ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Georgia football is way ahead of the game when it comes to bringing in money for 2019.
The Bulldogs already had collected $33 million in ticket revenue as of April this year as compared to $21.4 million by the same time last year, according to the 2019 treasurer’s report. That report was given to the Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors at the annual end-of-year retreat, which is being held this year here at the King & Prince Resort.
That increase is attributed to having a seventh home game this season as well as last year’s ticket price increases, according to board treasurer Ryan Nesbit. Georgia reports $29.6 million in actual ticket contributions, which exceeded the budgeted amount of $28.5 million.
Expenses will also be up slightly to $5.3 because of the extra game and an ever-expanding football support staff.
“When you have home games with Notre Dame and Texas A&M, that helps,” UGA President Jere Morehead said after the two-hour meeting. During it, he said: “Our athletic fundraising has been exceptional this year, so I want to commend Greg McGarity and (director of development) Matt Borman and everybody involved.”
Georgia did not reveal its budget for the coming fiscal year, but it is expected to set another record. That has been the case in each year since the advent of the SEC Network in 2014 bolstered the league’s revenue distribution program. League members received an average of $43.1 million this year from SEC revenue distribution, which divides profits equally between the 14 members plus the conference headquarters in Birmingham.
Last year, the board raised Georgia’s average football ticket price from $50 to an average of $66.42 per game, on a two-tiered system. Games against Tier 1 opponents such as SEC and Power 5 opponents cost $75 per game. Games against Tier 2 opponents are $55 per game. That does not include the required donation for the right to purchase those tickets.
Georgia’s budget was more than $143 million last year. It’s expected to approach $150 million this year when it is presented to the board for approval during Friday’s meeting.
The Bulldogs approved the architects for its football facility expansion — HOK and DPR — but provided few details beyond it will be started “as soon as possible.”
Morehead used a portion of his opening marks to congratulate McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, and his administration “for a fantastic year whether it be fundraising or on the competitive field of play.”
“We’re continuing to see a great deal of success and accomplishment on and off the field,” Morehead said.
The board responded with applause, which is unusual for these proceedings.
Seventeen out of UGA’s 21 sports competed in NCAA postseason play this year. That includes baseball, men’s golf and track and field, which are currently active in postseason play.
McGarity received a $25,000 raise last year to a salary of $700,000. He has chosen to work on year-to-year contracts going forward.
Fifty-six percent of 511 student-athletes recorded a GPA of 3.0 or better in spring semester, according to faculty athletics rep Craig Shipley. That’s below the athletic department’s stated goal of 65 percent but above the national average. Twenty-seven athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA. Men’s cross country led all sports with a 3.44 GPA.
Georgia Athletic Association’s is called to order moments before conducting its final meeting of the 2019 Academic Year in the Retreat Room at the King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. (Chip Towers/DawgNation)