I wanna rock and roll all night, and college football every day.

Just fucking shoot me. Right now.

College football attendance is at its lowest point in 22 years, and a 34-year-old Virginia Tech administrator has an idea how to goose it.


Yes, KISS, the face-painted classic rock band that is on yet another farewell tour fronted by 69-year-old lead singer Gene Simmons.

Brad Wurthman went to his first KISS show at age 11. He was hooked by the music, the pyrotechnics, and — lately as VT’s senior associate athletic director for external relations — the entire presentation.

“I joke with people, ‘This is how I got into the marketing side,'” Wurthman said. “I wasn’t an athlete. For me, at least, the fundamental [way] how you run an event is the way KISS runs a show.”

Wurthman went to describe the anticipation built by the band’s introduction hype video on the jumbotron — KISS walking from dressing room to stage — and the same old songs that are the foundation of classic rock radio.

Yeah, they rock the house. They could also lead a morning athletic department staff meeting.

“It is,” Wurthman concluded, “quintessential sports marketing.”

That’s not even the saddest thing about Dennis Dodd’s article.  Sadder is that there isn’t a single mention, even a half-hearted one, about upgrading scheduling to attract and retain fans.

The saddest thing of all, though, is the air of resignation.

“The reality is that the national attendance numbers are going to continue to go down,” Bulls AD Mike Kelly said, “mainly due to the comparative social and leisure experiences that can now be had outside the football stadium even if those experiences still center around the game itself.”

The issue doesn’t end with students.

“We’re competing more than ever before against the television product we helped create,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “There’s no line at the restroom, the beer is always cold [at home]. You don’t have to invest 8 hours going to the stadium. There’s no parking fees. You don’t have to pay seat license, and on your 70-inch TV it’s a pretty good viewing experience.”

That’s the sound of a man who knows Mickey’s footing the bills now.  And that’s why this is the future of live attendance:

Another is stadium renovation. There is a push to build smaller stadiums in order to create a premium — higher demand — ticket.

That explains USC, which fell off in attendance by more than 17,000 in 2018. The school is in the middle of a renovation that drops capacity from 93,000 to 77,500.

It’s easier to be fan friendly when there are less fans to be friendly with.

Here’s your clueless epitaph, college football game day experience.

“When you look at the work we put in, it’s remarkable to me how slow our industry is to put change on the overall game day experience,” Martin said.

The work they put in… jeebus.

“[Professional sports] just had the changeover sooner than we did,” Wurthman said. “We lost sight of the fact it’s supposed to be a sense of camaraderie. Saturdays are supposed to be an escape.”

One of Wurthman’s great regrets is that his 17-month-old son won’t get to experience how it all started for him.

KISS — it’s hard to rock n’ roll all night, never mind party every day — has a retirement looming.

“As a band, they had it figured out,” he said. “It wasn’t about selling records. It was after the show they sold records [because of the audience experience].

“We try to sell records first.”

Like I said, just shoot me now.



Filed under College Football

42 responses to “I wanna rock and roll all night, and college football every day.

  1. Dawg1

    “It’s easier to be fan friendly when there are less fans to be friendly with.”

    Very true.

    The 600 level was a mistake IMO.


    • The 600 level was never intended to be a Georgia fan seating area. That section of seats was built to be able to expand the number of season tickets in the 100 and 300 levels and to provide additional student seating. Before the 600 level, the west end of the field was practically a home field advantage for visiting fans.

      The problem is visiting allotments have gone down or are being returned. Therefore, there is too much capacity up there. The west end zone project in its current form would not have been possible without the 600 level.


      • Macallanlover

        I have never understood why we provide visiting tickets bunched into one area. Why not take their 5-8K tickets and and scatter them so their is no one area where they can “bond” and celebrate/cheer. Must a requirement from the SEC, otherwise put 2-4 tickets as a grouping all around distant portions of the stadium and drown them out. They would be much less rowdy if placed 100 feet apart.


        • I think it’s a requirement from the conference or in the contract with an out of conference opponent.


          • Otto

            Likely and now the visiting fans which are close to the field are mostly Athletic Department tickets which are mostly family of the team. The average season ticket hold is in the upper levels, for the most part.

            Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG



  2. The Black Irish

    I’ll give it to Kiss… they are marketing geniuses. They also come off as kind of greedy. I guess providing a great fan experience and squeezing money from fans aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe that’s the way to go if people are leaving the event happy. There is definitely a lesson for college football.

    I do remember reading that they would play a different guitar for each song of the show. They would sign them. Then you got to take a picture with the band after the show with them holding the guitar you were buying. All for 25 grand. There would be a line of people.


    • KornDawg

      They most definitely sell their instruments after the show to whomever will pay the exorbitant prices. I’m not a KISS fan, they’re more salesmen than they are a band, but I’m a rock fan so I hear a lot about them. Apparently, if you want to buy Paul Stanley’s guitar, you have to add another 3K or so for the strap. And Gene is selling the sword he uses nightly for the part of the show where he breathes fire. We’re talking about a band that sells air guitar strings, so nothing surprises me.


  3. timphd

    They have sold their souls to Mickey and there seems no turning back. While parking, concessions, etc. impact on my willingness to go to a game, there are two major factors they seem to be missing: good games sell out (see the price for Notre Dame on the secondary market) and knowing kickoff times allow you to make travel plans. Both those things are fixable if they really want to. Instead of blaming the fans for not showing up, produce a better product and we will be there. No more Directional College of Louisiana at noon.


  4. DavetheDawg

    KISS…the most overrated bar band in the history of everything. Actually, that’s an affront to bar bands. Mea Culpa.


  5. Gaskilldawg

    The nugget of gold in that article was the University of Texas guy criticizing in stadium commercials. He pointed out that no fan ever expressed an interest in them.
    Has any Georgia fan ever found that the electronic ribbons on the facade of the second deck “enhanc[ed their] game day experience “ as a Georgia AD promised they would?


  6. sniffer

    In ‘85, I picked up two tickets from a fellow member of the Central Florida Bulldog Club for Ga-Fl. I met him in the lot where busses were loading up for the trip to Jax. As we were making the exchange, I said something along the lines of, “we’re gonna whip their asses today”. He smiled, looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if to say,
    “I dont care”. I couldn’t imagine not being in a frenzy for the game and here’s a guy that casually didn’t care. He was probably 70 and I was 26. Old man, I’m nearly where you were then. I bearly care myself anymore.


  7. 79Dawg

    And no mention of the awesome brochure some of us got in the mail yesterday about the “exciting, super-dooper new and shiny” online seat relocation program??? Opt in now and you too can score 4 lower level seats if you have a score about 50,000!
    Seriously, I appreciate the transparency, but the numbers on there just keep pointing me to the inescapable conclusion that the bubble is going to pop, bigtime, soon – they just seem unsustainable…


  8. Mick Jagger

    “When you look at the work we put in, it’s remarkable to me how slow our industry is to put change on the overall game day experience,” Martin said.

    Hell, I wish the game day experience was circa 1985. 1 o’clock start. Bloody Marys at O’Malley’s (you had to be there), pretty girls everywhere (still true), and reasonable parking, etc.


  9. CEPH

    The one thing that is missing (besides alumni asses in the the seats) are students. Young people are developing a laissez faire attitude about their teams. This is going to be the death knell of college sports. They are in increasing numbers NOT going to the games and when they graduate they sure as hell aren’t going to support the teams because of the conditions described in an earlier post. I personally think this is the last generation that will be held hostage by the exorbitant amount of money that it cost to be a fan. I think this will apply to all sports at every level, college, pro etc. College football supports all the other.
    sports so what happens when it doesn’t?


  10. ATL Dawg

    This is frustrating to me because my main complaint about most game experiences now is the constant bombardment of music and video (and at rather loud volumes too). There’s very little time to think, let alone talk to the person next to you. Seems like it has gotten worse and worse over the last 10 years. And I’m old but not that old (in my 40s). I want to be at a game, not a concert. I also don’t want commercials and hype videos jammed down my throat.


  11. Got Cowdog

    So on one hand we have an Associate AD (And avid KISS fan, which should tell you all you need to know) who wants to spend a whole bunch of money on high heels, make-up, costumes, cheesy loud music, jumbotron pregame pageantry, and pyrotechnics to enhance the fan experience at a football game…..
    On the other hand, you have an AD who looks around and says; “You know what? This sucks. We need less commercials, player/fan interaction like UGA’s Dawg Walk, and a parade. While you’re at it, get a couple of kegs and some taco trucks over there on the quad. AND.. tell what’s his name in the suit to take his ball somewhere else. Nobody but him and his old man give a shit anyway.”
    Sounds like UT may be on to something.


    • Otto

      I haven’t liked the evolution of the fan experience at most games, piped in music, gimmicks etc. Maybe that is why I actually enjoy going to minor league games on vacation but would never suggest going to a MLB game.


  12. Bulldog Joe

    That 60 and 70-year old male demographic is gonna to put Virginia Tech over the top, I tell ya’. Not to mention how great it is for recruiting.


  13. I think you are right on scheduling. What are the chances Sanford stadium
    is not full for the Notre Dame game? I’m sure there is a balance between that and winning but scheduling a game or two like this every year would help.


  14. SlobberKnocker

    Gene Simmons is the lead singer for KISS? Huh, I thought he played bass and just stuck out his tongue all the time.


    • Morris Day

      Yeah, Dodd is obviously a lazy writer. That was the first thing that jumped out at me in the excerpt the Senator posted. If you can’t take the time to go to wikipedia to get simple basic facts, you’ve lost all credibility with me for the rest of the article.


      • Got Cowdog

        Even more disconcerting is that a 34 year old KISS fan is trying to run an D-1 athletic department. Most of the KISS fans I grew up with weren’t much good for anything but smoking weed. Jeez.

        I’m going over to Jagger’s tailgate for Bloody Marys.


  15. Go Dawgs!

    Anyone who is interested in how to boost attendance for college football should look at Sanford Stadium’s infamous “Tech Deck” about five minutes before kickoff against Murray State on September 7th or Arkansas State on September 14th and then again about five minutes before kickoff against Notre Dame the following week.

    And I don’t think UGA will have spent any more money on pyrotechnics for the game against the Irish.


  16. WarD Eagle

    Nothing gets me more pumped than some early morning pyrotechnics and WWE style walk up video before kickoff to The Citadel.

    …at 10:30 AM on a scalding Saturday


  17. FlyingPeakDawg

    A 6 game schedule of Top 25 P5 vs. P5 is surely going to fill a 90k+ seat stadium, but it will further separate the top P5 teams from the rest of the BCS. I’m not sure that’s a good idea either. Reducing capacity in Sanford to add full seatbacks with cupholders, upgraded sound and video (quality, not quantity and loudness), better concessions and seatside service, better traffic control and parking, etc. can keep the masses engaged.

    But when it doesn’t, serve beer and offer in game betting. Sure fire way to fix the problem.