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Post Why students should, but won’t, get most of 2020’s tickets

Sunday August 23, 2020

If I had one issue with the ticket plan, it’s this: I was disappointed to see that only 3,000 tickets will be reserved for students. I understand why: the first half of Greg McGarity’s letter outlining the new ticket policy clearly laid out the financial stakes, and as many people as possible need to be paying the full $150/game. Students also won’t contribute as much to the struggling Athens economy that depends on home games. There are still some very good reasons why students should get a larger share:

  • Students are in a much lower-risk group than the typical fan. Of course COVID-19 has affected all age groups, but on average those around college age are much less likely to face severe disease or worse if there is transmission among the crowd.
  • Donors will be able to be right back in their same seats next year and beyond. Students, on the other hand, have a limited time to enjoy the experience of attending a game as a student. Student tickets are already constrained by a lottery. Alumni can recall how their passion for watching Georgia football and their lifelong relationship with the program was cultivated in the student section. Even fewer students will have that experience now.
  • Students are more likely to make noise. With attendance limited, you want to maximize the impact of those who are in the stands.
  • If tickets were limited to students, groups of fans without tickets would be less tempted to come to Athens to tailgate or score a ticket.
  • Perhaps most importantly, students won’t have to travel to the game. By the first home game, students will have been in Athens for at least six weeks. Their loose networks of contacts will have stabilized. Local initial outbreaks might have settled down. Other fans will travel in from areas with varying levels of outbreak. Tens of thousands of people descending on Athens from all corners of the state four times during the fall will establish potentially new networks of transmission when those fans return home.

I trust that a lot of thought has been put into keeping the gameday experience as safe as possible for those who are able to attend. Of course any policy comes down to compliance and enforcement, and we’ll see how that goes.

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