Georgia football tickets might cost more in 2015

GREENSBORO | A Georgia football ticket price hike appears to be on the horizon.

Georgia football tickets might cost more in 2015
Marc Weiszer

UGA athletic director Greg McGarity told the university’s Athletic Association board of directors at its spring meeting on Thursday that a “modest increase” for the 2015 season will be discussed at the fall meeting in September.

“We have limited ways to generate revenue,” McGarity said after the meeting. “Unless we have increases in SEC money, which we don’t know … (ticket sales are) our really only other revenue source that we have.”

Georgia hasn’t raised ticket prices across-the-board since 2008, but in 2012 did increase prices for the Florida game in Jacksonville from $40 to $60 and for club seating from $70 to $100.

McGarity said discussions are already underway with the 12-person Bulldog Club advisory board about an increase.

“We bounce all these ideas off of that, but I think they’re going to be in favor of recommending some adjustment,” McGarity said. “It gives us time to gather the most relevant data.”

McGarity said Georgia nets about $2.25 million per home game. He pointed out that Ohio State nets about $7 million.

He said an increase would also help a coming “bidding war” to line up nonconference opponents with guarantees for those even those not in the big five conferences.

Ticket prices are $40 for season ticket holders and $45 for single game tickets. McGarity said tickets in the visiting ticket allotment go for the same price that those schools charge Georgia.

McGarity didn’t specify at the meeting held at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge what a “modest increase” would be.

“I don’t want to get tagged with a number, but it’s something that will make sense,” he said. “As the budget will show, we’re being required to do more things for students, which we want to do. And to do that we’ve got to generate more money. The expenses are not going down.”

Georgia is sold out for football season tickets for this year, which accounts for about 55,000 tickets. Single game tickets remain available for Troy and Charleston Southern.

Contributions for the right to purchase season tickets through the Hartman Fund raised $24.3 million this year.

The board approved a $99.85 million budget for fiscal year 2015. Projected expenses are expected to be $84.9 million. Current reserves are $67.5 million.

“We’re in very good shape,” said Ryan Nesbit, UGA’s vice president for finance and administration, who also serves as treasurer of the Athletic Association.

In other business Thursday:

■ The board approved $2.12 million for projects to go toward enhancements needed for the SEC Network’s launch in August, Sanford Stadium sound improvements and a new video board that will be used in football recruiting.

A total of $921,800 will go for production for up to 80 live-streamed events for the all-sports network and large screen content at athletic venues. The scoreboard control room at Sanford Stadium will be upgraded for the project.

Another $750,000 will be used for improvements to the sound system at Sanford Stadium. A main cluster of equipment above the scoreboard will be replaced and speakers throughout the stadium will be repaired. The move comes as Georgia is looking to increase its use of sound in an effort to enhance the fan experience.

The multi-purpose room used extensively by the football program will get a 7-foot-by-15-foot HD quality video board with surround sound at a cost of $250,000. The room is used for football recruiting, all-staff meetings and other athletic department gatherings.

■ McGarity said renovations for Foley Field are set to get underway soon and it is scheduled to conclude prior to the Feb. 15 opener next baseball season. More than $5 million has now been raised from more than 120 donors for the project, McGarity said. The total cost is $12 million with reserve funds also being used.

The Woodruff football practice field renovations, which included redoing the two artificial turf fields, came in about $300,000 under budget. New fencing will now extend from Smith Street to Lumpkin Street.

■ A career management symposium is being started for athletes that will emphasize financial literacy and decision-making. Football players will be required to attend this summer. Former players Matt and Jon Stinchcomb, David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Tra Battle, Robert Edwards and Mohamed Massaquoi are among those taking part in the program.

■ The terms of athletic board members Bill Archer, Robert Bishop and Pat Pittard are coming to an end. The new board members are Chris Cummiskey, chief commercial officer of Southern Power; U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones; and, Bill Young, past chair of the University of Georgia Foundation and a partner in Atlanta-based General Wholesale Company. All three are UGA graduates.

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