Donation requirement raised for 2017 UGA football tickets

UGA athletic board
UGA President Jere Morehead (tan jacket) calls to order the end-of-year meeting of the full athletic association board of directors on Thursday at the Ritz Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee in Greensboro.

GREENSBORO – Georgia has sold out its allotment of 58,000 season football tickets for 2016, as it always does. Next year, however, the costs to obtain those tickets will go up.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity asked for and was granted by the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors Thursday an increase for per-seat donations for the right to buy season tickets in 2017. The motion was approved at the end-of-year meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee.

This chart provided by UGA Athletics shows the donation increases that will be required to get season tickets starting in 2017.

The minimum donation for the right to buy season tickets went up an average of 17.3 percent. That includes a high of 20 percent for club seats such as the SkyClub ($1,200 from $1,000 per ticket) and a low of 10 percent for Sections 101 and 314-324 ($275 from $250 per ticket). General stadium seating increases from $250 per seat to $300 per seat (20 percent).

There will be no increases for the cost of student or faculty tickets since they do not require donations.

It represents the first increases since 2005, according to McGarity. McGarity said UGA remains “sixth to 10th” among the SEC’s 14 teams in comparison.

“That’s where we want to be, right about in the middle,” McGarity said after the meeting. “It’s something our staff has been looking at the last couple of years and felt like it was the right time to do it.”

The increase is expected to raise $2.5 million in generated revenue, which will be used for “future facility projects.”

The board also approved a record $123.1 million budget. Meanwhile, operating expenses increased by $11.1 million over this time a year ago. Not surprisingly, that increased spending was attributed primarily to the football program.

“One of the most significant increases is football expenditures relating to compensation, guarantees, recruiting travel and game expenses,” Ryan Nesbit, the board’s treasurer, said in his report.

Georgia hired Kirby Smart from Alabama to coach the football team last December. Smart and his staff produced 25 invoices totaling $558,741.29 during the two-month span that followed on chartered air travel, including helicopters and private jets, for recruiting and hiring staff.

The good news for UGA is it is bringing in a lot more money. So far the Bulldogs have brought in $24.9 million in football ticket revenue in 2016, up from $22.6 million in April of 2015. Most of that growth is attributed to $5 rise in ticket prices for home games. Ticket contributions of $24.4 million were on par with previous years, according to the treasurer’s report.

UGA used only $2.2 million out of its reserve fund toward the Indoor Athletic Facility. That’s considerably less than it originally planned to spend — $15.5 million. That’s because private donations raised for the project far exceeded projections. Almost all of the funds for the $30.2 million construction project — just under $26 million — were donated.

McGarity told the board that 339 members of the newly-formed Magill Society donated $25.4 million toward the indoor facility. The board approved $9 million from the reserve fund requested by McGarity for new projects.

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