Give the people what they want.

Seth Emerson ($$) posits a reason why Georgia is steadily upgrading the attractiveness of its schedule over the next decade or more:

The actual turnout at Georgia home games in 2018 was very different for games against Power 5 teams than it was in the other games. While every game was officially announced as a sellout, Georgia (like other schools) keeps track of actual attendance by counting tickets scanned at the door. Here is the breakdown for actual attendance last year, in order of highest to lowest turnout:

Auburn: 83,646

Tennessee: 81,227

Vanderbilt: 79,186

Austin Peay: 78,050 (season opener)

Georgia Tech: 76,203

UMass: 67,764

Middle Tennessee: 66,191

* Note that for each game, the total includes 4,128 credentialed people, a figure UGA came up with to include staff members, security, media, concession workers, etc.

This all tracks with Georgia’s actual attendance for 2015-17, which we wrote about previously. Since 2015, Georgia’s attendance for games against Power 5 opponents averages 77,598.4 per game. For non-Power 5 games, it’s 69,328.6 per game. You might say that it’s only about 8,000 per game, but that adds up over time.

Indeed it does.  And remember, as Seth notes, when it comes to college football attendance, Georgia is one of the fortunate ones, with a rate about 20% higher than the average.  But you keep throwing out home schedules as crappy as last season’s was and you risk watching falling attendance bleed into ticket purchasing as your fan base slowly gets out of the habit of coming to Athens to watch a game.

Kirby Smart deserves an enormous amount of credit for recognizing the risk and taking steps to blunt it from growing.  If it were up to McGarity, we’d be looking at schedules much like 2018 as long as Butts-Mehre could get away with it.

Yes, we are wallets.  We also have our limits.  Asking us to shell out more for what is at heart entertainment means at some point more has to be offered to entertain us.  And, no, that doesn’t mean just winning.  If it did, we’d fill the stands for UMass every season.


Filed under Georgia Football

46 responses to “Give the people what they want.

  1. UGADrake

    Senator! Getting some love from Seth!! Awesome. Cash that check while it’s still good.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Bulldog Joe

    Vanderbilt and Austin Peay outdrew the Georgia Tech game.

    Times sure have changed from when I was a student 40 years ago.


    • 79Dawg

      It’s tough to make right after Thanksgiving – lots of people are travelling, family in town, schedules are discombobulated, game has been at noon for the last few years, etc. I haven’t missed one (home or away) in 15 years, but I have gotten TONS of dirty looks over the years while doing so…


      • tbia

        those are all reasons, sure….but add in to that the fact that there were literally no Tech fans at the game. I sit south lower. I would guess in an average year we have around 100 Tech fans who have bought into our section I bet there weren’t 10 last year.


        • Texas Dawg

          I would love to see these same numbers for the nerds. Lets see (we all know the answer) if the UGA game drew less than their cupcake games (assuming that they were not the cupcake in the game instead of their FCS opponent)


  3. Aladawg

    I remember writing a letter to McGoofy a year after he came regarding the schedule. I guess he was honest because he said he would follow the “Florida” model of a 1-AA opponent and a non p5 D1 opponent. He cancelled Oregon and refused other opportunities. You can tell who runs the department now and it ain’t McGoofy. Thanks Kirby.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Go Dawgs!

    There were 9,000+ empty seats for the Auburn game?! I didn’t see any.


    • PTC DAWG

      Agree, BS list.


      • ATL Dawg

        Yeah, UGA is purposefully underreporting their attendance figures. That makes a lot of sense.

        Especially when you consider that they include workers in their total attendance numbers and seating capacity. They sure do seem to want to get the numbers as low as possible and not the other way around!


  5. Athensrules

    I am surprised by those low numbers for Power 5 teams since Sanford stadium is supposed to hold 93K plus. I was at the UT game and it was hot as hell that day so maybe that kept some away. It was noticeable that the UT fans did not travel as well to that game but still that is around 12,000 fewer butts in the stands. Auburn is even more surprising.


  6. ATL Dawg

    Hang on…those totals include 4,128 staff members, security, media, concession workers, etc?

    The Sanford seating capacity of 92,746 doesn’t include workers…does it? I’ve always thought it was the number of seats (plus however many people fit in the luxury boxes that may not have an actual seat).

    If seating capacity doesn’t include workers, why are they including it here?


    • Gaskilldawg

      Good questions.


    • Chickamona

      Seth did an article on this last year, but Sanford doesn’t actually seat 92,746 fans in the seating area I can’t recall the exact number but it was closer to 88,000+ tickets to games are sold and they basically have never revised the official number because nobody in college football gives an accurate number of just fans in seats. Media, recruits, and staff change for any given Saturday so it’s a moving target. Note that they redid a portion of west endzone last year and the official capacity somehow didn’t change a single seat? It’s not an exact number and actual seats is somewhere just south of 90k.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ATL Dawg

        That’s interesting, thanks for that. If you subtract 4,128 from 92,746, you get 88,618 which is in line with the 88-89k number you noted.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is something that has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years. As others have noted, I am shocked that there were 9,000 empty seats for a night game against the Barn. I remember the week after the crushing Prayer at Jordan Hare in 2013, there didn’t seem to be any empty seats for a game against Kentucky the next week (Aaron Murray’s last home game); and this for a team that ended up going 8-5.


  8. Gaskilldawg

    I sit in lower north so I cannot see the Tech deck from my seat but I do watch replays afterwards. The MTSU number supposedly includes 4,000 credentialed people who apparently are not ticket holders. That means only about 63,000 ticket holders entered. That means the seats were 1/3rd empty . It did not look that empty to me on game day or on the replay.


    • ATL Dawg

      Looks are deceiving. Even if an area looks full, it still has scattered empty seats. And the number of scattered empty seats is in proportion with the size of the barren areas of the stadium. So if there are large chunks of the stadium that are mostly empty, there are lots of scattered empty seats in the areas that appear to be full.


      • Russ

        Exactly. If the seat beside me is empty, I’m spilling over into that space. Multiply that by hundreds/thousands of empty seats and the space seems to disappear.

        I’ve noticed often on TV that the upper corners of even the big games are sparse. That’s a few thousand right there.

        I believe the numbers.


        • Gaskilldawg

          I understand 10,000 scattered empty seats in a stadium that big may be hard to notice, but I cannot believe that no one would notice a quarter of a stadium of that size.



    Obviously GT does not move the meter. No win situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reverend Whitewall

    I’ll be curious from your analytics if Seth’s shout out creates a bump in views for you.


  11. TomReagan

    I’m glad you boiled it down to what it really is — entertainment.

    I realized a couple of years ago that what I really want the most from being a UGA fan is to have fun going to games, watching them on TV, talking about them, reading up on them, all of it.

    In my context, it was realizing that winning wasn’t all that mattered to me, although it’s obviously a major part of it. But winning with a lot of negatives that go along with it isn’t something I want.

    It’s a simple thought, but it really clarifies things, at least for me.


    • Texas Dawg

      Since I live a long way from Athens these days, it has been a while since I have been to a game. From following the complaints I have read on here over the years, it is not hard to see why attendance is falling. As you pointed out, it is entertainment, and entertainment is supposed to be fun, not a grind. The parking issues, the restrictions on tailgating, the cost of tickets, the cost of concessions, the LONG lines for concessions, the substandard bathrooms, the crappy start times, the cupcakes on the schedule (with no cost relief for those games), the overpowering PA noise (have I missed anything) all help to push people away. As with anything, there comes a tipping point where the scales dip to the other side. It seems that all that the administration has done (or not done ie bathrooms) has pushed a lot of people over to the other side. Every game is now on TV. You can get together with a bunch of friends, party at your house, purchase the new big screen and go to the clean restroom any time you want for less than the price of a game. If they want to reverse the trend, they have to make it FUN to go to a game again, not a battle. If I have spent that much money to go to the stadium, I want to come home pumped up and excited, not bitching about standing in line for a full quarter to piss and get a hot dog and coke. The older I get, the less I am willing to put up with. Pro teams seem to be able to lure them in at much greater cost, because they look at the fans as customers, not ATM machines that spit out money w/o anything in return.


      • PDawg30577

        The Athletic Department could conceivably address every issue you name except one, it seems: parking. I don’t know what anyone does about that short of building a new stadium somewhere else.


  12. ATL Dawg

    Here are the numbers with the 4,128 workers subtracted out. Also included is the percentage of seating capacity (92,746).

    Auburn: 79,518 (85.7% full)

    Tennessee: 77,099 (83.1%)

    Vanderbilt: 75,058 (80.9%)

    Austin Peay: 73,922 (79.7%)

    Georgia Tech: 72,075 (77.7%)

    UMass: 63,636 (68.6%)

    Middle Tennessee: 62,063 (66.9%)


    • ATL Dawg

      Small correction here. As Chickamona kindly pointed out above, seating capacity is closer to 88-89k and not the 92-93k number that UGA publicizes. So the percentage of capacity gets bumped up 3-4 percentage points. I’ll go with 88,618 as capacity instead of 92,748 (92,748 – 4,128 = 88,618).

      Auburn: 79,518 (89.7% full)

      Tennessee: 77,099 (87%)

      Vanderbilt: 75,058 (84.7%)

      Austin Peay: 73,922 (83.4%)

      Georgia Tech: 72,075 (81.3%)

      UMass: 63,636 (71.8%)

      Middle Tennessee: 62,063 (70%)


  13. Faltering Memory

    Entertainment-one more reason the typical fan including most Hartman Fund members are just the audience for a TV show.


  14. JCDawg83

    Clemson did not sell out a home game last year either and they played SCu at home. If programs like Georgia and Clemson are not selling out home games in seasons where they are in the thick of the national championship hunt the tipping point may have been reached. Between the cost of attending the games and the misery created by games being televised and stretched by tv timeouts, the fans may have started a trend of staying home. Once the fans stop going to games, and realize the money they are saving and the time they have freed up, getting them to return will be almost impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Athenrules

      “Once the fans stop going to games, and realize the money they are saving and the time they have freed up, getting them to return will be almost impossible.” Coupled with the fact that the younger fans/ students don’t really care much about games the future of attendance really looks bleak.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JCDawg83

        My daughter graduated in ’14 and is a huge Georgia fan. She, nor any of her friends from college get season tickets. Most of them pick one or two games a year to go to and that is it. For the other games, they have parties at their houses to watch the game on tv. They are all huge fans and care about the games deeply but the cost of tickets and the time commitment is more than they want to do for a full season.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gaskilldawg

          Does the UGAA do anything for her generation of alums to encourage them to contribute to the Hartman Fund and start getting renewable season tickets instead of going the Stubhub/Vivid/Ticketmaster approach? If not, she will never have an incentive to becoming a donor.


  15. Larry R Butler

    “Give the people what they want”.
    See ULF’s concession menu on the next page!
    That would help..esp. the premium menu.
    The Cajun items and even craft beers show some pretty good ingenuity.
    Find out who’s responsible for coming up with and implementing that and hire them at UGA.


    • Paul

      We were at a baseball game at SunTrust recently. Beers were $10. Hotdogs were $10. They were very large, very good hotdogs but they were $10. The people doling them out were in no hurry and they weren’t particularity nice or polite. Next time we will eat before we get there. This isn’t rocket science folks. It’s called customer service. Outside of prostitution it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. Yet so many people are so bad at it it staggers the imagination. Everybody claims they care and yet almost no one does.


      • G_Money

        Coscto sells “very large, very good” hotdogs for $1.50. And that includes a bottomless coke.


        • Macallanlover

          Except now it is a Pepsi. They don’t make many mistakes, but they made that one. For the people who say they can’t tell the difference: you got to be kidding me.


  16. ApalachDawg

    In my opinion, the downward trend for gameday started with M. Adams.


  17. dawgfan1995

    Something to remember too: the Redcoats don’t carry tickets or get scanned. That’s 500 more right there, roughly, including support staff and personnel for them. Neither does an opposing team’s band. So, for Auburn, that’s another roughly 400 to 500.

    Add in the cheerleaders too. They aren’t ticketed.

    That’s 1000 of your credentialed personnel right there.


  18. Salty Dawg

    It’s going to take more than the cheers, music, and the other bullshit that they try to sell, to entertain us.

    Liked by 1 person