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Copyright 2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


New Georgia Tech Athletic Director Todd Stansbury doesn't know what it would look like or where in Bobby Dodd Stadium it would go. But he has interest in bringing a stadium concept to Tech football games similar to what he introduced previously at Central Florida and Oregon State in an effort to differentiate the stadium experience for fans.

During his tenure at UCF, Stansbury helped develop a 10,000-square-foot club section that featured a deck within the stadium bowl that debuted in 2015.The

cabana-styled area, located between the 30-yard lines, has a bar, lounge area and catered barbecue. At Oregon State, he created a similar feature, a 13,000-square-foot end-zone terrace that offered food and drink selections from local breweries, wineries and restaurants. It opened during 2016 season.

"Both of those were the result of trying to find ways to enhance the fan experience," Stansbury said. "Looking at Bobby Dodd, that is definitely something that we'll look to do. I don't know that it'll be a beach club or a party terrace, but we will be looking at every opportunity to provide an in-game experience that may be different."

Stansbury is particularly mindful of attracting both younger fans and those looking for more than an opportunity to watch the Yellow Jackets.

"In this day and age, when you're competing against yourself on TV, you've got to provide an in-game experience that you just can't get at home," he said, "and so we'll definitely be looking at the stadium and what opportunities there will be to enhance the fan experience."

The terrace in the south end zone outside the Ward-law Center would seem a possibility. The athletic association already sells season tickets on the terrace, which include catered meals and beer, wine and soft drinks. The upper north end zone or the corners of the east and west upper decks could be other options, as they are often partially empty.

"I'll be looking at all the real estate, seeing how we can potentially turn, whether they're underselling sections or just your regular ticketed section, into some sort of a premium experience," he said.

The additions have been popular at both UCF and Oregon State. At UCF, the cabana ended up selling more tickets at a higher price point than the section of the stadium it replaced. The athletic department plans to add similar sections behind both end zones of Bright House Networks Stadium.

At Oregon State last season, a season ticket to the terrace cost $1,190. At UCF, a cabana club season ticket was $900.

Building, or even sustaining, attendance is a challenge that college and professional sports teams have been facing for several years. FBS level average attendance fell by about 5 percent from 2005 to 2015 while television coverage has increased. Tech's attendance has held fairly steady. Tech averaged 49,680 between 2004 and 2006. The number between 2014 and 2016 was 48,910.

Tech sold 31,789 season tickets this past season, including student season tickets, a drop of about 8 percent from 2015, when the team was coming off the strong 2014 season.

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January 10, 2017


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