UGASports asks Josh Brooks, Georgia’s Deputy Athletic Director for Operations, the musical question “what challenge(s) do you encounter in trying to make Sanford Stadium the best possible experience for patrons?” and gets this reassuring response:
“Not making an excuse, but the reality of it is we’re operating out of a stadium that broke ground in 1927, was first played in 1929, and is located in the heart of a college campus. As the stadium has been added onto over the years, logistical challenges have mounted up. For example, making all the concourses wider and adding more restrooms would fix a lot of problems; however, because of logistical constraints, we simply cannot do that. Still, we try in every way to make that experience at Sanford Stadium the best it can be—and it starts with how we treat the people in attendance.”
Ah, the old “not making an excuse” excuse. Too bad you’re stuck with that old stadium, Dawg fans. Still, think what you don’t get staying at home.
“I think we need to primarily focus on what makes the stadium experience different than the home experience. Why try to match the home experience? You’ll never match a huge 70-inch TV in their face with replays, an announcer they can hear, and a fridge full of food. What makes the stadium experience better and different are the communal things. That’s why the band, the music, the cheers, and all are important. These are things fans don’t have access to or can’t get at home—only at the stadium. You’ll never replicate Sanford Stadium.”
That last sentence is both a blessing and a curse, and while I don’t doubt his sincerity when he says he cares, the problems with the restrooms and concessions aren’t going to magically disappear, especially in an era of rising contribution/ticket prices. That fan-friendly cost/benefit ratio is a bitch.
All of which is my way of predicting that Brooks or his successor will one day be explaining to us why logistical challenges are behind Butts-Mehre’s decision to reduce stadium capacity.