In fact, demand for tickets for this game is even greater than we witnessed last year when Georgia took over Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. The cut-off score for UGA donors to qualify to buy LSU tickets was 99,000 points, according to McGarity. Basically, that means one would have to donate a total of $99,000 over the years to qualify for tickets through UGA’s priority distribution system for this game. The cut-off for Notre Dame tickets last year was “in the 70s (thousands),” McGarity said.
“So it’s a higher demand this time,” McGarity said. “Having fewer tickets makes a difference, too.”
UGA received 6,000 tickets in its ticket swap with LSU, which seats 102,321 in Tiger Stadium. The Bulldogs got 8,400 from Notre Dame for its 80,000-seat stadium last September.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. And there’s a lot of gotta in our fan base these days, especially compared to others.
At present, Georgia’s fan base appears to be one of the most mobile and motivated in the SEC. Thanks to last year’s successes — which included a run to the SEC championship and the College Football Playoff finals — the Bulldog Nation remains excited about the potential of its team at a time when overall attendance is down. Visiting fan travel is markedly down.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt returned huge portions of their ticket allotments for Sanford Stadium, Florida used only 2,500 of its allotment at Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium earlier this year and LSU did the same last week when the Tigers went to Florida.
Even traditional powerhouses programs such as Alabama doesn’t appear to be bringing as many fans on the road. Perhaps they’re jaded — or maybe broke — from the Crimson Tide’s long succession of championship seasons. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs continue to maximize their tickets allotments, even at Missouri earlier this season.
“I think we are separating ourselves from our peers when it comes to traveling to road games,” McGarity said. “Whenever we play a Western (division) opponent, we always travel well, and that’s definitely the case here. We haven’t been to LSU in a decade, so Georgia fans are eager to get back.”
This comes at a time when visiting team ticket lots are shrinking. SEC teams used to have to guarantee the visitor 10,000 seats. That number is now 6,000 and is expected to continue to decrease.
“Schools are weighing whether to sell seats late that are returned from a bock as opposed to lowering the number in the blocks and offering more opportunities for your own fans,” McGarity said.
Another canary in the coal mine? Probably. Does McGarity realize how fortunate he is to have a fan base bucking that trend? Probably. Nothing like making hay while the sun shines.