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Friday, October 8, 2010

Gameday atmosphere changes afoot?

This stood out to me at Thursday’s meeting of the UGA Athletic Association board: Jennifer Stamp, a board member, said that after attending last month’s game at South Carolina, she saw better gameday “aesthetics” at that school, which Georgia could learn from.

That’s despite Georgia’s prouder tradition (in terms of wins and championships) and Sanford Stadium having about 10,000 more seats.

There actually was a lot of discussion of the gameday atmosphere at the board meeting. It also appears to be a concern of new athletics director Greg McGarity, who said the focus the rest of this season would be on “customer service.”

One possible immediate change: Cutting down the commercials that are played during timeouts. This was suggested at the board meeting by a student representative, who said the commercials have a way of “killing the atmosphere.”

McGarity at least wants to minimize what he called the “canned music.”

“So many institutions ... go maybe overboard in all this pre-programmed music,” he said. “I’m pretty much a traditionalist, a conservative. If the band’s there, I want to hear the band playing, and I think the fans do too.”

McGarity doesn’t want the atmosphere to resemble a pro game, and all the bells and whistles that come with it.

“It’s just tweaking a few things,” McGarity added. “It’s not anything that’s off in the ditch here. It’s something that I’m going to pay a bit more attention to now that I’m getting comfortable.”

The student representative also asked the board about the tailgating policies on North Campus. The answer from the board and McGarity was that all procedures would be reviewed at the end of the year. What was left unsaid was that school president Michael Adams was not at Thursday’s meeting, and that was an issue that would have to be addressed with him.

Georgia senior receiver Kris Durham, also present at the board meeting, had another concern: The players notice that at road games the opposing students get there earlier, adding some “nastiness” to the pregame atmosphere. Durham asked if UGA students weren’t being let in as early as at other schools, but was told that they were.

The reason for that concern, it's limited to this season, is the time of the games: Both of Georgia's home games have started at noon, while two of the three road games started at night.


Paul said...

My question is what, if anything, is going on as far as tailgating on North campus this year? Has anybody been over there during a home game this season? Are the new policies being enforced? If so, how? Are people being respectful of the area or just staying away?

Alan said...

As far as the student section goes, this is why I was ticked about them making us use IDs. Before, at least the people that wanted to go to the games got there (economics at work through aftermarket ticket sales). Now, I have no incentive to rerelease my ticket so the Athletic Association can collect twice.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Seth Emerson said...

Sorry to have to remove that last comment, but to the person who posted it, I hope that answers your question.

Anonymous said...

I will say this: when we were at the Colorado game, they made it close to impossible to get to the players' family/guest tickets. So many player family members were sent in the wrong direction, then had to wait in the slowest, longest line I've ever seen. We got to the game early, before the gates even opened, but by the time we got in the place was half full.

Given how rude the home crowd was, I guess none of the way we were treated should have been surprising.

Anonymous said...

The Georgia game day experience is much worse in the past five years. I hate all the obnoxious hip hop commercials during breaks. Let the band play. It's a college football game. If that's not bad enough, you can't enjoy the game without someone pestering you to pose for a picture the University hopes to sell to you later.

Another gripe is the awful concessions. Not only are the prices ridiculous (which everyone expects), the quality and speed of service is terrible. If they let private concessions in like at other stadiums you can bet there would be better quality concessions and faster service because someone who gives a damn isn't going to want to lose business due to slow service.

The same goes for the gate/security personnel. A few years ago I used the Red Baron bag they have given away at the game the previous week to back some small toys, a sippy cup and pompoms to bring into the game for my three year old. The moron at the gate told me "bags aren't allowed" which isn't true since almost every woman entering the stadium had a purse just as big as my bag. Everything in the bag was ok, but they actually made me throw the bag away and carry everything in my hands or pocket. On Monday I wrote a respectful letter to Damon Evan complaining about the situation and never heard anything back at all. Nice.

Georgia can get away with crappy service, annoying sell-out advertisements, and fan hostile policies when the team is playing well. When we're 1-4 people won't tolerate being treated as merchandise. Greed is going to kill the golden goose. I'm glad the new AD is at least acting like he cares about that.

Anonymous said...

One thing that bugged me during the Arkansas game ... I'd grown accustomed to seeing statistics at the end of the quarters shown on the big screen, but never saw any that day. I've been to enough games where I'd developed the habit of looking up there a lot, and I don't think I missed it. If I did, my apologies to UGA, but otherwise, that's less classy than I would expect. Suck it up, even when things aren't going your way.

Prince_Lightfoot said...

Re: concessions
Does it seem to anyone else that a lot of the holdup is because the folks behind the counter can't make change? Really, it takes a calculator to sell me a dog and a coke?

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...

Jennifer Stamp, a board member, said that after attending last month’s game at South Carolina, she saw better gameday “aesthetics” at that school, which Georgia could learn from.

If she means blaring the theme song to a movie about a maniacal computer through the PA system while a costumed fowl does the funky chicken, then she can keep her "aesthetics" ...

I'm all for hearing the Redcoats and all, but we have nothing to learn from South Carolina as it relates to gameday experience.

Reptillicide said...

I completely agree with Ubiquitous... I don't know what the hell Jennifer is talking about. I went to South Carolina as well and found their "gameday experience" to be nothing to learn from. They pipe in more "canned music" than any stadium I've been to. I have no desire for us to play techno at each kickoff of the ball. I never once heard their band play. Is she suggesting we play an electronic sound of a dog barking?

USC is like a wanna-be NFL stadium, there is no endearing "atmosphere" about it, other than that their fans are into it and they've got a nice little stadium.

BulldogBen said...

Thanks for the post Seth.

At least McGarity somewhat acknowledges the frustrations of us long time fans.

I think why many people are so frustrated with the North Campus issue is that with all the construction that has been done in the last 10 years, there really is very little centrally located green space for people gather. It's all squeeze into this small patch here or get under this tree here. Bama has a HUGE field for a centralized tailgate. Ole Miss- the grove. UT-the river. USC has the fairgrounds but it's so far away that it doesn't even feel part of the campus.

It just feels like the minimum donor fan that continues to support the program continues to get crapped on and pushed further out.

Full disclosure: I love the Dawgs more than anything but when we suck, 75% of the reason I continue to go is to tailgate and see friends. When we're good it's probably still 60/40.

Anonymous said...

The Men's restroom back of Section 127 has been disgusting by half time since the day it was built.
Been to all of the SEC stadiums and ten or more other NCAA stadiums. None are as bad as that filthy place.That includes Tech, Florida,South Carolina,Alabama and LSU. Think about it. It's embarrassing. Why does the Health Dept. let it stay open. Food server can't wash their hands in that place after the first quarter.

Anonymous said...

Consider the these recent fan-friendly decisions:

1. Move all our games to noon thirty.

2. Boot the tailgating students out of North Campus.

3. Take away the ability for students to resell their tickets if they can't go to the game.

4. Hassle the tailgaters who arrive early on campus.

5. Give Aramark an exclusive services contract so they can overcharge our fans for their tasteless food.

6. Hassle the tailgaters with citations for open container.

7. Dominate the game experience with obnoxiously loud sell-out ads.

8. Put our student athletes at a permanent disadvantage through petty zero-tolerance policies.

....and they are surprised that our game atmosphere has become worse than the other SEC schools?

Dawgfan1307 said...

Agree with the last comment... For all the great talk about moving back to "conservative" policies as our AD put it, he fails to realize that its a college football tailgate. If you take away the booze, grills, and partying, no one will come. I shouldn't have to forfeit my tailgating experience because you don't feel you're kid is getting a fair shake.

All these policies implemented by people closer to death than birth results in the following results... I'm 25 and bought season tickets the year after I graduated. This will be the only game we're going to attend this year we're leaving ATL at 830am to get to Athens in time to get to a bar and watch the game. No tailgating, no attending the game and by the sounds of it this season this story has been played out all across campus.

Mike said...

All these comments just go to prove Adams is a shmuck! He does not care for things are fun and never will, he has completely changed the whole Saturday atmosphere and not for the better!!

BulldogBen said...

Dawgfan1307, if it makes you feel any better I paid a MINT for a South Campus parking pass for the year right before the ARK game and it was such a disaster (tailgate attendance) that I sold me tix to a couple of Dawg fans for this weekends. Trust me, I have fan guilt but if I sit through that heat again (after ULL, ARK, and going to USC) and lose late I'll jump into the abyss. A man can only take so much. The only options I have the rest of the year to use that pass is Vandy, Idaho St., and Tech. Still might go to Tech. Which I still will for Vandy and Tech unfortunately because it's my only options.

Anon @ 6:35pm: Couldn't agree more. I went to Columbia and while it has it's issues, I was never in line behind more than 5 people at HALFTIME. Trying to go to the concession stand near the student section (near my section) is, honestly, a fire hazard. NO ONE can get by. It can only be described as antiquated and dangerous. I mean, it's a MAIN artery in the stadium. Thank God I don't have kids. I can't imagine taking them through that gauntlet.

I love Sanford and I certainly don't have the answers how to structurally fix it but aren't we challenging Tech in engineering students these days?