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Post Unused student tickets spur McGarity into action

Wednesday September 29, 2010

The Red & Black has a story today about how nearly half of the student tickets allocated for the Arkansas game went unused. Only 10,000 out of 18,000 student tickets were used for the September 18 game.

It’s not a new development, and athletic department officials have been watching it for more than a year. Claude Felton explained, “We have data from fall last year and this year until this point. And the students that all have tickets are not all coming to the games.” New athletic director Greg McGarity nails how big of an issue this is. “We’re suffering as a program, as an institution,” McGarity said. “When we’re on TV and they show the stadium, there’s 5,000 or 6,000 empty seats — that’s embarrassing.” If you were at the Arkansas game, you know what McGarity is talking about.

Based on those observations that some student tickets go unused for every home game, Georgia will sell an additional 1,000 student tickets for the upcoming Tennessee game to underclassmen who received a split season ticket package that didn’t include the Tennessee game. The hope is to fill, or at least come closer to filling, the student sections.

It’s a short-term solution, and McGarity is already talking about revamping the student ticket process as soon as next season. His experience at Florida should help, but he also plans to study how other major programs distribute student tickets.

“The intent is to how can we provide a system that will allow enough students in to where we can manage it and know that Thursday at 5 o’clock that we have ‘x’ amount of seats left that we can either put on sale or reissue to students that didn’t qualify for tickets,” McGarity said. “How can we? That’s our challenge. So, we’re gonna benchmark other institutions to see how they do that.”

We all know the current state of the team, but the season wasn’t in the tank heading into the Arkansas game. It’s probably going to end up being the highest-profile home game of the year, but student turnout was abysmal and noticed. The students who were at the game were loud and involved as they almost always are. They helped the crowd that stayed for the entire game make a difference during Georgia’s comeback. They’re not the problem. Even with the team struggling this year, there are thousands of students who would love to go to the games, and I’m glad to see the athletic director making this issue a priority.

4 Responses to 'Unused student tickets spur McGarity into action'

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  • Totally agree Groo. Ive always been proud if our stadium and to see those empties at such a big game was disheartening. I figured something would be done, but am thrilled that McGarity’s wasting no time.

  • Was watching the ARK game on TV with a Clemson fan and he asked what was up with the empty seats. At the time, I had to say I didn’t know. How embarrassing…..

    I remember waiting outside Stegman for 13+ hours to get FB tickets before the ’98 season, but now, students aren’t showing??!!

  • The problem is that many students buy them with the sole intent of re-selling them. The HOPE Scholarship has done wonders for the University, but this is one of the unfortunate side-effects. It has attracted a higher percentage of students who do not care about supporting Bulldog athletics.

    I saw it during my undergrad not that long ago and it looks like it’s gotten more pronounced.

  • Hobnail, you’re right about the selling of the tickets, but that’s something that’s always happened (regardless of HOPE). In my opinion, it has much more to do with the changes that occurred a few years ago regarding Student Tickets. Up until about six years ago, student tickets could be resold and used by anyone. Now, student tickets can only be used by a UGA student presenting a valid student ID.

    Formerly, the UGA student wishing to sell his or her ticket (that he/she purchased for EIGHT DOLLARS) would find a buyer willing to pay fair market price (which for a big game could easily be upwards of 100 dollars). When anyone could use the ticket, there were plenty of older people (especially young alumni) who flooded the market as willing buyers. Now, with the regulations, the majority of the buyers of student tickets are no longer able to do so. The thousands of young alumni (not to mention just non-student fans in general) coming into town for games who haven’t contributed enough money to the Hartman fund to receive season tickets no longer have this option to acquire tickets. The students themselves generally don’t have the money to pay 100 dollars for a single game ticket (or won’t pay), so the ticket goes unused, which is why the student sections are the empty seats (that, and the fact that we’ve had two noon games and the students haven’t staggered in yet).