When the Georgia Way has lemons…

Andy Staples ($$) talks to a bunch of athletic directors about how they’re preparing to deal with stadium seating in the time of coronavirus.  This parenthetical comment should tell you how sensitive a topic it is right now:

(We’ve promised anonymity to the athletic department officials interviewed for this story because officials are understandably reluctant to speak publicly, fearing a panic from their donors.)

I suspect Andy misspelled “anger” in that last line, but whatever.

No state currently would permit even 50% seating in a stadium and most would fall in a range of 20-40%.  So, among the options when you limit supply to comply with health regulations are these:

  • Biggest donors first.
  • Split tickets into mini-packages, where biggest donors get the best games and the rest are spread out to others.


If you divvy up accordingly, what then happens with the tickets?

  • “The secondary market for the tickets could be astronomical, but seeing tickets getting scalped for top dollar by those fortunate enough to get them could enrage donors who got shut out.”  Now, there’s the anger I was talking about!
  • Dynamic pricing.

Sure, one anonymous AD referred to this as “… a development person’s worst nightmare,” but I’m thinking it’s just another opportunity for the bunch who did such a great job coordinating the sale of 2017 Notre Dame tickets to an energized donor base.  Hey, it’s not like they started the virus, amirite?


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

32 responses to “When the Georgia Way has lemons…

  1. Derek

    What happens to the folks who bought $500 tickets to the bama game on stubhub?


  2. Granthams replacement

    If the stadium can’t be full UGA should keep Greg on until December. He can take the fall as the guy who decided to exclude over half the fans. Morehead can then blame Greg, promise to never let it happen again and replace Greg. Greg gets a nice going away present for his services, everyone wins. Except for 40,000 that get shut out or only get tickets to direction school games.


  3. MA

    You know who won’t lose their tickets?

    The folks in the glass skyboxes. (Probably the safest places in the stadium.)


  4. This is going to be an absolute nightmare for the people on the phones at the ticket office. They’re going to get the nasty calls while the suits cower under their desks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My opinion is that we’re going to be at approximately 30k-35k total seats available (about 35% of capacity). I believe visitor allotments will not happen this year across all of college football, so visiting fans will be forced to the secondary market for tickets. I’m guessing the student ticket allocation will be approximately 20% of capacity (approximately 6,500), so no students are going to get full allocations this year.

      Suite holders & Magill and above will get 100% of their tickets (suite holders probably will receive fewer tickets to achieve distancing requirements – I’m guessing on average 15 tickets per suite). I’m guessing at that point they’ll start at the top of the Hartman cumulative point list and start allocating tickets until they reach capacity. Everyone below the cutoff will get a note saying we are sorry that we can’t fulfill your order this year due to the pandemic. They could come up with some type of tiering scheme, but the lower half of the Hartman list isn’t going to be happy with anything.

      The athletic association will try to placate those with refunds by offering double points for the value of the season tickets for 2021 (essentially waiving the 2021 contribution).

      Needless to say, it’s likely going to be a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Castleberry

        I’ve been thinking along the same lines. Senator – I’m curious if it’s worthy of a reader poll. Our away ticket orders are due 5/31. How many folks have paid already, and how many decided not to order (that normally do)? The cutoff for Bama was so high (100k) – I’m curious if UGA will come back for more $ if we don’t sell that allotment. I’m thinking a good chunk of the 100k donors are 60+ and at greater risk for COVID – may take a pass or resell.



    I’ve said it before, offer refunds to those who are scared/too concerned/too compromised etc to attend this year..preserving their points and status for 2021. That will thin the herd somewhat. See where you stand attendance wise and go from there. We all know money talks, allot the remainder of tickets from there according to the max allowed attendance.

    There is obviously no perfect solution, unless numbers continue to go down and we have almost zero worries this fall, but you can’t wait that long to make the changes…sucks all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tbia

      The real controversy creator, if you could do it, would be to across the board defer and remove from 2020 tickets any account that has already posted or sold on a third party site.

      Get some of the professional scalper season ticket holders out of the game.

      I know, I know…


    • Erskine

      The issue is not just 2020. If you shut out 40k fans that is roughly 10-15 k contributors most of which will be those contributing 5k or less annually. I do not believe those same contributors will pony up in 2021. I know I will not. So does the AD know he can replace that future revenue loss or are they sure they have new contributor waiting in the wings.
      With the recent decline in attendance & the easy of watching on TV, the powers that be will have a decision that will have a far reaching financial impact. Social distancing will probably take a backseat to the financial implication.


      • Russ

        That’s a good point. If I contributed and then got shut out, I’d better get the opportunity next season to buy my tickets without a required donation. But I know that ain’t happening.


        • Jim

          Please. You underlings that contribute the minimum every year and have done so forever are welcome to leave. That’ll open a lot of good seats for Magill donors that we’ve been trying to figure out how to take from you

          When you have a program going well turnover in the donor base is a good thing


      • PTC DAWG

        Carry over sounds fair too..if you received no tickets this year..


    • pcpup

      Agreed. Though there is nothing I love more than cheering on the Dawgs in Sanford Stadium (I’ve been going since 1964 and now it is my favorite father-daughter activity); I would be willing to step aside this season. If my priority and seats are preserved. Athens is a 700-mile round trip, with hotel stays, etc. Maybe a bit too much just now.


  6. Normaltown Mike

    Well obviously our moral superiors have already sworn off attending, only leaving the dregs and steerage to go (maybe I can move eastward a bit from my perch in 136).

    I’m sure Kemp could send in the National Guard to prevent fans from going and this would be highly exhilarating to our moral superiors…but those people will be voting for Jon Osoff in ’22 anyway, so I don’t see why Kemp would be trying to impress them.


    • tiredofidsearch

      Hey I like 136 ! Where are you in 136 ?
      I am row 28/seats 3-5. Have had opportunity to get better seats over the years but really like the folks sitting around us so we stayed put (plus has been easier/quicker to get out of the stadium than a lot of places).


  7. FlyingPeakDawg

    Assuming a full season with 6 home games (which I don’t see happening) then fill 33% of the stadium on rotating basis so everyone gets two games. Refund the other 4, but not Hartman donation which gets a boost for the missed games. No away tickets. JAX is a huge problem as well as post season but there will be time to resolve that….maybe. Secondary ticket purchasers who bought a “missed” home game or away games should be refunded through Stubhub, etc. but good luck.

    There will be riots, lawsuits, etc…..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark

    I wonder how much money was saved by not having to complete the non-revenue generating spring sports?


  9. Paul

    Interesting how their solutions are pretty much the same as the ones we’ve discussed here previously. There simply aren’t many alternatives. Although, this being Georgia I’m guessing we end up at the higher end of how many folks get in the stadium. We’ve bent over backwards to lie about our COVID-19 numbers. So I’ll be surprised if we take any approach than ‘damn the torpedos.’


  10. DawgPhan

    I can 100% see UGA playing football games and only opening the Sky boxes and club level.


  11. W Cobb Dawg

    I saw an article about the well-off in Manhattan bugging-out as the pandemic hit. With that in mind, I strongly doubt top contributors are eager to attend games until the coast is clear. The school’s priority is the TV revenue, certainly not your average/avid GTP reader. Preventive measures are going to be prioritized on players, staff, etc., and to a far lesser extent attendees. Seems to me that fans who attend fall into the ‘cannon fodder’ category. If BM can get more money out of them, all’s the better.


    • Russ

      Yep, all about that sweet, sweet TV money. Large donors are the second highest concern, average fans can get the dregs if there are any.


  12. DawgPhan

    In the best of times games in Sanford were very unsanitary. We all have countless examples, no need to rehash them. Even for pre-93k spring games things were not great.

    Just not sure how the Georgia Way squares with the current regulations for large reopening.


  13. BuffaloSpringfield

    I will see if MLB is a goal of the suits watching it closely as they pervade unknown waters. Only issue if the players and owners disagree there won’t be any models to look at Period.


  14. 69Dawg

    To add insult to injury those contributions to the Hartman Fund are no longer a tax deduction. As a former tax attorney I would argue that if you don’t get tickets it is just a contribution to the school. This whole Covid-19 thing is going to make attorneys a lot of money. I know, Senator, not the real estate ones.


  15. Castleberry

    I’m standing by for the email that lets me know to contribute more money now to increase my chances of actually getting the tickets I already donated and paid for.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ATL Dawg

    Ohio State is looking at having around 20k fans in their stadium…


    In order to determine who would get priority access to the limited seats available, Smith said the athletic department would first turn to the points system already in place but would also have to consider faculty, staff students, donors, media, parents and other groups.

    “We have to look at those and come up with some strategies within those groups,” Smith said. “Our point system has held the test of time, so that would probably be one, then of course the parents and the guests of our student-athletes and coaches would be a high priority. We’d come up with a strategy, but we haven’t nailed that down.”