Those precious season tickets

Since football season ticket order forms usually arrive around the first week of March, with a March 31 deadline to purchase the tickets, and I hadn’t seen anything in the mail, I called over to the Georgia Bulldog Club yesterday to find out if the order forms had been sent out yet. They had not. They’re going out Wednesday, I was told. The price remains $40 per ticket for the six home games scheduled in 2009.

When my order form comes, I’ll check the box to keep the same seats I had this past year. They are, in fact, the same two seats I’ve had since 1975. I’m sure I could have moved closer to the 50-yard-line over the years if I’d wanted to, but my lower-level seats in the North stands are under the overhang, making them somewhat weather protected, and I like the view, so I’ve kept them all these years.

My first year out of UGA I bought a single season ticket, a mediocre spot low down on the South side, but I opted for two tickets the next year since by then I had a fiancée to share the seats with me. Those are the seats I still have. I don’t remember exactly what contribution to the Bulldog Club I had to make to get those seats, but I think it was probably around $50 per seat, a far cry from the $10,651 minimum contribution required of a first-time season ticket buyer last year. Of course, that figure was up from $2,000 the previous year, thanks to all the pre-season hype, and probably will come down somewhat this year. But the cost of the contributions to be able to buy season tickets is still prohibitive for many, if not most, recent grads, which is a shame since Sanford Stadium crowds skew a bit old (and quiet) at times.

My wife Leslie attended the games with me for many years, until she started working on Saturday nights. My son Bill, a Bulldog from the cradle, eagerly jumped into her spot and has mostly occupied my other seat since then, though he sometimes has chosen to sit (or, rather, stand) with friends in the UGA student section. When he’s not with me, my daughter Olivia takes the other seat. Or, if her schedule doesn’t permit that, one of my brothers. With my son taking a job in Washington this June after he finishes his master’s degree at UGA, I’m not sure how many games he’ll make it down for next year, but my daughter is ready to take his spot. 

Keeping the same seats in the stadium all those years has been an interesting experience. I’ve watched other fans’ parents age and, sadly, eventually stop coming to the games, and I’ve seen my stadium neighbors’ children grow up, as they have mine. One lady who sits near us is a former teacher, I believe, and she has avidly kept up with my son’s education. Some of the folks around me are “newcomers” who’ve only been there the past decade or so, while a couple go back just about as long as I’ve been sitting there. For some reason, a lot of the folks in my area have always been from the Augusta area and that’s still the case. For quite a few years, former UGA quarterback Paul Gilbert and his family sat in front of me, but those seats have been held by an Atlanta attorney for quite a few years now. A couple of seats in front of us appear to be someone’s giveaways, as their occupants change nearly every game. 

Mostly it’s a congenial group, though there have been occasional exceptions. For a few years, we had a couple of guys who used to drink to excess to our right. One year they nearly got into a fight with an extremely obnoxious guy who fortunately is not in our area any more thanks to divorce. And just last year one guy a couple of rows down got into it with a guy a few rows in front of him who wouldn’t sit down. The cops threw both of them out of the stadium (though the guy was somehow able to make it back in). We had a few smokers, back before Sanford became a “smoke-free environment,” but thankfully not that many. One man still chomps an unlit cigar for the whole game, though.

I don’t really “know” any of the people who sit around me at Sanford Stadium, and yet we greet each other at that first game of the year as if we’re long-lost friends. Our lives may be very different away from Sanford Stadium, but inside its gates we share a devotion to that team in red (or black) down Between the Hedges. 

We’re like one really big, sometimes dysfunctional family. That’s one of the things I love about college football.

59 comments Add your comment

Cuz

March 10th, 2009
10:44 am

Great article Bill, brings back memories. My college friends and I were able to get seats together in the upper deck in the new, not anymore, horseshoe end zone. We kept the same seats and made friends in the section for about five years until jobs and families started a decline in the games we attended and the abiiity to pay for the tickets. A layoff cost me my season tickets one year and since I have friends with mulit-tickets I never signed back up. But the camaraderie of game day is something to experience. For one moment in time it does not matter our occupation or political persuasion. We are all united in our common goal of cheering on our Dawgs. Thanks for jogging the old memory bank.

GeoffDawg

March 10th, 2009
11:25 am

I’m one of those cost-prohibited graduates and I graduated 9 years ago. I’ll get some free tickets from friends or relatives occassionally but I’m mostly relegated to tv viewing. Spending games in the UGA student section is certainly an experience though that I’ll never forget and is one that most people outside the SEC will never know.

Twilb Dawg

March 10th, 2009
2:31 pm

Bill, I have to say that for the product that is put on the field the cost is just fine! I would much rather pay the prices we pay for UGA season tickets than to pay a similar amount for the Falcons. I have been in the same seats over in Section 127 since I graduated in 2001, however I do admit that I one day hope to be a little closer to that 50 yard line!

Bill King

March 10th, 2009
2:34 pm

I agree, the tickets are not overpriced. I was just lamenting that because of the way Hartman Fund/Bulldog Club contributions have skyrocketed in recent years, kids graduating from UGA nowadays usually can’t afford to buy season tickets straight out of school the way I did.

GW

March 10th, 2009
3:02 pm

I’ve moved once in 29 years. Not the best seats in the house but easy in and easy out and always in the shade. Under the current system I’ll never move closer to the 50 unless I win the lottery. The shortage of road game tickets bothers me more than my home location. I used to get all road games easily but not anymore. I will soon be squeezed out of Florida by the bandwagon jumpers with big bucks.

reservoirDAWG

March 10th, 2009
3:16 pm

Great article Bill. There are few things better than Athens on a crisp fall day. A cold beer and a hot grill and a Bulldog win.

reservoirDAWG

March 10th, 2009
3:17 pm

Oh yea, we’ve been in the same seats in section 130 since the 60’s when my Dad and some of his friends intially bought them.

DawgGirl32

March 10th, 2009
4:07 pm

“I was just lamenting that because of the way Hartman Fund/Bulldog Club contributions have skyrocketed in recent years, kids graduating from UGA nowadays usually can’t afford to buy season tickets straight out of school the way I did.”

Amen to that. I graduated in May of 2008 and am no where near able to pay for season tickets. It was fine last year because I just bought student tickets for pretty cheap and used my student ID to get in, but now with this whole scanning student IDs next year, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I sat in the same section (109-111) all 4 years of college and I really can’t imagine leaving the student section right now to sit with the grown-ups. No offense ;)

GeoffDawg

March 10th, 2009
4:23 pm

Just an off-topic curiosity DawgGirl32 – as a recent graduate, how are you finding the job market for fresh young faces such as yourself?

ACC Football=SEC Basketball

March 10th, 2009
4:54 pm

Maybe if you UGA grads got real jobs, you would not stress about season tickets.

DawgGirl32

March 10th, 2009
5:22 pm

GeoffDawg- The job market is unfortunately pretty rough for college grads right now. It’s the old saying “You have to have experience to gain experience” which isn’t the easiest to do when you’ve just graduated. I have A LOT of friends who have graduated in the past year who have moved back home with mom and dad and are just working part-time in the mall or as a server or something. I also know a lot of people who just went straight on to grad school because they couldn’t find a job. Right now, I’m interning for a great company in Atlanta that I can see myself working for in the future. The pay is fine and I’m not struggling but I admit that I was hoping to have a job by now. I mean, if you had told me a year ago that I would still be an intern a year after I graduated, I probably wouldn’t have believe you. I gained a lot of experience in my field in college and had a good GPA and I thought I would have no problem finding a job. Honestly though, I feel extremely lucky to have anything at all.

Taylor

March 10th, 2009
7:20 pm

Mr. Bill, what a wonderful article. As a current senior in high-school (recently accepted to UGA), I am proud to say that I have been going to the games with my father since I could barely walk. I have sat on the 45 yd line upper deck north-stands for 12 years now, having moved from the lower level 30 yd line south-stands. Although my family has been blessed to be able to purchase these tickets, I believe that the high prices are a testament to the state’s only real football program (unless you think a 55,000 seat band box qualifies). However, I do share your concern with the noise levels in our abnormally quite (for its size) large stadium. There are exceptions, the blackout, LSU 04 , etc…, but overall I do wish that our fan base had the youth of a Florida or South Carolina base. Nonetheless, the family like atmosphere of Sanford truly makes it feel like home, and in my humble opinion, one of the best places to watch a college football game in the country. In the international trade school’s defense, Grant has an ample history and is in a beautiful setting; however, its bad sight lines and its Georgia obsessed fans really ruin my experiences. I would like to point out that I love the coke and free dog I get with my tech tickets every other year!

BigNCDawg

March 10th, 2009
7:35 pm

You mentioned the smoking ban. I always associated football Sat.’s in the 50’s and 60’s with cigar smoke. It was actually part of the experience of watching the DAWGS on a sunny fall Sat.

Cuz

March 10th, 2009
7:43 pm

Big NC, in the words of Herman Talmadge a serious cigar smoker, “I concour.”

Pago Flyer

March 10th, 2009
11:29 pm

They can charge what ever they want and still sell all the tkts!

yankeedawg

March 11th, 2009
7:04 am

When first moved here in 1978 my company has season tickets to the games so for 31 years I had no worries but now as retirement approaches I guess I will have to buy from ticket stub etc which would still be cheaper than trying to get on season ticket list!

GeoffDawg

March 11th, 2009
8:30 am

DawgGirl – Yeah, unfortunately for your peer group, recent graduates are going to find it pretty tough to land decent work for awhile. Sounds like you got lucky though and if you like the company you’re currently with, you’re in an excellent position to get hired on full time when the economy finally stabilizes. Good luck.

Dooleyville

March 11th, 2009
8:40 am

With my Walmart Greeter salary and my side job at the local car wash…I do believe I will be able to buy UGA tix this year. Everyone is so upset about last years debacle (did we beat a quality team all year?) and the way the economy is…I am certain to make it this year. Last year was ridiculous! The donation had to equal my 2nd jobs income! I’ve been wondering if I should go back and get my Ph.D since my B.S. (the cow paddy variety) and my M.A. (Mutts Anonymous) in Sociology landed me in my current predicament. Go Dawgs! Worse case scenario…I’ll be able to watch them through the trailer windows next door! Thank god for my neighbor’s cable tv!!!

Doyouknowshon

March 11th, 2009
8:48 am

2004 UGA grad here. I have had season tickets every year since graduating in various locations within Sanford. My experience has been that if you are patient you can usually pick up a pair of LL season tickets for around $1,000-$1,200 off of one of the UGA message boards right before the season starts as there are folks out there each year that buy the tickets to keep their priority but don’t plan on going to the games. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I have never had a problem.

I am also contributing to get my own set of tickets one day and thought I was all set going into last year as I made a significant one-time contribution. Then the cutoff went up over 500% and I was out of luck. I am going to keep plugging along and I will get there eventually.

Enjoyed the article. Go Dawgs!

Steeledawg

March 11th, 2009
9:01 am

I agree with GW.

Since I am fairly happy with my current seats, I can live with the fact that it will be years if ever that I will be able to move closer to the 50 on the south side, but the fact that it is nearly impossible for me to get road tickets or tix in Jax that makes me a little ornery.

I have had season tickets since I graduated in 1996, and I think maybe they could somehow factor in longevity or alumni status as part of the formula for perks that would negate some of the bandwagon folks. I realize 13 years is not very long to a lot of y’all, but I have been around awhile now and I will get there eventually.

Does anyone know how adding a third ticket to my pair works? Besides the increase in donation, am I guaranteed a third ticket, or do I only get one if I have enough points?

Thanks

Dogbyte

March 11th, 2009
10:33 am

This an interesting “essay” but not really a very good lead into a blog, IMHO. There is one thing to be said for it, however. It should hold down the intrusive participation of the non-bulldogs.

BigNCDawg

March 11th, 2009
11:31 am

I think they should close in the open end of the stadium and alot more seats for students. They supply the over the top youthful enthusiam. This from an old DAWG.

Cuz, bourbon was the other great smell.

GeoffDawg

March 11th, 2009
2:06 pm

Can’t say I’m in favor of that idea BigNCDawg – not only would it ruin a unique feature of the stadium, I doubt they would reserve them for students when big money donors are lining up for seats.

Bama Dawg

March 11th, 2009
4:13 pm

BigNCDawg,

Ah, nothing like the smell of bourbon and coke in the morning . . back in the good old days when there were no reserved seats for students and we had to get to the stadium around 11:00AM to sit as a group.

Been in my seats in Section 105 for 35 years and you can’t beat it. Seeing the same friends every Fall, watching kids grow up and always pulling for the Dawgs. However, I too wish the fans could be consistently louder for every play of every game. It is embarrassing when the South Carolina fans make more noise than our fans in our stadium.

Steeledawg the reduction a few years ago in seats allocated to the visiting school really decreased the chance for us to get away game tickets. Even as a 35 year season ticket holder, I can only qualify for the GA/FL game. Don’t know what can be done to give those of us without a huge contribution accumulation a chance.

Not matter what, its great to be a Georgia Bulldog. Especially stuck over here with all the Bammers.

RedGADawg

March 11th, 2009
7:49 pm

Received my ticket order form today, I am shocked! Contribution is no problem, actually bargain considering the quality of entertainment. What stunned me is that OK ST tixs are $100 each, TN $70 and believe it or not Bumble Fumble Bee tixs are $75, the later is robbery. I live 15 minutes from Yellow Bug stadium and the last time I went it was end zone nose bleed and that is for a club level donor of 34 years in Dawg Heavon. Funny that FL tickets are least expensive at $40. Guess this demonstrates that the Dawg Fan is a die hard and will pay any price to support our team. I scratched the Tech “hose the visitors” off my order, I can buy from their fans on EBay cheaper. There will be plenty available by that time of the season. TN can also keep their seats, Nashville is a much better road trip, quality hotels, easy drive and quality fans. Coach “Baby Kitten” may be too much to bear by that post game.
Best of all, my juices are flowing, can’t wait for another season, already tired of Braves.

S.E. Dawg

March 11th, 2009
8:45 pm

Thanks bill; with not a lot of football going on right now the article is very refreshing. My wife and I have had season tickets since 1992 and have had the same seats. As one of the poster mentioned above, easy-in, easy-out. For the most part we seem to have good people around us. The gentleman to our right is a great person. The two seats to our left are somewhat give away seats unless it’s an important game then the rightful owner sits there. The behavior of the group in front of us can be challenging at times and they are about seven feet tall. But as long as they are cheering the dawgs on I can live with it. Gameday is always a great experience.

swimdawg68

March 12th, 2009
10:30 am

Enjoyed your article Bill. I too remenber the “good old Days” of paying very little for season seats. Today it cost me $2,500 for the priviledge of sitting in the South Club. I am no longer a country club member and so I apply my entertainment dollars to UGA. I agree with the point system because it rewards loyal supporters of UGA, (40+ years for me). I did not like it when they raised the points required for club seats in Jacksonville 2 years ago. That was some on Damon’s greed according to my contacts in the Athletic Dept.

I’m sorry for recent grads not being able to purchase season tickets because of cost. That issue will probably not change in the near future. I will no longer attend the “trade School” game in Atlanta, two years ago I purchased 4 seats for $50 each and sat in the end zone. Besides, hanging around with that many “dirt daubers” is revolting. Now they finally win a game after 7 years and put the score on their rings how sad, what a bunch!

Looking forward to the fall, in many ways I expect us to be a much improved team, if we can stay healthy.

Cuz

March 12th, 2009
7:24 pm

Until they get more students into the stadium, the place will remain as quiet as a final in grad studies. In 1980, we the students made the alumni get loud. It was defeaning in that stadium. Maybe that is why I have hearing loss today. Either that or Led Zeppelin.

AltamahaDawg

March 12th, 2009
9:39 pm

Ah, the yearly debate on who gets the last seat in the house. The newly matriculated or the recently graduated?

Thunder Dawg

March 13th, 2009
4:24 am

Brother! I’m Just glad to be here ! Go Joe Cox & Go Dawgs!

Too Easy

March 13th, 2009
10:22 am

Swimdawg: It’s $75 per seat at the trade school this year, and that will also be end zone and high. That’s more than my club level seats in Jax. At least they understand the market as they gouge their largest visiting crowd of the year.

ugadogs

March 13th, 2009
11:11 am

I agree with you. I’ve been getting season tickets for 28 years along with florida tickets..This year I don’t have enough cumalitve points to buy florida tickets but those that have contributed 10k or more have the option of buying up to 8 tickets..just doesn’t seem fair..money over loyalty i guess

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2009
12:52 pm

Wait now. Isn’t cumulative points about the only fair way to determine who has been the most loyal contributors over time?

ugadogs

March 13th, 2009
2:32 pm

i guess if you define loyalty as money

BigNCDawg

March 13th, 2009
10:15 pm

Swimdawg you are kind to call the techies dirt daubers. I would suggest dirt bags

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2009
10:35 pm

Well, I don’t, as they are 2 completely different things. Loyalty is purely subjective. A ticket however is a tangible item.

My point that the idea of money (points) deciding who gets what aught to work in favor of the long time contributors. I think the fairness issues is that you had 28 yrs to accumulate 10K. New applicant need that in thier first year to even qualify for season ticket to begin with, and its no way coming with an option of 8 FL passes.

Hersh

March 13th, 2009
10:41 pm

As anyone noticed that “so far” no offseason problems with the law or with rules infractions. Thats good news – “Knock on wood”…

SC Dawg

March 14th, 2009
1:58 am

My first game came in 1965 with my dad at 10 years of age. I started contributing in 1979 and 27 years later changed seats from lower south to club level east. A few of the arses in 133 section rows 57-60 got to be too much trouble. I love the club level east!! Chair backs under the hang, no weather issues. it is great

UGASlobberknocker

March 14th, 2009
6:03 am

Great column. I have had tickets since 1975, and the same seats since 19993 and it is the exact same situation. I greet my ticket neighbors each year as if they were my long lost cousins; yet I probably wouldnt recognize them if I saw them at the mall. Same thing tailgating..same spot, same group for over 20 years..and for the most part a diff group then my stadium friends..I consider my ticket money every yr no more optional than than the mortgage.

Many remember the Ga/Clemson game in 1991; a huge upset the same day that the Braves clinched the division in their worst to first yr. The GA crowd that night was as juiced as I had ever seen it.One poor planning Clemson fan was sitting two rows down from me in the front row and had a shirt on that, on the back, said “Georgia fans are pond scum”. Everyone could see it since he was in the first row. So we spent the entire game giving him a hard time about that shirt, cracking jokes, calling him Clem-scum..we stood up and would yell “give me a S give me a C , U, M whatta got? SCUM! and we would all stand and point at him. It was hilarious. He left at halftime and came back with a coat on..we told him..”We still see you , Scum Boy” . He was deeply regretting his wardrobe choice by the end of that game while we fans had a great time with him.

Now fast forward to 2004..12 yrs later, in a diff seating section, during a moment when the crowd was going nuts. I mentioned to my friend in front of me” this crowd is wild”. A lady sitting beside me (a stranger and not a regular) turned to me and said..”maybe..but this doesnt compare to the “Pond Scum” game does it?” After 12 yrs one of the people sitting around us that Clemson game recognized me from that night. We had a great laugh..she said the fun she had in the stands that night ,her first Ga game, turned her into a lifelong fan.

Hey, I do what I can.

swimdawg68

March 14th, 2009
9:57 am

I could not stop laughing when I saw the price of the Tech tickets. I guess they think one victory means double your ticket prices for UGA game. Is that their regular season price for a game ticket or just the UGA game? If it is their regular price they will have many empty seats this fall. By the way, my point # is 43k plus and I can only purchase 4 Fla. tickets and not in the club section. Two years ago I could purchase 6 club seats now I can’t even purchase 6 regular seats. Thank’s Damon your appreciation of a loyal Dawg’s support for over 40 years is refreshing. I guess I should’nt complain when I think how he has treated Dooley. Loyalty is not a part of Damon’s character.

bigdawg

March 14th, 2009
8:30 pm

Wow a fight about not sitting down? PATHETIC! Stand the whole game it’s a football game not ballet. Get crunk and if you sit in front of a P@ssy then tell the P@ssy to switch seats or stand up! That’s what I do and they never switch but anyway just wanted to say to all those who sit, YOUR A P@ssy. SIC’EM DAWGS! WOOF WOOF WOOF!

72dog

March 14th, 2009
9:36 pm

I have been a season ticket holder since 1979 and “worked” my way around to section 105. I elected to remain there since we had aisle seats, even during the down years when we could have moved closer to the 50. Our stadium friends have also remained. This year I finally lost my right to buy Florida tickets and I will probably never catch the big money new guys. It is a crying shame that more than half of UGA’s loyal season ticket holders will never be eligible for tickets in Jacksonville. It is time to quit the charade and have home games with Florida instead of away games each year where most of our fans cannot get into the stadium.

warjacket

March 15th, 2009
8:59 am

Hey Dawggirl, if you graduated from a legitimate school you would have a job by now. And that team from the little band box of a stadium, just kicked your collective rears as you paid all that money to sit in the rain to witness it.

And why all the belly aching about not being able to get tix to the Florida game? You guys are gluttons for punishment.

JollyGoodFellow

March 16th, 2009
6:36 pm

45-42 Enjoy those spring scrimmages.

LAC

March 17th, 2009
9:28 pm

georgis football…. I’d rather watch my grass grow, Way MORE exciting !

WBA

March 18th, 2009
9:57 am

How do you get from $10,561 to $40 a ticket?

Bill King

March 18th, 2009
1:38 pm

The first figure was what first-time contributors to the Hartman Fund had to contribute last year in order to qualify to buy season tickets. The latter figure is the cost of an individual ticket to a game. In order to buy season tickets at $40 apiece, you first have to contribute to the Hartman Fund, aka Bulldog Club.

David

March 18th, 2009
8:47 pm

hey mr. king im a die hard Georgia fan who doesnt have a lot of money for tickets. Do you think if you ever have tickets and your not going to the game you could let me get them it would be greatly appreciated!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

March 18th, 2009
10:20 pm

Why in the world would someone waster their money on UGA football tickets? Year after year, fan after fan, just more disappointed and beatdowns and only 1 National Title in 116 years.

It is like someone the other day said about Bulldong Football Fans…”bless their hearts, they try so hard, but they are just not a championship caliber program.” I replied “they are all sold on CMR and his good looks, but he does not have what it takes to bring home a title, but he has all the fans sold on him.”

Alabama, Florida, OU, USC and even Texas build dynasties, and UGA only build heartache for their fans. It really is sad, but those Bulldong fans have just learned to live with disappinted and being losers.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

March 18th, 2009
10:23 pm

“It must really suck to be a Bulldong Football Fan right now, and matter of fact it must really suck to be a Bulldong fan of any sport other than Ladies Gymnastics.”

Cannot wait for the opener in Stillwater, when the Bulldongs come back to Athens 0-1. Stand by folks, and I will have my famous mediocre prediction for those Bulldongs in 2009, and yes I am typically very accurate with my predictions.