Monday, February 28, 2011

What Can UGA Do to Improve Seating Issues?

Seeing empty seats in Sanford and Stegeman... it's something that befuddles my mind at times. First, let me rant a bit just so you understand my frustration and, more importantly, bewilderment. Since you can pretty much make anything interesting by adding a Top ____ List here are my "Super Seven Snags With Sanford/Stegeman Seating

  1. While I understand that there are a lot of fun things to do on Friday night and Saturdays in Athens in the fall, you'd think that at least 18,000 of the 35,000 are enrolled could make a 12:00 p.m. kickoff.
  2. Is it really that big of a crime to stand up and cheer sometimes? 
  3. Why do students get tickets never to attend the games, then sell them at a profit to those who aren't fortunate enough to grab them?
  4. Is it necessary for people to sell tickets to scalpers so they can sell them back to other people for insanely high prices?
  5. If you can't come to at least 12% of the games, could you please find someone that would come to at least half of them?
  6. For those of you who have young children or are older than 65, is it really that hard to stay out 12.2 minutes longer, or must you always leave at the four-minute timeout of the 2nd half because it's "past someone's bedtime"? Really? 
  7. While I know it's great exercise, is it that hard for people to not walk up and down the aisles at Stegeman while the game game is going on? I'd also like to ask why Spike the Blowup does this when I'm trying to watch the game. EXTREMELY annoying. 
Ok, ok. I know some of these are just personal problems, but let's face it, there are some legitimate beefs here with the way that tickets are allocated. Number one on that list was apparently student ticket allotment, which was taken up at last Thursday's athletics board meeting. 

The Tim Tucker ran down the changes in this department on Friday. Basically if students receive tickets and don't attend the game or drop the tickets back into the pool, they get a strike- three strikes and you don't receive bowl tickets and aren't eligible for the next season's tickets. 

It's all being done via student I.D. cards and is a great way to cut down on the ridiculous activity of selling tickets to other students for a huge profit. It's a great idea and one that makes a lot of sense for all concerned. 

The next biggest issue, in my opinion, is that of the large amount of empty seats in the lower bowl of Stegeman. While I realize that it's "tough" for some people to make it to midweek games, there should be an easier way to disburse of those tickets to people who'd actually like to attend. I won't take credit for the solution to this problem though. A reader of ours suggested taking a look at Oklahoma's ticket distribution model

Their model includes a points system with a donation component and an attendance component. That way people who buy the tickets and actually attend are treated more favorably than those who bought the tickets and didn't come to the game or place those tickets back on the university's secondary marketplace. Other than eliminating the huge holes in the crowd, this would also help to eliminate scalping, which you can tell I'm not a fan of. 

It's worth clicking on the above link to get a good idea of how the folks in Oklahoma do this. The current system in place for all sports is a headache. While it may have some inherent faults, the OU system seems to work very well and also has a bonus built in for recent graduates who want to climb into the season ticket holder pool, but don't have the ability to chip in the full amount required initially. I'm sure there would have to be some adjustments made, but you get my point.

Giving recent grads a little boost would also help to solve #'s 2 and 6, as injecting some young energy into the crowd would perhaps annoy the people that think they're too cool to stand up and cheer. This just so happens to be the folks on the side opposite the student section at Stegeman. The only reason our side gets up is to "wave their arms for t-shirts" in the words of our neighbors in Section E. 

In summation, I think a restructuring of the way tickets are doled out is in order in Athens. A system that would have a more friendly secondary market, more efficient way of reselling unused tickets, and ensuring seats are filled is necessary. Like I mentioned above, if people only attend two games a year and the seats are empty for the rest of the time, wouldn't it be prudent to help those donors give someone else an opportunity to sit there without having to pay a king's ransom? 

It makes sense... but so did Napolean's invasion of Russia. You see where that got everyone. 

But really, something's gotta give here.


  1. Some of us don't have the money to buy lower level season tickets. Why not dismiss the ticket checkers and let us fill those empty seats during games when attendance is terrible? I attended numerous games during the recent lean years, watching from GG, MM or PP as the lower section was at least half empty.

  2. I'm with you, man. Get those old people out of stadium and out of those good seats. Just because they supported the Dawgs with money and attendance for 40 years and were there with support while traditions and history was being made, that doesn't give them the right to not stand and block the view of the women and children behind them for the entire game. They don't even boo dropped passes. Arthritis and bad knees are no excuse either. Let'm stay home and watch it on TV. They complain when I try to sneak a quick smoke and act like I spilled my bourbon on their wives' purse on purpose. Make room for the real fans, the party animals, and get those undeserving old has been people out'o there. It's time for change! Who do they think they are?!

  3. I with Anon 10:50AM. Get those old people out.

  4. Every student should have a ticket and then the alumni should get their tickets. By telling the students it is not important for them to go, you teach them there are other things more important than attending football. They learn they do not need it. It is their time.

    So did we have lots of open seats in 2007? No. Then start winning again. That will help.

  5. Folks,

    I'm not saying get the old people out. I'm saying get the people that don't attend or don't pass off their tickets to someone else who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to sit there out.

    Does it make any sense at all for people to fill the upper deck when the lower is 75% full simply because some won't show?

    Just develop a system that encourages people to attend and punishes those who don't come or give/sell their tickets to others.

  6. Sitting through the 4th quarter at many of the football games at Sanford is often... a waste of time and I don't blame some for leaving. I stay, but I can see why some would leave. Richt and Bobo suck the life out of the fans with the most conservative play calls known to man. Opponents are still trying to score and we're running draws up the middle on 3rd and 12, just an example. That's where many of the empty seats come from in the 4th.

    Was at the UGA-USC basketball game this past saturday, it wasn't filled to capacity but it was pretty darn close. And Spike runs to the adjacent from where the team runs out (double-deck end) every time the game is about to start back... or at least every time I noticed he made a concerted effort to get out of the way. He's funny and kinda hard to miss a 15ft tall inflatable bulldog running down the court.

    As someone else said, winning cures everything. Alabama wasn't filling up their stadium before Saban arrived...

  7. A few points to make. 28 years old, married, and first year of being a season football and basketball season ticket holder.

    1. I gave the donation and paid for season bball tickets this year. My initial thoughts on the season were that I like Coach Fox, love the way the team plays, and that I would have great seats because no one goes to the games. To my dismay, I ended up in Section GG. Still not a bad seat. But then I was at the Vandy game and the game was winding down. We may have been up 2. I'm standing up, yelling as loud as I can, and some old dude 2 rows back tells me to sit down. At a critical point in the game, I'm asked to sit. Look, I paid the same amount of money for my season tickets as he probably did. And I was there on a Wednesday night and my home is 2 hours away. I love this school and this team. I'm sick of being asked to sit down during these huge games. I stand at times when only Sweater Man is performing his jumping-jack routine. We eventually lost the game as you well know. If you don't want to cheer for this team at times when they need us, it would be a lot cheaper to sit on your hands in your recliner.

    I love the idea of a bonus for attending the games. Then maybe I could move to the lower level and stand up to cheer.

    2. As far as football is concerned, I feel the same way. Many people renew their season tickets just to sell them on eBay for ridiculous prices. I guess the question would be, how would the university keep track of it as long as the ticket was being used. I don't have a problem with proper trying to make some of their donation back. But I don't like the fact that people try to make the donation back, plus a profit. If you don't pay the minimum seat donation, you wouldn't have tickets anyway.