ATHENS — Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks recently reiterated the Bulldogs are indeed planning for full stadiums this fall.
“We have the mindset that we have to plan for full stadiums because there is so much operationally that we need to do in how we sell tickets, how we operate,” Brooks explained to Atlanta’s Channel 11 this week. “We have to plan for full stadiums.
“We can always pivot back. Come summer, whatever the guidelines are, whatever the recommendations are, we can review and adjust.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey qualified earlier this year that the league’s vision to get back to capacity in stadiums is based more on “hope.”
“We rely on our doctors,” Sankey said, asked about the likelihood of packed-out SEC stadiums this fall at the time of the league’s 2021 schedule release. “I think there’s some light at the end of this right now.
“We’re going to prepare to play the season as scheduled but recognizing the circumstances around the virus are going to guide us in our decision making.”
Indeed, Brooks made the point there’s a great deal that goes into full stadiums, and it’s his responsibility to make sure the Bulldogs are ready to check all the boxes at Sanford Stadium.
“We’ve got to be ready for all scenarios, we’ve learned we can pivot quickly,” Brooks recently said at the Georgia Athletic Association board of directors winter meeting.
“I think the first step is we’re going to plan as if we’re going to have full stadiums, but we’re going to be ready, but we can’t commit to a budget next year until we know where we sit next fall.
“So, we’ve got to play a lot by ear. We’ve proven we can pivotal quickly so the plan is we’re going to have full stadiums and we’ll adjust from there.”
It’s a matter of planning and hoping for the best-case scenario, while still being prepared for the sort of alternative the sports world was deal last season with limited attendance on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brooks was so successful arranging the seating at Sanford Stadium last season that the Georgia home games appeared to have more fans in attendance than the 20,524.
Mark Kooyman, CEO of EXPERIENCE Insight Group, indicated the stadium spacing and COVID-19 prevention plans appeared to have served their purpose.
“If you look at the scenario where all these people have come together for sporting events, we’re not seeing a radical impact from that,” Kooyman said, reflecting on Covid-19 data gleaned from last season’s sporting events.
“The core basic geographics have not changed.”
Brooks released Georgia’s plans for G-Day earlier this spring, outlining the $10 ticket policy and attendance measures.
Georgia football opens the season on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C., against Clemson in what’s already being billed as the “Game of the Year” when the two Top 5 teams meet.
The Bulldogs managed just three home games last season, and the recently released 2021 slate reveals only six, with the neutral site game in Charlotte and an annual series with Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
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