Posted: 11:11 am Thursday, May 29th, 2014

UGA’s game day experience: Loud music and cupcakes, but no beer 

By Bill King

UGA is looking for ways to enhance the game day experience at Sanford Stadium. (Perry McIntyre Jr. / UGA)

UGA is looking for ways to enhance the game day experience at Sanford Stadium. (Perry McIntyre Jr. / UGA)

Athletic Director Greg McGarity talked some more about efforts to upgrade the game day experience at Sanford Stadium this week while attending the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

UGA already had announced that cellphone use inside the stadium should be much enhanced this fall. And, since the conference is loosening up rules on when recorded music and artificial sound can be played during games — letting schools crank up the P.A. between plays until the center is over the football — Georgia is enthusiastically scrambling aboard that bandwagon after experiencing what that sort of game environment is like last year at Clemson. The athletic board approved nearly a million bucks last week for improvements to Sanford’s sound system.

The Athens Banner-Herald quoted McGarity as saying that UGA is “not going to go over the edge like some schools do” but plans on using recorded music more often to build excitment, “maybe on third-down defensive plays.”

He promises, however, that “We are going to do so, I think, in a very tasteful manner.”

If the experiment at trying this during the recent G-Day game is any indication, you can substitute “painful” for “tasteful” in that sentence.

Of course, some older fans aren’t going to like the playing of rock or hip-hop tunes that aren’t familiar to them, but that wasn’t the problem at the spring game. Rather, the decibel level of the pre-recorded music used between plays was so uncomfortable that fans were covering their ears and even plugging them with wadded up napkins.

At least McGarity seems to recognize some adjustments might be in order. “We’ve tasked our staff to create an atmosphere and environment that hopefully pleases everyone,” he told the ABH. “It’s difficult to do but we’re going to try to touch all levels or all decades of music during that effort. We’ve got some training to do, but hopefully we’ll get that started for the Clemson game.”

Recorded music should not be allowed to diminish the role of the Redcoat Band at games. (Ted Mayer / UGA)

Recorded music should not be allowed to diminish the role of the Redcoat Band at games. (Ted Mayer / UGA)

I don’t mind them playing recorded music if they can turn the volume level down a few notches, but I hope this doesn’t mean we’ll be hearing less from the Redcoat Band during games. The bands are one of the things that set college football apart from its less colorful and charming pro cousin, and I’d hate to see the role of those hard-working student musicians diminished.

Meanwhile, schools elsewhere (including LSU) are looking at other ways to “enhance” the game day experience for fans (read: do something about declining attendance while also boosting revenue) by selling beer at games — something currently prohibited by SEC rules. Even if the conference were to change that, though, don’t look for that to happen any time soon in Athens, if ever.

“It’s not on any agenda. It’s not on any plans moving forward,” McGarity told the Macon Telegraph in Destin, adding that neither he nor UGA President Jere Morehead is in favor of alcohol sales at Sanford Stadium or at the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville.

Which suits me just fine. Those who wish to view football games through a drunken haze already show up at the stadium well lubricated. Let them keep drinking openly inside and it definitely is not going to enhance the game day experience for the sober fans.

Of course, one school of thought on how to make attending college football games more attractive is adding more marquee names to the schedule while getting rid of some of the lesser opponents, particularly the FCS or 1-AA schools that now usually occupy at least one spot on most teams’ home slates. It might help the conference in terms of strength-of-schedule concerns about the upcoming College Football Playoff, too.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said in Destin that he wants the Gators to stop playing FCS schools — and not just because UF was embarrassed last year by Georgia Southern. No, the Telegraph quoted Boom as saying it’s because  he thinks the “fan base as much as anything wants to see better opponents.”

Even if Muschamp’s boss, Jeremy Foley, goes along with that idea (which is far from certain), the rest of the conference apparently still plans on scheduling FCS opponents, with UGA’s Mark Richt and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier making the argument that it’s good for college football to give the smaller programs a big pay day.

As the AJC reported, Richt, who is on the board of trustees with the American Football Coaches Association, said he’s for keeping the FCS opponents because “if we … don’t have those games with the FCS schools, a lot of them have a very difficult time making their budgets. I think college football is too important at all levels to hurt them by setting criteria that would not allow you to play them.”

Anyway, he thinks Georgia is in good shape, in terms of strength of schedule, with Georgia Tech on its nonconference schedule every year, plus the school plans to continue to add “some goodies” in the way of major nonconference opponents, with McGarity saying negotiations for a Georgia-Notre Dame home-and-home deal later this decade are progressing.

I’m glad to hear that, and I understand the need for some relative “breathers” on the schedule, considering how rough it is negotiating the conference schedule these days. But there’s no denying that scheduling the likes of Southern and ULM (as Georgia has done for 2015) is going to result in fewer fans in the stands — loud music or even beer, notwithstanding.

What are your thoughts on how to “enhance” game day in Athens?

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53 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

Let's just win.....that is the top experience

DawginCO
DawginCO

Iguess from looking back at my previous comment that my idea of enhancing the gameday experience is more about anything that makes opposing teams uncomfortable.  Why don't we have a bulldog growling and barking?  ??

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA will be the best team in CFB! Go dawgs!

RxDawg
RxDawg

If it ain't broke...game day is just fine IMO. But I can understand playing some singalong songs more often to pump the crowd.   VaTech's playing of enter sandman is one of the most bada$$ things in college football imo.  Auburn STEALING the rocky theme is not.   Crooks....

But I digress.   The problem with scheduling better quality opponents to draw people to games sounds good.   Except that means you going to have more loses, and with more loses comes more apathy.  So be careful.   That said, having a score of 42-3 at halftime doesn't exactly look very appealing does it.  Give the other team a handicap score like in golf? 

RED DOG 77
RED DOG 77

Bill, Could it be that we are just plain spoiled fans? I look around and see an SEC schedule, and wow! there is some pretty serious football being played.........there is no longer an automatic win with your SEC foes, Georgia Tech, though a lesser team always seems to play us to the wire............so that leaves three games to further the "college experience" in football App State v Michigan..........Louisiana Monroe v Alabama.........Boise State v Oklahoma[ one of the best bowl games ever played] and my favorite Ga. Southern v Florida........I'm afraid we live in a culture that says "we want a national championship now"........."We want every game to be the greatest yet" or "we want to play the big boys every week"............Me? I think we're doing pretty well schedule wise, I just hope we can get a hold of Notre Dame........and none of our  three "little guys" turns and bites us in the back side

DawginCO
DawginCO

The Redcoats should be mic'd and properly mixed through the stadium sound system.

Alcohol sales aren't about fan experience.  It's about moola.  No one that wants to be soused during the game has ever had a problem getting that accomplished.

Get Chris Conley to produce a video to use as an introduction at every home game.  Use light and sound.  Get some dramatic symphonic , movie theme-esque, music to play at proper moments.  Record an angry bulldog growling and barking and play it at various times.  That is just plain old fashioned psychological warfare.



mgadawg
mgadawg

The best way to enhance the game day experience is practically free in my opinion, loosen up the tailgating rules.  I've been to the majority of the other SEC schools and UGA is on par with Vanderbilt when it comes to tailgating, it is really a sad thing.  This is something that is hard to duplicate at your house.  I love going to Jacksonville and part of the reason is the tailgating.

Having said that I don't think selling alcohol is a good idea.  Many UGA fans come from far away and actually sober up during the game for the ride home.  Also, it wasn't that long ago that alcohol got UGA athletics in some trouble.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Look at the pictures above. Honestly, does it look like there is a problem with the gameday experience?

This extra bells and whistles stuff is extremely overblown.

Enjoy the extras, but remember the entire point of being there in the first place.

Go Dawgs!

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

Is all this game-day music going to eventually spell doom to the band. If so, i prefer to keep the Redcoats and who cares about trying to out hip hop clemscum.

Do you see now why so many of us are opting out from the game day experience to the stay at home w/ full range facilities, no lines, and plenty of food.  Thank God the SEc network is coming--now i can really watch a lot of SEC football w/o worrying about missing any great football.  At the game, the score boards are okay with updates but at home i have absolute control of the remote. 

I will go to the Auburn game and the bowl games but for all the rest i will watch in the comfort of my den (Dawg Room).   

restaurantsatl
restaurantsatl

Haha, I bet Muschamp doesn't want to play FCS schools after last year. Careful what you wish for. If he keeps losing, he'll be coaching at an FCS school soon.

BakerOwens
BakerOwens

Duh. Ways to improve game day experience? New stadium...that's always the answer apparently.

ATLGSUEAGLE
ATLGSUEAGLE

Ga Southern beat UF 26-20, UGA beat UF 23-20


Who is the cupcake? 

FlatTire
FlatTire

Bill King



I agree about wanting to hear more from the band. 

Frankly I could care less about music being played on the speakers.  If I want to hear music I will bring my ipod or go to a concert.  Playing music isnt going to fill the seats you can be sure of that.


Hopefully they turn the volume down as well.  I wouldnt be surprised if the music played during the spring game was heard 90 miles away.

FlatTire
FlatTire

Thank goodness they arent considering beer.  Having to deal with an obnoxious drunk all game ruins the day

SinceVince
SinceVince

Playing hard nosed slobber knocking football and beating top 25 opponents will enhance the game day experience big time! Not losing to teams like Vandy will also get the fan base energized.. Now for the excuses 3 2 1....

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA gonna win that natty this year! Sanford stadium will be a rocking!

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA gonna win that natty this year! Sanford stadium will be a rocking.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

For that kind of money, someone with knowledge of GOOD QUALITY sound systems should be able to half way please both grops. I was at the 2014 G-day game, and was in two different spots during the game. I was on the fifty just under the overhang for most of it, but was up under the SkySuites for a portion as well. The problem with the sound system that was used at G-Day sounded like a high wattage P.A. system, with a not so good distortion rating. Systems with a low distortion rating relative to it's power, (wattage rating), can be turned up louder than the old regular P.A. type system, without the annoying, ear drum rattling that everyone witnessed at the G-Day game. Here's hoping that they have someone who is expert in the field to spend the $950,000.00 put aside for the job. 

ARdawg
ARdawg

Let the FCS schools worry about their own revenue and budgets. If it's that important to Richt he can donate a million of his salary to the school(s) of his choice. Most Georgia fans want to see competitive games in Sanford stadium. If you must schedule  "a" cupcake a year but, 2 or more is too many

zulucanibal
zulucanibal

Less promotion of Jason Alden. I saw his face waaaaaaaaay to much on the jumbo tron last year during the USC game. 

bigshotdawg
bigshotdawg

My game day experience can be improved by winning the game.

HotDawg
HotDawg

There are 90,000+ Bulldogs barking every game! Woof Woof!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr (growling) lol

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@Dawg350 


So!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is where you have been hiding!!!!!!!!!!!


Whassssssssuppppppp??

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

@mgadawg True but UGA has so many restrictions and conditions to tailgating that it is more of a logistical nightmare than an enjoyable event. I also agree with Dawg inCO--sometimes its the simplest of things that enhance and make the experience memorable.

Moreover, i realize i will catch some heat for this, but i would rather listen to Gary Danielson than Scott Howard.  Danielson was a big Aaron Murray fan and he liked CMR--he was critical of our bad defenses over the last few years--his honesty of us blowing games was despised by many as a "I hate UGA!"  But the reality of it is he told the truth.  Verne, well he is just verne.  I also like Andre Ware and Dave Neal.

I know the above was off topic but he helps me make up my mind about driving 5 hrs and grueling through the parking and restricted tailgating in Athens.  I lived in Athens for 17 yrs and didn't think too much about it, but when one has to travel so far--logistics and ease or difficulty of those logistics trumps game day experience. Just my opinion. 

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

@HotDawg I agree--but i refuse to pay the cost and logistics for ULL or a smaller school.  However, i agree with CMR, many of these little schools need to sacrifice themselves on the altar of D1 CFB for the payout to help their programs stay afloat. I am sort of torn on this subject.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@ATLGSUEAGLE  


2012 UGA 45  GSU 14

2008 UGA 45  GSU 21

2004 UGA 48 GSU 28

2000 UGA 29 GSU 7

1992 UGA 34 GSU 7


I would say GSU is the cupcake;  tell the party coordinator not to mix kool-aid in the punch next time

WDE
WDE

@ATLGSUEAGLE   kudos to your bunch for beating the Gators last year , but just don't lose your mind.

TheMonger
TheMonger

@FlatTire Having to deal with a judgemental, preachy, holier-than-thou sober person is even worse, let me tell you

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ColumbusDawg  Many people don't understand how that works.  It may be plenty loud but the loudness comes at a severely degraded quality of sound.  I just experienced it today.  Cheap speakers being overdriven.  The midrange suffers horribly.  It's painful.  The key in a stadium is to get the sound source away from the stands and disperse it properly.  If you put anyone underneath blasting speakers they will have a very poor listening experience.


Hell if you want the field level sound to be blasting, then hide the speakers in the hedges.  LOL.  Especially behind the visitors bench.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@ARdawg Maybe the Power 5 ought to examine a way to send support to the FCS schools they are wanting to help maintain football programs without going the "buy a win" route?  Maybe send single digit percentage of the TV money to them or something like that.  I have heard both sides of the argument and I do think that there might be some justification for lending a helping hand but not at the "but a win" level.

In the nearby future the scheduling is going to be adjusted because of the SoS component of the playoff selection committee's formula.  Someone is going to get left out because of one too many cupcakes.  It is going to happen and when it does the scramble will be on.

1 FCS cupcake and 1 smaller FBS school per year should be the limit.  If I were part of the committee no school that opened the year with 2 or 3 cupcakes in a row would ever get my vote.  No one should open with a cupcake.  If that is the way schools want to go then start setting up exhibition games that don't count officially.  Otherwise schedule 1 cupcake in late September and 1 in November.    

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@ARdawg Well said, sir. 

My preference is for a "dietary" schedule: no cupcakes.

DawginCO
DawginCO

@HotDawg lol but not many sound very ferocious.  I think a 100-105 db growl coming from every direction would make some opposing players paranoid, don't you think?  lol

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@Dog4Life @mgadawg 


For those of you who don't remember, or maybe were a part of the problem, there is

a D A M N G O O D reason tailgating was changed in Athens.


The filth was unbelievable, unbearable and just completely unacceptable!!!!  I wouldn't walk through the tailgating areas with hip boots on. It is truly a shame that those responsible for most of it didn't have to do a little community service like maybe 5,000 hours and police the entire area pertaining to football.

RxDawg
RxDawg

@Dog4Life @mgadawg Verne is too old. Should of been gone loooong ago.   Agree with you on Gary though.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TheMonger   let me know when that preachy holier-than-thou person pukes all over you like Ive seen or spills his beer on you cause he's too drunk to have a stable hand or starts a fight cause he's too stupid to realize whats going on and is so loud and vulgar kids cant be around him.

I have yet to see those things from a preachy holier-than-thou sober person at a ball game

SinceVince
SinceVince

Yeah WDE its good to hang our hat on that and the South Carolina win last year...

zulucanibal
zulucanibal

@SimpleDawg  well outside of the fact he is the face of prepackage country music that sings mostly about wasting fuel in his monster truck while driving down some dirt road...drives me nuts he is so buddy buddy with UGA.  Really when I go to a game I prefer to watch football and not have some promotion of some musical want a be.

Snagglepuss
Snagglepuss

@FlatTire @TheMonger 


We must have been in the same area or maybe the entire stadium was soused.


I will  N E V E R U N D E R S T A N D  why certain people can't survive without getting soused at  A N Y     E V E N T if they think someone will think they are cool.

WDE
WDE

@Bubbatavious anytime you beat a current top 10 team it's a good time even a fake dog fan should agree ?  

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Bubbatavious  Im sure the victory over App St last year was the game changer heading into this season

DawginCO
DawginCO

@zulucanibal  The solution is simple.  Don't watch it.  When I'm at the game I look at the screen for replays and that is about it.  If they play music I don't like, I tune it out.