Hoping to capitalize on the buzz about Bulldogs basketball, Georgia plans to add 28 premium and pricey courtside seats in Stegeman Coliseum for the 2010-11 season.
The plan is to add 12 sideline courtside seats, six on each side of the radio table, and 16 baseline courtside seats, eight on each side of the basket in a second row behind the existing baseline courtside seats.
The sideline seats will require a $2,500 per seat annual donation to qualify for, and the baseline seats will require a $1,750 per seat annual donation. Potential additional revenue: $58,000 if all of the new seats are sold.
The new seats will raise the total number of Stegeman’s premium courtside seats from 60 to 88.
Georgia’s Athletic Association projects that it will bring in $18.76 million from ticket sales in the 2010-11 school year –- a whopping 92.8 percent of that from football.
The association projects football ticket revenue of $17.4 million, not including the donations made just for the right to buy the tickets. (Those donations total another $22.8 million.)
Ticket revenue from all other sports is projected to be $1.36 million, including $800,000 from men’s basketball, $250,000 from gymnastics, $175,000 from baseball and $135,000 from women’s basketball.
The board of directors of the Georgia Athletic Association completed its two-day meetings Friday on St. Simons Island with a presentation from Steve Holeman, who was hired last month as UGA’s soccer coach after 15 years in the same position at Ole Miss.
Once again, Georgia’s concern about Florida’s recent athletics dominance surfaced during the board’s Q&A session with Holeman.
“In our short time that we have had soccer in this league, who has won the majority of the championships?” athletics director Damon Evans asked.
“Florida,” Holeman answered.
“I knew the answer,” Evans said, “but we need to start changing that. That’s all.”
“It used to be Florida,” Holeman replied.
Although the Athletic Board approved spending $750,000 on new chairback seats for Foley Field, Evans acknowledged that more substantial improvements might be needed at the baseball stadium.
“We know at some point in time -– don’t know what that time is -– we need to take a hard look at Foley Field,” Evans said. “It’s a facility that is in some eyes dated. This conference has . . . really upgraded baseball facilties. There are some Taj Mahals in this conference in baseball.”
Evans said the new seats would continue to be used if any of various ideas for further changes to Foley Field are implemented later.
Installing chairback seats at Foley Field is a simple project compared to others currently underway at Georgia athletics facilities -– the expansion of the Butts-Mehre building, the renovation of Stegeman Coliseum and the addition of an entry plaza behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium.
“I don’t know if in the athletic department we’ve ever had this many projects going on at one single time,” Evans said.
At Stegeman, the old concourses have basically been demolished this month. New concourses will be wider and brighter, and the exterior will be transformed by soaring new glass walls. It’s all supposed to be finished by the start of basketball season.
The Butts-Mehre construction, a massive $39.5 million project, is scheduled for completion in late November. After that, six weeks are allotted for installing furniture and equipment, and staff is scheduled to move into the new space in mid-January.
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