Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Blue & Gold Day

I started writing this blog for a couple of reason. Some of those I have already talked about in a previous post. One that I didn't point out was that I really thought that big things were going to happen at my alma mater and I really wanted to keep up with them.

After last night's tough loss, (and what is turning into a tough season) Spartan fans need something to feel good about. Today came some news that UNCG fans, students and alumni can get excited about. I posted a quick blurb about the possibility of a UNCG move to the Greensboro Coliseum yesterday. During a noon press conference, all of this was confirmed.

Article Links:
- News & Record (yesterday)
- News & Record (today)
- University Homepage
- Athletics Homepage
- News & Observer (Raleigh)

You can watch the press conference on demand on Spartan all-access. Here's what I took away from watching.

- Linda Brady gets it. I have no idea where this woman came from, but I'm glad she's here. She understands that athletic success plays a huge role on the image of the university itself and the pride that the alumni take in the school. This woman has a big vision for UNCG and I like it. Hearing her speak just fires me up. Please go give some halftime speeches.
- Fred Barakat is going to deliver us a #1 in strength of schedule. He made it quite clear that we're going to have 4-5 ACC games on our schedule (home and away) and games against A10, CAA and CUSA teams.
- The coliseum is going to try very hard to make this a home court for the Spartans. I really like the idea of cutting the seating down to ~7,300. Also, I like that the floor will have UNCG's logos and locker rooms.

My concerns are over some of the ticketing and pricing issues. I really hope that the UNCG administration understands not to bite the hand that's already feeding it. I think everyone is aware that prices will change, but it can't be that dramatic. The parking prices will have to be reasonable also. Right now, I can park on campus for free and go to the game $10. UNCG can't change that to $15 tickets and $5 parking and expect all of the fans that follow them now to just move down the street with them too.

Right now, UNCG's season tickets were priced in some of the oddest ways possible. I could buy a walk-up ticket to every game and pay the same price that I would if I'd have bought season tickets a month ago. There's no reward for buying all games early. Plus, you could (and I did) buy a SoCon ticket package for $75. That's easily the best deal they offered this year. I hope they offer a reward to UNCG fans that buy season tickets next year. Give a 25% break in the full price and offer some kind of season parking pass for a reasonable price. That means that when 5,000 NC State fans buy their tickets the day of the game, they won't be sitting court side and will pay more than your loyal Spartan fans. Plus, selling these season tickets assures UNCG of nice crowds when we're not playing ACC schools.

I like the idea of selling beer at the games. It will get casual fans from the Greensboro community interested in attending games. Case in point, my wife has said repeatedly that she'd love to go to basketball games with me as long as she could drink. Now this really says more about my behavior at games than anything else, but you get the point.

Also I hope the administration and coliseum officials get the students involved by putting them in the first 2-3 rows all the way around the court, or let them have the risers right behind the baskets. That's how you get a home court advantage. Also, have the full band there for all of the games.

UNCG also hired ISP to do their sports marketing. I'll have to devote an entire upcoming post to this move because it might be the best news of the day.

Happy Blue & Gold Day !!!