I wanted to do something a little different this time and address a couple of questions I get on a pretty regular basis, be it through Twitter, in person, or social media forums. The three most common questions we get, in order, are:
- Why don't we sell alcohol in Paulson Stadium?
- Why aren't kickoff times announced earlier?
- How can some teams announce the attendance numbers that they do?
Let's start with the most popular topic: Alcohol In Paulson. Alcohol sections have existed in the premium areas of the stadium for the past three years. Those sections include the Bishop Club, the Stadium Club and the Club Level seating on the visiting side. These require a donation and ticket purchase to get complimentary beverages through the end of the third quarter.
In most cases across the country, schools have gone from no alcohol sales to selling throughout the stadium, which is different from our situation. Selling alcohol in a stadium that already has alcohol available in premium areas is a different process. This scenario requires time and research to determine the best way to continue to provide a great fan experience while continuing to earn revenue needed to support our student-athletes and coaches.
We are currently looking into a plan that may include alcohol sales throughout the stadium, but that plan must meet the Board of Regents and University approval, and make financial sense.
On to No. 2: Kickoff Times. We determine game times for home football games using data collected throughout the years. This data includes weather, regional games, University activities, community events and fan travel times. After our television partners pass on broadcasting a game on a linear (television) network, we are alerted by conference officials that we can choose the game time. Once informed, we use this data to come up with a time that gives us the best chance to #PackPaulson.
We begin looking at different scenarios weeks in advance, but we are not alerted until 12 days out if our game has been selected for television. These times are then determined internally and announced that Monday the week before the game by the conference.
We have heard from fans that announcing game times this late is a challenge, but we believe it is better to announce a firm and final game time rather than switching the time due to television selections 12 days out.
Finally, I wanted to talk about attendance figures. It's no secret that some schools publicly announce attendance figures that are not anywhere close to the number of patrons in the seats. In a recent article published nationally, it showed that we were at 92 percent of actual attendance as compared to announced attendance, which was in the top 10 of the FBS.
At full capacity, including our hill seating, Paulson Stadium holds 25,000 patrons. We, as an athletic department, announce an attendance figure that includes all season- and single-game tickets sold, as well as any Georgia Southern student that walks through the gate and gets their Eagle ID scanned. Some schools may count bulk tickets purchased by corporate entities (at the lowest price available) and use them in their formulas whether those tickets are used or not. We prefer to sell our tickets to our fans and also give them to students who will attend the games.
Before I let you go, I have to give a quick shout out to our soccer teams for picking up points in the Rivalry Series by defeating Georgia State last weekend. And congratulations also go out to Steven Fisk, who was named the Sun Belt Conference Male Athlete of the Year!
I look forward to seeing you this Saturday. We'll have a couple of special treats for Military Appreciation Day, presented by the Georgia Army National Guard!
As always, #HailSouthern,
- Tom Kleinlein, Georgia Southern Director of Athletics