Posted: 11:31 am Saturday, May 24th, 2014

UGA fan talk: Raising football ticket prices, Gurley skateboarding, jersey changes and more! 

By Bill King

Greg McCarity says a football ticket increase is planned. (Perry McIntyre / UGA)

Greg McCarity says a football ticket increase is planned. (Perry McIntyre / UGA)

Let’s get straight to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …

Sammy Bowden writes: I couldn’t believe Greg McGarity was talking this week about an increase in ticket price before the 2015 season, considering the Dawgs will play a home schedule that will feature the likes of Southern, ULM and Georgia Southern! OK, so Alabama will be playing in Athens that season, but I still question whether raising ticket prices is a good idea when everyone in college football, even in the SEC, seems to be worried about stemming a decline in attendance and enhancing the game day experience to lure folks away from their big-screen TVs and a fridge full of beer at home. I saw where McGarity justified it by saying they didn’t know how much income the new SEC Network would produce, but you’ve got to figure that with ESPN running the show, that network is going to produce a pretty nice chunk of change for all the conference schools. Is it really wise to tack a ticket price increase on top of that at a school that already has a $69 million surplus? Really!!?? What’s your take on this, Bill?

I think there’s never a good time for a price increase in anything, really. Of course, as McGarity has noted, the athletic department has “limited ways to generate revenue. Unless we have increases in SEC money — and nobody knows what the new TV network is going to generate — football is the only real revenue source that we have.” Plus, the price of football tickets for games in Athens hasn’t increased since 2008. Georgia’s ticket prices — $40 to $45 — also rank in the bottom third of what SEC programs charge. And Dawgs 247 reported McGarity brought up another point in talking with reporters: Schools like Ohio State that charge more for tickets than UGA make a much greater profit per game, which could be a factor in any future “bidding war” for nonconference opponents.

On the other hand, you make some good points, Sammy. Particularly about the SEC Network. It may not be known at this point how much SEC schools will rake in from that venture, but if the examples of other conference networks is any indication, it’ll be quite a bit. Also, UGA may still be selling out its entire allotment of 55,000 season tickets, and donations to the Hartman Fund to get the right to buy those tickets actually exceeded projections this year, but the continued scheduling of cupcake nonconference games could erode that fan dedication. I’ve heard more than one longtime UGA season ticket holder talk about dropping out of the program in favor of buying tickets to the individual games they really want to see via StubHub and skipping the others. They figure that, even paying a premium for the good games in the secondary market, they’ll still end up shelling out less than they do for season tickets when you factor in the Hartman Fund contribution. It’s a problem a lot of major college programs are still trying to figure out how to handle.

Should Todd Gurley be considered just another college student? (Associated Press)

Should Todd Gurley be considered just another college student? (Associated Press)

Rosie in Rome writes: Bill, I know the AJC “found it a little alarming” that Todd Gurley was skateboarding and “hanging off balconies” while visiting in Hollywood, but I fail to see what the problem is here. He may be a star football player and a Heisman Trophy candidate, but he’s still a college kid, and compared with what lots of other college kids get up to, skateboarding seems pretty mild. And the photo I saw had him sitting on the railing of a balcony, not hanging off it. Can you say exaggeration? How about we let these young athletes have some semblance of normal life instead of stalking them online even when school is out and they’re away from Athens?

You’re right about college football players still being students and kids, Rosie, but I’m afraid there’s no way to undo today’s social media age, which allows reporters and other observers to follow what athletes are up to in their time off. And when it comes to a high-profile player like Gurley, who’s had to overcome some injury problems, I can understand why the thought of him skateboarding might raise a few eyebrows. I remember the ruckus that was raised in the winter of 2011 when Aaron Murray sprained an ankle playing in a pickup soccer game on campus. Murray, a player known for his hard work and dedication, swore off messing around with other sports after that. “No more soccer. No basketball, soccer, baseball, softball — none of that stuff. Just football from here on out,” the UGA quarterback said. But that was his own choice. Mark Richt has never put restrictions on playing other sports or participating in various activities because, he said after the Murray incident, “I want these guys to live their lives and enjoy it. It seems like no matter what you do, somebody can still stumble down the stairs and get hurt.”

As the AJC’s Chip Towers, who first reported on Gurley’s vacation pix posted to Instagram said, “I think about things I did as a 19-year-old (Gurley doesn’t turn 20 until Aug. 3), like jumping off cliffs into the Chattahoochee River and playing pick-up tackle football games on hard-pan fields, and I just shrug at what Gurley does with his free time. Then again, I wasn’t preparing to try to win a championship for my school or sign a multi-million-dollar professional contract.” So, basically, it’s up to Gurley. I don’t think you want him to constantly be worried about hurting himself and the long-range implications. When that happens, you tend to get players who don’t go all-out in their final college year because they’re worried about their NFL prospects. I’d rather have Gurley living life free of such concerns, even if that means shooting around on a skateboard.

Bob in Richmond writes: Hey Bill, Georgia’s new uniforms of last season had one distinct difference from all others, going back to the Wally Butts era. The jersey numerals are now “rounded,” where in past years and decades, they always had a “squared” or “framed” design. In other words, the numerals now look very curved, rather than the squared look of all here-to-fore Dawg jerseys. While, to some, the difference may seem to be insignificant, it clearly distorts the traditional “Georgia Look.” I have no other complaints about the new unis. To change the numerals design would make them perfect. Is this a difference you had also noticed? Have you heard of any other such complaints about the numerals? Should we hold out any hope of getting the numerals restored to their original “look”.

The Bulldog Bold font numbers, seen on Garrison Smith, weren't a big hit with some fans. (Philip Williams / UGA)

The Bulldog Bold font numbers, seen on Garrison Smith, weren’t a big hit with some fans. (Philip Williams / UGA)

Yeah, Bob, a lot of fans noticed the different look and most weren’t that thrilled with it, but I think it’s a relatively minor point. The more rounded numbers were part of a switch to a different font, dubbed Bulldog Bold, that Nike created for all UGA athletic teams as part of an overall branding effort. Considering the sort of Oregon-inspired changes Nike would have liked to introduce, but which UGA rejected, I think we should be happy rounded numbers was the worst of it.

IndianaDawg writes: Bill, have you heard any more about the possibility of Georgia and Notre Dame signing a home-and-home football deal? I know those of us UGA grads stuck up here in Irish-land would love to see it happen!

No official word, Indy, although as you probably saw CBS Sports reported a few weeks back that Notre Dame and Georgia were in discussions about such a deal, possibly for 2018-2019. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, who first mentioned Georgia as a natural matchup for the Fighting Irish last year, touched on the idea again recently in a Fox Sports podcast, saying that he and athletic director Jack Swarbrick “want to get an SEC team on our schedule,” and indicated that Georgia “would be the best draw for us as it relates to recruiting and an alumni base.” UGA’s Greg McGarity has said previously, “I think it’d be great for the University of Georgia if we were able to make it happen,” so I have a feeling this is something that will become a reality eventually.

Switching sports for a moment, a tip of the Bulldog cap to Georgia men’s golf coach Chris Haack’s program, whose alums are having a terrific run on the PGA Tour, with five former Dogs having won this season (Bubba Watson, Brendon Todd, Russell Henley, Harris English and Chris Kirk). My friend Dan passed along a great comment from Alan Shipnuck of Sports Illustrated, who noted that, as Southern Cal is to running backs and Penn State is to linebackers, so is UGA to PGA tour champions. Go Dogs!

Finally, I hope you all enjoy a safe, fun Memorial Day weekend, but amid the barbecues and family outings, take just a moment to remember what the holiday is all about: honoring the men and women who died in the service of our country. Without them, we wouldn’t be safe to enjoy those Big Green Eggs!

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Email junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

103 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

New practice fields look beautiful.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Richt leads the series against every team in the east...except for fla and the gap is closing though. The best is yet to come! Richt will win us a championship this year.

Dawg350
Dawg350

We have beaten every team in the sec enough for us too brag about it. The only thing that has eluded Richt is the championships...but that's going to change this year. This will be the year of the dawg!

Dawg350
Dawg350

We are gonna pluck the feathers off of those roosters, we gonna have some barbecued chicken down Columbia sc in September! We gonna send spurrier into an assisted living complex down there in crack town Columbia!!! 2014 will be the year of the Dawg! Commit to the G!

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

One thing for sure, Richt trying to get "Balance", with new gimmick,err... I mean S&C additive FUSIONETICS!

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

Running shoes are hideous.  Nike designers suck.  Oregon has the ugliest uniforms in history.

RandyHall
RandyHall

Increase the ticket prices....isn't time for CMR TO WIN A NC!!! A broken record...yes...we all know IT IS TIME!!! 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Happy Memorial Day everybody! Hot dawg I hope you're having a good day!

HotDawg
HotDawg

Happy Memorial Day!

God Bless America

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

I would also be willing to pay more for improvements at Sanford stadium.  For example, add Wi-Fi and improve cell phone service on game day.  Improve the concession stands:  the lines move too slowly or there are not enough concessions.  The food quality is poor.  When it is cold, keep enough hot chocolate to supply the demand (how hard can this be??? Apparently it is VERY hard to do because they NEVER get it right).

Do something to improve crowd flow in the concourse on the home side after the games.  It becomes a massive human traffic jam every game.   Fix the clocks and timers in the stadium.  How can something that should be so basic and only has to work right 6 or 7 times a year break so often???   Get someone who knows how to update scores correctly or how to proofread to check the scores before posting and keep them current!!!



Replace the lousy tube TVs with new, High Def flat screens that work!   We supposedly have a multi-million dollar surplus, even without ticket price increases.  Let's put it to work and make the game day experience first-rate.  This is directed at you, Mr. McGarity!

DawginCO
DawginCO

A tiered price structure makes sense.  Just add the same price to the big games that you subtract from the cupcakes.  I think $15 is a good number.  Make the Premium games $60 and the cupcakes $30.  I think other teams already do that.

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

I personally would be willing to pay more for one or two games if it would lead to better matchups at home.  I would also like to see prices reduced for the "cupcake" games and games against Division 1-AA (I know the old name for it) should be forbidden or re-classified as scrimmages and ticket prices dropped to half or less of what they cost for other opponents.

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

My impression with the Nike uniform redesigns, both ours and other schools that I have noticed, is that everything that Nike touches, Nike ruins. The design for the Boise State game was hideous on every level and yet they did it anyway.  It had nothing to do with winning or losing the game but it was awful.  These minor changes, like the numbers, are also not an improvement.  Who is in charge of design for Nike?  They don't know what they are doing.

RxDawg
RxDawg

Rounded #'s > Blocked #'s

Sometimes change is good

Classof98
Classof98

I kind of like the rounded numerals.

Buzz-Off
Buzz-Off

Do you guys think Bama fans whine a lot about their home football schedule and prices? I'll take our home games against the Tide. Their home schedule includes: Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Western Carolina.....and Mississippi State is not really a game to get routinely excited about. It looks like we are not the only team playing cupcakes. I think the big problem with adding teams like ND, USC, etc to our schedule is we will disadvantage ourselves against teams who continue to play cupcakes. In fact, watch the CBS report on what teams have the toughest schedules to make it to the play-offs. UGa is listed as having one of the 4 toughest schedules. Let's be careful what we wish for in dumping cupcakes in favor of top 10 opponents.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Bill.....very interesting last couple of columns.

What nerve will be hit in next weeks column? Lol

LostGoat
LostGoat

ticket prices-----they can jack up prices a lot more and still make more money!  they'll lose a few season ticket holders but make a lot more in the additional revenue from the fans that keep buying.  it's a matter of time.

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

Didn't see an AJC headline each time the paper raised its price for a newspaper and I remember when the daily paper was 10 cents.


Didn't see an AJC headline when the AJC started to charge for premium web site news either. How's that going?


But raise Georgia fooball ticket prices and you would think from the headlines that the AJC was reporting on the Pearl Harbor attack.  Oh, that would be on the MyAJC website wouldn't it?

DawgNole
DawgNole

BK: ". . . donations to the Hartman Fund to get the right to buy those tickets actually exceeded projections this year, but the continued scheduling of cupcake nonconference games could erode that fan dedication. I’ve heard more than one longtime UGA season ticket holder talk about dropping out of the program in favor of buying tickets to the individual games they really want to see via StubHub and skipping the others. They figure that, even paying a premium for the good games in the secondary market, they’ll still end up shelling out less than they do for season tickets when you factor in the Hartman Fund contribution. It’s a problem a lot of major college programs are still trying to figure out how to handle."

___________________________

What's so difficult to figure out?

STOP PLAYING CUPCAKES!

PERIOD!

almmanduane75
almmanduane75

The rounded numbers wasn't the only thing that was worst about the changes to the uniforms.

That black inner tube we're now wearing around the collar sucks too.

Some one needs to get a grip and get our team back looking like Georgia.

Why does everything in this world have to be changed?

Can't we leave stuff alone anymore? 

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

Flat, i was a ticket holder way back when--let them go just a few years ago--due to logistics and distance.  The Hartman fund has been around for years (student athletic--academic fund or whatever). 

Tenn, etc... have outrageous prices for their tickets.  Still, i see your frustration.

Bill, my concern is the SEC network: first, i have signed up for it when it comes on board on Dish network; second, might it not cause a lot of people to just sit at home and watch in the luxury and calmness of their own living room.  One of the reasons i do not go much anymore is the logistics but also the leisure of watcing at home on a big screen HD TV--the SEC network just made that much easier.  It is just a guess but it may not bode well for actual fans in the seats--we shall see.  I personally like it because it allows me to see games that usually i do not get to watch. 

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

Bill, First, thanks for your sincere mention of our fallen hero's............and you're right, without their sacrifice, we would not be free to enjoy life as we know it............College football ticket sales [along with tv] supports an awful lot of student atheletes............so I'm not too worked up. I would prefer Todd Gurley not ride a skateboard, or get near a balcony..........But let's let the young man live his life, and hope he makes wise choices.No I do not like the "new and improved" jersey numerals [can't stand 'em].............and I am looking so forward to beating the poop out of Notre Dame......."Between the hedges"..............GOOOOOO   DAWGS

HotDawg
HotDawg

Wearing number 7 for the KC Chiefs.....Our boy Aaron.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Appears the golf team got too far behind to contend in the championship round.

And softball team lost the super regional.

Keep your heads up high......Both had great years.

We're proud of ya'll.

Go Dawgs!

Chuck_UGA
Chuck_UGA

Interesting that McGarity compares UGA to Ohio State and other teams who have actually won a conference title or something more meaningful than a Cap One Bowl or Independence Bowl. Fact is Greg, you have nothing to tie a price increase to except for TV projections. Georgia hasn't won squat since the 2005 season, and only has that Hawaii Sugar Bowl as a major accomplishment since. Truly there is no reason to raise prices until you accomplish something...and nothing has been accomplished! My Hartmann Fund will decrease further closer to the minimum if you plan to nail us with a price increase. Win and we will respond generously. But today, there is no validation to point to.

HotDawg
HotDawg

And God Bless her fallen and wounded heroes.

Be safe today fellow Dawgs.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Bells and whistles are nice, but when i go, I'm there to watch the game on the field.

I feel many of those stadium "extras" interrupt my experience.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Dawg in CO

I agree with you about improving the cell service....but please no wi-fi! People will be looking at their laptops instead of the actual game. A lot of people already don't watch the game...to begin with...they just see it has a social event...that's fine and all...but if I go to a game I'm there to watch the dawgs play....not walk around and talk for 3 hrs.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@DawgVoiceofReason Im sure with the ticket increase; the fan experience will greatly improve with things like louder music; increased concession prices with longer wait times; more pay raises with lack luster results and tube tv's that actually play sound

DawginCO
DawginCO

@DawgVoiceofReason the Oregon folks were not happy with the design changes to their unis in the beginning but they quickly clammed up when top recruits started coming to their school because they thought the new designs were  cool.  Funny how that works.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@DawgVoiceofReason Unfortunately, for every one of us that are less than thrilled with the changes, there are 4 more that think it is cool.  And that means that the Nike folks know what they are doing because their job is to inspire renewed interest in the design.  They go by the overall numbers and ignore the traditionalists that are not happy.


It's the way corporations deal with such things.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Buzz-Off   With 4 National titles in the last 20 years I would say Bama fans are getting what they pay for


UGA with 1 one loss season in 30 years I think there might be a reason to question a ticket price increase to already over priced tickets

HotDawg
HotDawg

That was a funny post old guy. Good one.

Although it is worthwhile news for a Georgia blog and AJC. We are a majority of the readership.

BillKing
BillKing moderator

@Dog4Life Dog4Life

Yeah, for sure one of the reasons attendance in college football is slipping is the proliferation of televised games. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg yea the athletic program is doing well under the current administration more reasons why ticket prices need to be raised

DawginCO
DawginCO

@Chuck_UGA have you looked at what Ohio St charges?  Before you get your panties in a wad over a $5 increase go look it up.  They make you buy 2 tickets and it costs $136 for the pair in the worst seats in the place.  $68 vs $45.  Hmmmm.  And this is a team that was on probation in recent years.  The last time they won the B1G was in 2009.  They were supposed to be the team to beat for at least 1 of the slots in the BCS CG.  Instead they lost their last 2 games.  They play virtually no one but still charge $23 more for the crappiest seats in the Horseshoe.  Yeah, Georgia is way out of whack.


Get your heads out of your rear ends and stop the whining.  Good lord.

Dawg350
Dawg350

No you're wrong. We have won the sec a couple of times since then. UGA will turn up this year! UGA 2014 national champs! Quit hating flat tire!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg keep raising the ticket prices where the avg joe who actually wants to see a UGA cant afford it then your left with corporate types who use UGA games as tax right offs for corporate leisure get aways

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@DawginCO  I think you are right.  I know some of the issues I listed have been talked about (and that is the problem for me, too much talk and too little action).  When I get reminded of how much money we have and how much we pay, I get frustrated.  The things I listed could all be easily fixed (except maybe the concourse) and yet some of them have been issues for years.  

DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

@DawginCO  It seems like McGarity listened to the complaints from UGA fans, though.  We haven't yet seen a replay of the power ranger uniforms and McGarity has commented on the outcry against those uniforms.  

For Oregon, if they don't become the norm, I think it's fine that they have dozens if not hundreds of variations.  Some of them look alright and I would call them "cool".  But they also didn't have much of a football tradition (compared to other schools like us) to break from that tradition.  To me, that's what their uniforms say:  They have no tradition, and they are proud of it!

RandyHall
RandyHall

@Dawg350  Hope you are right....if UGA won a NC, it would totally revamp the program....time for underperformers like Ray Drew, John Theus, Jay Rome, Tray Matthews, Damien Swann to step up!!! Become All-SEC performers....and TIME FOR CMR TO STEP UP AND WIN A NC!!!!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@HotDawg Yes thank goodness for Womens swimming; Golf; and Softball for winning a conference championship; in recent years; we are doing wonders

HotDawg
HotDawg

Yes they are doing well. 2nd in all sec sports trophy this year.