) and they came right away and replaced.

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  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    “Much more enlightened”. Nicely done.

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  8. ATL Dawg

    It will be interesting to see what changes are made to the current Hartman Fund setup in 2019 and 2020. You know it’s coming.

    My guess is that over the next few years we’re looking at continued substantial ticket price increases combined with lower donation requirements. And different ticket prices based on seat location. Don’t know how all that would get meshed with the current setup but they’ll come up with something. And these changes would better position them to start implementing more premium seating options.

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  9. Kevin

    Those quotes regarding “improving the fan experience on game day” are the type of quotes you hear when you’re program is losing.

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  10. Bulldog Joe

    They’re already doing a fine job in Gainesville.

    Best way to improve that place was to get rid of the Gator fans.

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  11. W Cobb Dawg

    I’d actually hoped we would see a return to more students attending games, and forego the race-to-the-most-posh-stadium exercise the nfl pushes on their fans and local governments. Just fix the restrooms and concessions, and do a better job of directing traffic.

    No doubt the luxurious improvements Stricklin imagines will need student athletic fees as the basis for financial projections. And of course this all depends on not paying the players.

    I’m telling ya, we’re f#*king our youth over on a daily basis. Student fees, student loans, and don’t get me started on govt tax breaks for the rich. Kids are already foregoing cars and homes, and reconsidering or putting off having their own families. All this to serve a small number of wealthy people who never stop grasping for more.

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  12. JasonC

    This is what I can tell you from 92-95. The most imposing place to play was the Swamp. I don’t know if it was the north end or not, but it was a hostile wall of sound (that would make Phil Spector blush). While Bama fans showed up earlier and Tennessee was bigger, it was Florida that was louder and more hostile.

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  13. AusDawg85

    …because it was important to athletic directors to make sure that as much of the fan base could attend games as possible.

    I’m not sure a race to cram as many butts on bleachers as they could in the original arms race of revenue (increased stadium capacity) was with a heartfelt desire to help more fans see the game. Since OK and UGA went to court, it’s been a hyper focus about the $$$$.

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  14. PTC DAWG

    I don’t ever plan on setting foot in their shit box stadium.

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  15. Macallanlover

    Refreshing to see an AD acknowledge customer concerns like clean restrooms, comfortable seating closer to the field, wifi, better sound system, etc. are important, doable, and reasonable to provide. Stricklin is also right to move to sacrifice seating and provide better seat options, no one is going to need stadiums with the current seating capacity as we move forward. Fewer seats, higher prices, and more attention to the perks. Florida’s guy has his eyes looking forward, imo. McGarity is both tone deaf and blind.

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    • MHPDawg

      McGarity IS both tone deaf and blind. It is sickening! We’ll be fine so long as we are winning 11-12 games per year in football. But, McG’s lack of leadership across all aspects of the athletic program is going to be magnified the next “down” year in football. It makes me throw up in my mouth every time I think about the UF AD having a better ear to the rail than our guy.

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