Game Attendance – What, Me Worry?

LHB-001 5-26-2013

Game attendance has been a source of concern for SEC AD’s for the past few years.

“It’s at the top of our list of concerns, and we talk about it constantly,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “We talk about improving the experience and doing things in our stadium that people are doing at home. We provided look-ins this past year on our video board of other games going on, and I don’t think that would have even been thought of 10 years ago.”The majority of people are coming to the games to enjoy the team. There is a tradition here, but if we ever took the stance that people are just going to show up and the game will unfold, that’s when problems will really escalate.”

[...]

“It is a concern to everybody and not just in our part of the country,” SEC executive associate commissioner Mark Womack said. “We’ve got a subcommittee in our league now that is taking a look at what we can do to make the fan experience at the stadiums and the arenas better. We want there to be a continued demand for tickets and for people showing up at the stadiums and arenas around our sites.

“The economy factors into this as well, but the technology of television has made that an appealing option. We have to try to make the in-game experience in the stadium as good as it can be.”

The last sentence contains the answer. It’s the economy and that is changing.

Going to a college football transports one in a digital wasteland. If I opt for my living room, I have all my electronic accoutrements.

Schools need to invest in technology. Fans like to share their experiences and digital sharing is almost impossible at event sites – cellular networks are overwhelmed on gameday.

Smartphones offer an opportunity for the schools. Embrace the technology. Be creative. Interact with the fanbase. Give us video. Give us play-by-play. Give us stats. How about concessions ordering and payment (possibly delivery to my seat)? A league and/or national scoreboard would be nice.

Fans want information on demand – not when someone decides to put it on the scoreboard. Give us the bandwidth – we will develop the platforms to use it.

Digital infrastructure is the answer. Fans want to be as involved on campus as they in their living rooms.

Of course, I might be the tiniest bit prejudiced.

19 comments
Slaw Dawg
Slaw Dawg

TV is the enemy of home game attendance in more ways than one. The improved visual experience with large screen HD is obvious. But I don't enjoy attending games as much as I once did because of the frequent and lengthy TV time outs + sometimes even lengthier play reviews (as well as parking problems, etc. that others here have mentioned). Once upon a time, I recall standing for and yelling for almost the entire game. Now, just as soon as you really get into the thing, play comes to a dead halt; the old rhythm and intensity isn't there.  And despite what the article says, I actually do DVR the games I watch from home and start watching 2d quarter, so I can either fast forward through the commercials or replay some of the plays while I watch--can't do that at the stadium and is much better than twiddling my thumbs. Personally, I care nothing about seeing other games or commercials on the scoreboard. The only improvement from a personal attendance perspective is that at least I don't have to worry about hurrying back from the men's room or concessions. But that's not enough for me to put up with parking and traffic problems, endless breaks and scoreboard commercials just so I can watch the Dawgs obliterate Southeastern Connecticut Forestry State.

So far as I'm concerned, the golden egg laying goose, and the greatest spectator sports experience in America, is being not-so-slowly smothered to death by the combination of Athletic Department and TV network greed, and it breaks my heart to see it.

EdThomas
EdThomas

I'm an out-of-state season ticket holder not because I make the trip from Raleigh 6-7 times per year but because I don't want to give up my priority when one day I move back to Georgia.  I love game days in Athens and the game experience in Sanford.  It tears me up when I watch a home conference game on TV because I can't be there.  The UGAAA will pry my season tickets out of my cold, dead hands.  Greg, I love technology, but I won't sit in the stadium and look at my smartphone.  Give me a good wireless connection to interact with Leather Heads during a CBS TV timeout, and I'm fine.

Signal Mtn Dawg
Signal Mtn Dawg

Continued........We now park any where we can find downtown. Eat on the way in or at the Athens grill.

Now, I have converted a screened in porch to the "Man Porch", complete with large deck, heating and air, awesome furniture and large flat screen. I sleep in, fire up the grill, watch game day, call my Vol buddies and discuss their margin of loss for their game that day. Watch the Dawgs and have a great dinner and watch more football versus being stuck on 316 or paying for a hotel somewhere.

I guess my time as a season ticket holder has come and gone.......but man, was my time asa ticket holder sweet.

Signal Mtn Dawg
Signal Mtn Dawg

Living in Chattanooga area, we now try to make one home game a year.

Like a post below eluded, it is more of a hassle experience than past years. Limited parking, lack of tailgate areas, etc. really changed the experience. We used to arrive early and park near legion pool, tailgate before and after the game. Would meet my two brothers, kids and various droppers by. This is now a reserved area for those willing to pay a higher dollar

Gh79
Gh79

Forget the cupcakes.

RxDawg
RxDawg

Well I can give them one tip, put a curb on some of the stupid prices people charge for parking outside the stadium. Last time I went to a game, parking my car cost me as much as the ticket. And it was at least a mile from the stadium...granted I was in a hurry. But still, that left a real sour taste in my mouth.

Sargent Shultz
Sargent Shultz

The wife and I gave up our season tickets years ago and only attend select games anymore.  Many reasons, but the primary one was time commitment.  Game day in Athens requires the whole day with travel and game traffic.  There was a time I could park on the sidewalk, not anymore huh, with my car (about 1/2 mile from the gate) pointed home - hustle ahead of the crowd- and be back reasonably.  The changes to parking and traffic management just do not fit my impatient personality.  The first time I parked in a deck was the last time.  When we go now we actually park on the west side to downtown and walk a long way to not sit in traffic.  That plus old age-reduced energy, all Dawg games on the tube, ticket/donation pricing, as well as other big games on TV that day....well we just choose to love our dawgs from the recliner.

GirdersRBending
GirdersRBending

I think the real competition is College Gameday and the glut of CFB games that run in the morning till the wee hours of the next morning.  Tough to give that up especially when so many of the recent tailgating regulations have squeezed that experience.

Jesse1
Jesse1

Television technology acknowledged, there is nothing like being there live and able to smell the turf. And hear the pads popping.

Jesse1
Jesse1

One way to improve the game experience imnsho would be for the band to quit playing "Sweet Caroline" during the 4th quarter. Hells bells, that is a Boston Red Sox tune! 

meansonny
meansonny

@Gh79 If you like home games, they are going to stay (ie. UGA isn't going to do a road only game elsewhere.  Nor is any other respectable program).  I could see a future with more neutral site games.  But that's not really the home game experience, now is it?

RxDawg
RxDawg

Parking and traffic are a big deal. It's also why I think they shouldn't expand the stadium for more numbers. We've got enough.

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@Jesse1 

Bring back the electric guitars!!!

Jesse1
Jesse1

@ecdawg @Jesse1 +1. Along with more of "Whole Lotta Love" when the Red Clay Hounds are driving.

RxDawg
RxDawg

They used to play zeppelin!? Boy did I miss out on that.