The Good Word

June 12, 2008

TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics

FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics

In recent issues of The Good Word you have probably seen a recurring theme that revolves around our relentless quest to increase our season ticket base. As I look down the road toward creating the financial stability that will allow us to field competitive teams and challenge for championships, it is crystal clear to me that our single most important resource is our season ticket holders.

In basketball we look to remain in a season ticket sellout situation, but we understand that we must continue to work hard to satisfy and retain those loyal season ticket holders. There continues to be a sizable waiting list for fans indicating they want to get in as seats open up. For this we are grateful and will continue to do our best to put a successful and exciting product on the floor each year.

So as we transition into the Paul Johnson era in our football program we simply must work hard to drive sales. I have reported to you in recent weeks that we are attempting to ramp up our sales effort. Ten days ago I met with the Board of Director’s of a group called “1st and 10” with which some of you may be familiar. In general this is a group of young alumni who have been very valuable in helping us with projects through the years. Most notable was their work to help us achieve a sellout of our club seats on the stadium’s east side.

I have asked this group to help us in a grass roots effort to encourage their friends, neighbors and colleagues to consider becoming season ticket holders. We have laid out some incentives that we hope will encourage this group to once again rise up to be of assistance in an important cause for Georgia Tech.

I have also challenged our entire athletic department staff to make this season ticket quest their top priority. I have been clear that this mission does not rest solely with our sales team, but it is everyone’s responsibility to embrace and move this challenge forward. To that end we have begun to have weekly sales reports disseminated and have had more all-encompassing discussions about various sales initiatives.

One new twist this year has provided us with some invaluable information about our fans and customers. Recently, we decided to send out a very short survey to two sets of Yellow Jacket fans. The first group represents those fans who are new season ticket holders. We simply wanted to know what triggered their impulse to join the family of season ticket holders here at Tech. The second group we surveyed represented those fans that have not yet renewed their season tickets for 2008. Conversely, we wanted to know what factors contributed to them leaving the season ticket fold.

The results of these two sets of surveys were enlightening. Among the new season ticket holders we were told that more than half cited the positive direction of the football program with Paul Johnson’s arrival as a factor. Many said that Tech football was a “good value” in the Atlanta sports market. A good number of fans said they were happy to take advantage of the new Jackets Nest – a discounted season ticket in the upper north end zone.

We were very pleased see that more than 50 percent of the new season ticket respondents were under 40 years of age and 75 percent of them were under 50. This may be an indication that we are making some inroads with our target demographic – the young professional group living and working close to Georgia Tech.

When looking at the responses to our departing season ticket holders, the economy was an overriding theme. Many said they simply couldn’t justify the expenditure at this time. Others, however, raised criticisms of the product on the field in recent years and the failure to beat Georgia during an seven-year span. We also learned that some fans were going away because of bad experiences with other fans at our games. They cited boorish and inappropriate behavior, foul language and excessive alcohol that created a negative experience.

This was a red flag for us to have some soul-searching with our stadium security folks to discuss how we will better monitor our crowds. We also will continue to stress the importance of good sportsmanship and fan behavior. Abusive behavior is not acceptable!

There were other nuggets in the responses of those fans taking the year off. There-in lies one positive in that many of these fans indicated they were not going away forever – that they would not rule out buying season tickets in the future. Perhaps even later this summer.

For that reason we have reached out personally by telephone and e-mail to encourage them to reconsider. We are attempting to show some personal care and concern – a trait some respondents said were lacking.

So, to those of you who may be in one of these categories and who took the time to give us your feedback, we thank you. I want all Tech fans to know that we continue to take your feelings, thoughts and comments seriously and we attempt address each and every one where possible. In this case we learned a lot about some things we may be doing right, but we certainly also learned where we might improve.

And to me……that is a win-win!

MARCHING BAND TO APPEAR IN MACY’S PARADE!
I’m not sure how many of you have heard about our marching band being invited to appear in the prestigious Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November. What a great honor for athletic bands director Chris Moore, assistant director Donny Allen, former director Dr. Andrea Strauss and the entire group of students who do such a great job of representing us. Only one college band and one high school band are selected each year. This opportunity happens to correspond with the 100th anniversary of the marching band at Georgia Tech.

Chris and his group are in the process of raising money for the trip and could use your help. A number of units within the Institute are helping to create a portion of the funding for the trip but there will be a need for some outside assistance. I encourage you to go to www.georgiatechband.com for information on the trip and how you can help.

MORE HONORS FOR McDOWELL
Amanda McDowell has been chosen the nation’s top collegiate female tennis player for 2008. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 32nd year. McDowell’s victory will earn her the Honda Sports Award, given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, along with automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

NOTEBOOK
Kristi Miller of the women’s tennis team was named first team Academic All-American as well as earning the prestigious honor of Academic All-American of the Year… make sure to check Ramblinwreck.com to read the latest in a series of summer blogs by our baseball players, who are competing in various leagues all over the country… Basketball All-Americans Matt Harpring and Kisha Ford, as well as former golf coach Puggy Blackmon, baseball All-American Mark Fischer, track All-American David Krummenacker and volleyball star Andrea Nachtrieb have been elected to join the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame… the group of five former student-athletes and Blackmon will be inducted on Friday, Sept. 19 at the annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center… tickets for the dinner are $50 and can be purchased through the Alexander-Tharpe Fund at 404-894-6124… we have four men and three women participating the next couple of days at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa… check our website daily for their results.

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