Although recent developments have seen SEC lift the ban on alcohol sales, Georgia has elected to keep the ban in place. However, this will not be a blanket ban.
What’s the catch? In the current setup, Georgia harbors plans to impose a $25,000 donation requirement. And yet for that price, you still will not get all the privileges of enjoying a cold beer in the stadium. However, even for such an expensive charge, you will have to seat in a separate area away from the field.
In an AJC-DawgNation exclusive with Greg McGarity during the SEC Spring Meeting, the Georgia athletic director outlined a strategic design to mark out a closed access area. The cordoned off zone will be an elite section of the Magill Society. Moreover, guests will also have to adhere to prescribed limits of consumption within the confines.
In spite of the implied costs, the lounge will not have a direct view of the playing field, and guests have to follow the game on mounted flat-screen televisions. On a match day, that should, however, not stop the patrons from flocking in early, with the facility open two hours before kickoff.
What you can gather so far is the need for Georgia to accommodate an influx of Magill Society donors. Indeed, Matt Borman, the UGA deputy athletic director in a statement, stresses what he feels is a need to provide a new high-end hospitality experience for this group. Going on to assert such a move shall create a unique opportunity. Everybody has yet to see how that will supposedly work out. As such, the reaction of the fans is intriguing. Most are questioning the effect of the policy in enhancing the game-day experience.
The UGA deputy, however, might have a calculated point, especially when you think of the members $25,000 minimum donations at a clip of $5,000 annually. If the calculations do add up, the school will stand to gain from another revenue stream. But as Georgia’s Sanford Stadium gears up to exclusively entertain as many donors as possible beginning this fall, what is the reaction of the average fan on the ground?
From a historical perspective, Georgia has always had alcohol in its suites. Fans all over feel the coming of the premium seating area marks a point of departure from tradition. For the enthusiasts, it would be the first time in Georgia’s history that alcohol will be unavailable at the club level.
Soon the SEC Presidents and Chancellors are expected to conduct a vote in regards to the current set of rules governing the sale of alcohol in the league. Whereas, supporters don’t feel this will reverse the upcoming seating set up in the stadium on football Saturdays.
Jere Morehead, the UGA President, may have a different idea to the fan’s reservations. Pointing out that the incoming policy is timely, right, and doesn’t require significant changes. You can only speculate that supporters will be dissatisfied with this development.
What’s in the pipeline? The primary concern for the regular fan as of now maybe the pricing of the alcoholic beverage. Despite the enormous price tag, members of the club aren’t even sure what type of beer they can buy. On the other hand, the bone of contention for the management lies in keeping both the fans and donors content.
If you’re to follow the practice in other universities in the conference, you’ll likely notice they also have similar controlled areas for donors. Nevertheless, in most of these other cases, UGA makes the service available free of charge. All the reason to believe Georgia is attempting to swim against the tide.