“… that time, when seat count is all anyone cared about.”

Florida is moving forward on plans to renovate Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.  Here comes your future, Gator fans:

Stricklin has noted that in doing further renovations to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, seating capacity is likely to reduced. While that will shrink the number of fans at games, it should create a more comfortable experience while increasing demand and allowing Florida more pricing power control on tickets and booster fees[Emphasis added.]

Florida has packed the Swamp for all three games in the 2021 season, drawing a crowd of 86,840 for the season opener against Florida Atlantic, 90,887 for Alabama and 88,478 for Tennessee.

Still, upgrades are necessary.

“There was a time when, probably when the north endzone was done in the early ‘90s was part of that time, when seat count is all anyone cared about,” Stricklin said in 2018. “Just cram as many people as possible in there. Obviously that is not, when you talk to people who do facilities and stadiums theses days, that’s not as important as quality and making sure you’re creating an environment that people want to come and participate in.

“The days of fans being OK sitting three hours on really a piece of aluminum I think are gone. So we’ve got to find ways to upgrade the overall quality.”

That quality ain’t gonna pay for itself, peeps.  Less is more.

And I bet it won’t just happen in Gainesville, either.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's Just Bidness

36 responses to ““… that time, when seat count is all anyone cared about.”

  1. When those alumni/season ticket holders are told they no longer have seating privileges, I bet their donations to the school’s general fund dry up as well.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      The law of supply and demand suggests that when something becomes scare the price goes up. The big donors are going to get their seats (and pay their money), but the rest of us are going to be squeezed a little bit. I haven’t been physically present at a game in Athens in a while. Once, when my spouse worked at Terry we got an invite to the college’s sky suite for a directional college game. Very nice, very comfortable, but really boring. There were people there mainly wanting to ‘network’ and the game was secondary. And at that distance you might as well be watching from a TV; most people were doing just that or not watching the game at all. There is going to be a market; they are simply phasing from Aldi to Whole Foods. Buy a really nice TV instead.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Corch Irvin Meyers, Former Jags Corch (2024)

    It’s beyond time for upgrades like this to Sanford Stadium.

    It is possible to create comfortable bleacher seating. I’ve see it at Husky Stadium in Seattle. You increase the width of each “seat” and you add a backing to each bleacher row. Tosu has similar in the Horseshoe, and many other CFB teams do this. These aren’t chairs, they’re bleachers with a backing. This is also great for making sure the people behind you keep their feet off your seat.

    You could add these to the lower and upper decks of Sanford Stadium in a really nice Georgia Red color (skipping the Upper-Upper Deck, as well as the Student Sections to better delineate between students and ticket holders) for a few million, and even in making the seats a little wider, you can still keep the stadium at 90K which is a great number.

    With all apologies to the “chair back” seat program, but those things suck. They are moldy and gross, and they cut the depth of your seat almost in half.

    Of course, I’ll hold my breath waiting for McGarity 2.0 to do anything like this.

    Liked by 3 people

    • 79dawg

      I’m not an architect, but I just don’t feel like there is enough room in the seating areas of Sanford to put benchbacks or something rigid; it is already too tight in there to begin with, and I don’t think the fire marshal would allow them to do something like that, IMO, particularly given the narrowness of the stairs and portals. The other issue is that the the rows/benches look like they were poured in a continuous pour of concrete almost a hundred years ago, and trying to demo that (for example, to make fewer, wider rows, inserting chairbacks, etc.), would be a real PITA, to say the least.
      I think it would be hard to justify, from a financial perspective, doing the amount of design and construction work that would be needed, to significantly upgrade Sanford Stadium….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Remember the Quincy

      The other issue with those “cushion” seats is that they somehow fill with air in an amazingly short time. I might stand for 5 seconds to cheer or clap, and when I sit back down, the whole damn thing has inflated, and I feel like I’m sitting on one of those exercise balls deflating for the next 10 seconds.


    • aim260

      You are nothing if not consistent, aren’t you?


  3. practicaldawg

    I’m guessing fans that want to be there to see those quality losses live will also be charged more

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ran A


    Those ‘perfect’ view of the game media seats in Sanford stadium are as good as “toast”. There are millions to be made by turning them into box seats.

    Then take the seats between the 30 and the 30 and them from bench to chairs and up the price significantly.

    Then push those who do not want to pay the new price out, basically trading seats with others who have clamored for this spots closest to the 30 on both sides or in upper level.

    Upgrade with more and better options of food in the stadium, including alcohol. Including some with seating. Add delivery of food to the 30-30 seats.

    Basically, up the quality of the experience to match the experience that Kirby and company bring to the field.


    • Ran A

      This will piss some old time supporters off to high heaven – but it will not matter. By cutting the supply down, you create demand, that creates value. Which is a fancy way of saying Georgia makes a crap load of money, while using the value of a ticket for a much better fan experience.

      It’s coming


    • Previously Paul

      You’re either elite or you’re not. I agree with Stricklin that the days of people being okay with aluminum bench seating are over. Plus, looking at long term trends, crowds are down. You’re better off reducing the number of seats while significantly upgrading those that remain. Ran is also correct that far more then just the seating needs improvement. There is much work to be done. People will pay. I won’t, but lots of other people will. The money to do it has been in the bank for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. charlottedawg

    I don’t care what they do to the swamp so long as they get the money to keep Mullen and Grantham forever. Shit, I’ll start a collection here at gtp and kick in money myself if needed.

    Liked by 4 people

    • David K

      Don’t you worry about that. When they renegotiate the tv deal adding Texas and Oklahoma to the conference Jimbo Fisher’s contract is going to become quaint.


  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Little did Tech know, when they took seats out of Grant Field in the early 80’s, that they were leading the pack.

    Liked by 2 people

    • otto1980

      Neighbor was an Alum, season ticket holder, and I believe played for GT when that happened. He gave up his tickets never to return as did another relatively wealthy family friend who went to church with us..

      Moral be careful how you treat alumni and long time fans. You may find they just walk away. I am not a season ticket holder but my family was when we we growing up. I have my limits of fandom, if Auburn or Florida is dropped as an annual game I am out. B-M maybe surprised how many have the same view or might be pushed away by giving up seats.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Granthams Replacement

    From a school that will get $125-150 million per year by 2030 from the new SEC contract.

    UGA will add box seats above the bridge next, something like Tech or Clemson has in their end zones.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 79dawg

    “Tighten up supply and demand” – what a great euphemism, wish I’d have thought of that…
    Oh, and the reason visitors no longer come is not because they have to sit on a sheet of aluminum for 3 hours – its that we are asked to shell out $150+ to sit in the nosebleeds on that sheet of aluminum, while your season ticket holders are sitting on the same aluminum for half price in a better location!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jcdawg83

      I think our visitor ticket pricing is a reflection of what they charge our fans for visiting team tickets. Programs try and rape the visiting fans on ticket pricing and Georgia is simply following their lead.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 79dawg

        We certainly did not initiate that race to the bottom (er, corner of the upper deck), but it is where everyone finds themselves after Auburn/SCar/Tech kind of kicked this off (at least as I can best recall). Frankly, I think a 5-8,000 contingent of visiting fans and their band makes for a better in-game experience (and of course vice versa when we’re the away team!).

        Liked by 1 person

        • fisheriesdawg

          It kind of works out for us…we still buy the full allotment for every game, while those teams tend to return tickets. We get guaranteed seats in opponents’ stadia and our non-donors get chances to buy a few seats for a bigger game at Sanford.

          That said, the Tech Deck is the big problem with Sanford going forward. Those seats are terrible. Eventually you’ll cycle through enough people who have sat that and won’t pay to do it again. Turning it into a standing room “rooftop” biergarten with counters like MLB teams have behind their lower seats could change that in a heartbeat. You’d just need to put a net under the first row to catch the drunks that fall off, I guess.

          Hell, keep it open on non-game days. That would be a hell of a place to grab a beer on a beautiful spring day.


  9. Muttley

    They picked a great week for this decision. “We’re gonna need a smaller stadium, folks!”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Briggy1981

    As much money as college football brings in to Athens, it’s beyond time for more of a professional seating situation like you get at NFL games. Especially when I shell out good money for tickets. The fans will keep coming back.


  11. As last Saturday showed us the number of fans can matter and make an impact on the game. That should be worth………something.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Take out all the seats for SRO and eliminate the cries of “Down in front!” forever. Put beer gardens on the bridge and a couple of widened concourse areas on both sides for those who need a break. What could go wrong?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Munsoning

    Love the clumsy attempt to finesse the power grab slightly by talking adminese. This “allows” Florida more pricing power control of tickets and booster fees, huh? Man, I wish I could allow myself the power to squeeze money out of that many people. I’d allow the hell out of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Texas Dawg

      I hate corporate double speak and euphemisms. Just say what you’re doing in plain English. We are taking seats out and will be raising the price on the remaining seats so as not to lose any revenue. Hell we may go up even more to make additional money.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Munsoning

        Me, too. But putting it in plain English means admitting that what everyone knows is happening, is happening.

        Orwell nailed it in “Politics and the English Language”–“A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

        Also: “In our time, political speech and writing”–and I’d put adminese in the category of political speech–“are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Munsoning

      Also, what is “pricing power control”? Isn’t that redundant? Why “power” and “control”? Thanks, Senator, for giving me another reason to shout from the rooftops, “FTMF!”


  14. theorginaldawgabides

    I came to the conclusion a few years ago that the days of expansion for seat numbers is drawing to a close. Tennessee hasn’t been able to fill their sardine can for a while now. Texas A&M is having the same problem after their latest expansion. Bama’s stadium upgrade plans include losing some seats.
    I predict 92,700 is going to be the high water mark for Sanford. The long term vision of closing in the west end to push over 100k isn’t going to happen. As mentioned in this thread, we’ll probably see some type of chairback seats in the premium season ticket holder areas and more luxury suites wherever they can cram them. I can also envision something like turning the north 300 section into loge boxes.


  15. ericstrattonrushchairmandamngladtomeetyou

    FU ought to just play all its home games in JAX. It is FU’s second home already and the stadium is empty on Saturdays.