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Spring Scrimmage: Where's The Fans?

Georgia State football and head coach Trent Miles opened the doors to the Georgia Dome to fans, prospects and 2013 signees on Saturday hoping to stoke the fire for the upcoming season.

For the coaching staff, it was an opportunity for 15th and final practice of Spring and to see signs of improvement. The staff is also looking for younger players and back ups to prove they can be counted on in the Fall.

For invited prospects, it was a chance to experience the second Junior Day, learn more about the program and where the team plays as well as get a glimpse of the team which will take the field this Fall, its first in the FBS ranks.

For supporters of the program, it was the tasty appetizer to wet the appetite until August 30th vs. Samford. They saw the band, saw the cheerleaders and felt like it should on a game day minus the other team. Most importantly, the Panthers won!

One thing that bugged me as the scrimmage began:

Where were all the fans?

An announced crowd of a little north of 1800 may tell us where the program is on the minds of fans or it may tell us little. On this site, we've certainly seen our share of both. According to SB Nation, Georgia State ranked next to last in "claimed" Spring game attendance in all of FBS. Is this a preview of what is to come this Fall?

Glass Half Empty:The glass half empty folks may say there was very little promotion outside the core channels (via athletics web site and social media sites which reach is limited). No one from athletics (or even the beat writer) viewed this event as a big deal and downplayed its importance publicly. Seeing new programs like Charlotte draw 13,000 plus certainly do not aid in the excitement department. If this event costs as much as a normal game, then why not promote it more?

Glass Half Full: These folks may sing a different tune. Sure, it was a picture perfect Atlanta Spring Day that happend to fall on the same day as several big festivals. We are not an established program with a generation of fans. Heck, this is our first full graduating class of players so the core may be limited to these 1000 or so fans.

So what are your thoughts? Do we need to promote public events like this more? Is this simply a function of a 1-10 season and low expectations? Is it something else? Can it be fixed by Fall? Should Panther fans be content with what we are seeing in the stands?

  • What fans?

    GSU Marching Band charter member

  • My thoughts on opening it for discussion. By my (really rough) math, we had:

    1000-1200 fans/supporters
    200 band + band family
    150-200 recruits and their family members
    100 GSU Employees (including coaches/support personnel)
    100 players on the field

    Is this good enough? Should we expect more?

  • It really is beginning to piss me off how little people care about this school and its athletic programs. It's even starting to trickle down into the band. I've had multiple people (very talented and valuable contributing members of the ensemble) tell me they can't bear another season of awful football and they're quitting band.

    The band's mission is to support the team, alongside cheer and dance. When you have those people give up, you know something is wrong.

    Me? I'll be here until they won't let me come back any more. Somebody has to do it.

    GSU Marching Band charter member

  • And quite frankly why I still write and come up with story ideas. So many have walked away. People that were staunch supporters are no longer going to games, no longer giving money.

    It's a cancer and it has to be fixed. I do not have the answers but what we're doing is simply not working.

    I see schools with $9 million budgets drawing bigger crowds by going door to door. We are at such a critical juncture and the attitudes I continue to encounter by decision makers is not good enough.

  • Two changes needed:

    1) Win
    2) Better Athletics Administration

    Just #1 will only do so much.....#2 is needed to promote the brand better (or at all in some cases)

  • #1 isn't happening anytime soon (not breaking news).

    #2 is correctable. I just want to see effort and passion like the hardcore fans on this board have.

    Do we accept this level of promotion for RCB? How about the Law school (who just announced they want to be the "Showcase" law school in their new renovation/remodel)?

    It's about stating goals publicly, keeping donors/supporters updated on those goals and being visible/accessible.

    This post was edited by Ben Moore 12 months ago

  • Y'all are hilarious. Georgia Tech drew only 5k to the spring game, despite being in in a big 6 conference with a history that includes 4 NC. We on the other hand play in the SBC and are coming from a one win season which followed a 3 win season where we lost to a Div II school. We're going to be ok.

  • I try to avoid the conversation. But, the football team is flat awful. I'm not getting mad at anyone who is not going to spend their hard earned money on that crap. People are busy and I'm not getting mad at anyone who is not going to the game to see us lose big. If we were winning and had little turnout, that'd be a different story. But, we are horrible and guaranteed to be horrible this year. That's just the reality.

    Our top two QBs from last year had no business playing CAA football. Yet, they return as our top two QBs now playing FBS football. Unbelievable. The sad reality is laughable sometimes.

  • I will say this, as a student. I know the administration has its issues and is not the best at marketing, I get that. But even some of the best marketers/promoters in the world would struggle getting GSU students to athletic events. Even though we are becoming more "traditional," we still aren't there yet. Most students do not come to GSU with the mindset of hey, i am going to get the college experience in the South and go crazy and go hard for Football on saturdays. Few think that way here. Nobody here thinks about hey Im going to GSU and im pumped about their athletics program as well. It just doesnt happen like that right now. And as an FCS school playing other FCS Schools, students here don't care. They don't get fired up about playing Old Dominion. I do. But most don't. And they really won't until we are able to host a bigtime BCS school (that the typical GSU student has heard of). And that doesn't happen overnight. I fully realize that. And we would absolutely have a spike in student attendance if we win consistently. I guarantee it. But that all takes time. So for now, student attendance will be low, and probably wont change much for a while. I think we definitely have so much potential and im excited for our future, but until we begin to win, I can almost promise students at this school won't show up often. It's just who these students are unfortunately...

  • The QB situation sucks, but there's little these coaches could have done about it. They tried to rectify it by signing a highly touted JUCO QB, and did that successfully. It's not exactly their fault he's not performing the way they thought he would.

    The other thing is, QB's tend to commit early. They either get a spot or they don't so you see a lot of them making their decisions early on. You'll see it in the next couple of months. All the good QB's will get snatched up. Our quarterbacks were ridiculously mishandled by the previous coaching staff. Let's just hope this staff knows how to use these kids to their strengths instead of whatever schemes they're dreaming up.

    This post was edited by Ryan Graham 12 months ago

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    For the latest Georgia State recruiting news, follow me on twitter! @RyanTGraham247

  • I sincerely hope you are right glsjunior...and I apologize for a couple negative posts I have made lately.

    Hindsight being 20-20, we should never have gone into the CAA and gotten our arse kicked up one side of the field and down the other last year. I really think that getting whomped by a bunch of schools that the local kids didn't even know were any good - hurt us.

    We should have stuck with beating Clark Atlanta and Shorter types until we got better. JMHO.

  • "No worries. Those students certainly don't mind paying hundreds of dollars a piece in athletic fees every semester though."

    -Cheryl Levick

    Sometimes, I wonder if we as students made the right decision six years ago to approve the fee increase for football.

  • I'm not blaming the current coaches for this. They got a terrible hand. My point is that our best two QBs do not even belong on this roster. We will be terrible this year and I'm done blaming anyone for not showing up.

  • I'll be showing up, game after game, regardless. I just hope Miles grabs some good recruits over the next two years.

  • I'll be showing up as well. In the mean time, I've suggested it before, and I'll suggest it again. Send the school's radio station a school PSA for them to read among many at the top of every hour. It doesn't matter what demographic the listenership is comprised of, I could care less if it mainly composes of old geisers. It's free advertising for pete's sake! Send them a PSA, get the word out somewhere, anywhere, that we have an Athletic Department. Many school programs send out PSAs for school events, so why not Athletics for the big games. And try to develop a better relationship with the station while you're at it too.

  • This sense of not caring about athletics isn't an attitude, and though having a god-awful team doesn't help, it is not the entirety of the reason people do not show up. People do not show up not because of attitude, but because of culture. GSU has cultivated a culture of indifference to Athletics over the years, and this is something that will not change overnight. Culture is something that will not be changed by facebook invites, having tv ads, or one uniform logo across athletics. Do these things help with exposure to our brand? Absolutely. Would they be a good start to generate outside interest in GSU? No doubt. But they will not change our culture.

    We were a commuter school. Most of our alumni were commuters, and never stayed downtown to watch a basketball game, much less left campus to go to Panthersville for anything else. These alumni never knew a GSU on a fall Saturday because they were only on campus during the week. It is unfortunate that a majority of our alumni fall into this category, but it is the GSU culture they experienced.

    Today GSU is different. Students are living on campus, new buildings are going up, and there is football on Saturday. Hopefully this helps shift the culture from one of indifference to one of pride in GSU. We will likely not see results for a while, as culture takes years to develop and cultivate. But so far, I have seen nothing but the same indifference from the students. Serious question: How does a university change it's culture? I don't have the answer, and sadly I don't think GSU does either.

  • This is an uphill battle with PantherTalk folks. Apparently, they think no one's listening.... huh

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    For the latest Georgia State recruiting news, follow me on twitter! @RyanTGraham247

  • That's why you start with sending PSA's.

    This post was edited by Georgia State 12 months ago

  • The first step: DO SOMETHING!!!!!

    The lack of pro-active engagement of the Greater Atlanta community through a re-branding campaign is simply mind-boggling at this point. GaSo, West Georgia, Kennesaw - all three of these schools have a better rmedia presence in this city than State does.

    "Build it and they will come" doesn't work in a city/state where others are building AND letting people know about it.

  • You are exactly right, but I will go further into the culture I experienced with the commuter school. The 150,000 alumni that people keep raving about is trapped in this culture and marketing shouldn't spend a dime going after their dollars.
    The 150,000 alumni that live in or around Atlanta display a culture that:
    1. is indifferent to GSU Athletics
    2. Did not participate in anything other than class while attending GSU and participate in nothing currently as an alum.
    3. They do not make financial contributions to the school. (If you disagree then how come more Ga State alumni donate to schools other than their Alma mater? If a GSU alum goes to a Tech or UGA game and pays for a ticket, then a donation to a school you haven't attended has occurred. I would argue that the majority of the sports fans that are GSU alum have contribute 10 times more to other schools by purchasing tickets and Swag.
    4. has not been back to the school since graduation.
    5. do not use their disposable income to purchase any merchandise that advertises the school be it clothes, souvenirs, stickers, paraphernalia etc...(I might see a State sticker on a car once a month. Meanwhile I see KSU, UGA, Tech, Alabama, Clemson, FSU, Miami, UF, and Southern car stickers 50 times a day in traffic).
    The 150,000 alums are not proud of Ga State enough to advertise that they went to school there. I was in a fraternity and none of my brothers have a Ga State sticker on their car.

    Not saying Becker and Levick share in some of the blame, but changing the culture at Ga State needs to be the first priority. Triple the housing and require freshmen to live on campus will force a cultural paradigm shift. CTM changed the culture at Indiana State so I feel confident Levick made a great hire with our coach.

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  • Atlanta is the worst city for bandwagon fans. I remember going to falcons games before they were any good and being able to have an entire section to myself. I saw more people in the stands last year at a few of our games than I did at some Falcons games. What did they do? They got the right leadership, won games, and built a brand. We have none of that. 1-10 fans have 1-10 attitudes.

    Oh yeah and we compete acidemically. - Georgia Southern Grad

  • I disagree. I and a lot of people deeply involved themselves in GSU when I was there in the early 90s. I was involved in various organizations and in a fraternity. I created a feeling of a "real school" for myself.

    I am still friends with tons of people from that time period. They enjoyed their time at GSU, married to people they met there, and spend time with other friends they met there. Very successful people. Most were very excited about football leading up to the first season. They attended games.

    What was done to retain them and keep them engaged? Zero, zilch. Can you bring them back? I think so, but I can promise you that #allblueallin is not going to reach them.

    This post was edited by Ryan Elliott 12 months ago

  • Arthur Blank also lowered season ticket prices to the lowest in the NFL ($250 for upper level I think), despite getting heat from other owners. I think our season ticket packages are fine, it's just the individual ticket prices that I think we could price more effectively. For starters, make the cheapest ticket lower than the cheapest ticket available at GT..

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Michael Klein 12 months ago

  • This is similar to my case as well, but I believe you and I are in the minority. Of the thousands of students we had during our time as a mostly-commuter school, very few stayed on campus to get involved in organizations. I do not agree that we should not spend a dime to try to capture part of this 150,000 that was active at GSU, but Stealontgt's points are valid. Most of our alumni feel no connection to this school at all, which is sad but very true. All about changing the culture, and that starts with connecting with the students today that get to experience campus life, athletics, on-campus greek life, etc. It's the best chance we have to have our program thriving in the future.

    I agree that winning will attract the casual fan and give our brand exposure, but at this juncture in our program it is clear as day to me that the majority 150,000 we boast about have no interest after the novelty of the first game wore off. Now could have athletics done a better job reaching them and generating interest? No doubt about it. But they didn't. And we didn't win enough to give them anything to come see on their own. So here we are now. It will be a long, long year.

  • My case is a little different. I treated it like a commuter school and was only on campus when I had classes. I am and always have been proud of the education I received, but have never been too invested with the school as a whole. That all changed when we got football. Now I follow all of our development(mostly on here. thanks guys). Beyond football I follow the schools happenings.

    We should really be putting a lot of pressure on football to MAKE IT WORK because there are a lot of potential me's out there. Like it or not, football is the face of our school to the general public now. We can't afford to screw it up.

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    For the latest Georgia State recruiting news, follow me on twitter! @RyanTGraham247

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