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August 28, 2004

Georgia Tech Targets Non-Alumni Fans To Fill Football Stadium

FROM ATLANTA’S ONLY D1 FOOTBALL TEAM comes word of comprehensive marketing and promotion efforts to fill the seats in Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Since Tech has a relatively small number of alumni in Georgia, the plan is to market to transplanted Atlantan football fans whose alma maters are far away. Promo elements include festival activities and pre-game radio broadcasts at the stadium, expanded radio coverage, and catchy ads: “We’re Atlanta’s Hometown Team.”

Expanded last year by 12,000 seats (to 55,000), the new capacity has resulted in plenty of seats yet to be sold. Tech has moved only 27,000 season tickets thus far. The two other high-profile teams in the state have done much better: the University of Georgia (cap: 92,000) and the Atlanta Falcons (cap: 71,000) are both sold out, and both had to turn away about 10,000 season ticket requests.

The numbers behind the strategy:

• Georgia Tech alums in Georgia: 46,065

• University of Georgia alums in Georgia: 135,804

• Residents in Metro Atlanta: 4,300,000

Georgia Tech’s Senior Associate AD, Paul Griffin, is charged with developing a desirable hometown team imagery for the Yellow Jackets.

"We need to be more embracing and involving to a broader public," Griffin said. "We need to make people feel part of Georgia Tech, despite the fact they might never have been here as a student or might never be an engineer or one of our scientists.”

Although this type of effort is not easily achievable, it can be done. There are many avid college fans who are not alumni of their favorite college teams. Georgia Tech could conceivably become Atlanta’s “default” D1 school. Big winning seasons will help big time.

(this 279 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—has been distilled from a 939 word article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of 8-25-04)