Tennessee governor says Vols must fill Neyland

Neyland Stadium

Neyland Stadium

Whether wearing the hat of Tennessee governor or the hat of a longtime University of Tennessee football follower, Bill Haslam recognizes that the Volunteers can't experience too much more of the same.

"They can't be average, and you hate to say it that way, but financially it just doesn't work," Haslam said Thursday afternoon. "They have to fill that stadium up. They get the benefit of being a part of the SEC and all the TV money that comes with that, but at the end of the day, if they can't fill that stadium up and sell concessions, then not just the football program but all the other sports that benefit from a strong football program suffer."

The Volunteers, who not long ago racked up 10-win seasons and New Year's Day bowl invitations with great regularity, are just 28-34 the past five years and 12-28 in league play. Tennessee has its fourth head coach since 2008, and a report this week in the SportsBusiness Journal detailed the athletic department's financial woes.

Read the full story by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Comments » 130

lknvol writes:

Thank Hamilton and Cheek! Cheek has to go!!!

EastTnVols962 writes:

I don't think the problem is fully due to the fact that TV networks offer a better view. I personally prefer the gameday atmosphere associated with going to the stadium. The problem is that these stadiums get away with highway robbery on game day with the amounts they charge. A popcorn and a soda should NEVER amount to more than $5.00 in my opinion. Of course that's just if you can afford to get into the game. I think college sports are a little bit better in terms of ticket price, but the NFL is just ridiculous. I saw that the Super Bowl tickets were face value of $850. Sorry little Billy, but daddy doesn't make six figures, so your dream of going to the Super Bowl will have to wait, because they need to make sure Jay Z and Obama can sit together. But I do agree that a full Neyland would be more beneficial to the team.

eduardo writes:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

needa_momma writes:

Blame the fans for substandard results across the board.

DC82_Vol writes:

Uh, this seems like an easy one. First the obvious, start winning games. How about lowering ticket prices so more families can afford to go. Hamilton was so into making things plush for the donors he forgot the other 90,000 people in Neyland Stadium. TN is the new Nascar. They are catering to the sponsors and not the fans. What did that get Nascar? Without the fans, there is no interest from sponsors. Sounds pretty simple when you think about it. Bring back the fans and everything else will fall in place.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Really doesn't take a genious to figure that out

maciste54 writes:

Win ten and they will come !

JSmith525 writes:

The Vols still finished #8 in the NCAA in average attendance with 89,965 per game. That however was 5% less than the previous year. Of the top 20 rankings attendance wise, that 5% decrease tied #5 Penn State. The huge gainer in attendance for the season was (like it or not) USC which had an 18% increase. Everyone keeps talking about the debt that the Vols have, well when you build the best Training center in the USA, I imagine there will some dept involved. They will start back on the right track with the 2013 season, and the recruits will come, they will come because UT spent the money and built it.. " Build it and they will come" sound familiar?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

The Haslam's had a chance to hire a big time coach and they whiffed..I do believe UT got lucky getting Jones in at the last minute, but let's face it, he's got to win and fast to appease the budget woes on the hill.

lm5449#205749 writes:

in response to eduardo:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well He did not want the job but don't let that stop your useless post.

AncientVolFan writes:

in response to lm5449#205749:

Well He did not want the job but don't let that stop your useless post.

Im5449, Stop with the logical, truthful posts. It's not what people want to read. TIC

Rumblefish writes:

Poor product on the field = poor attendance
Good product on the field = good attendance

It's not rocket science.

ktownorange32 writes:

in response to maciste54:

Win ten and they will come !

This is the kind of attitude I hate about our fan base. "Win and I might show up".... Smh... When I have the money I am at every game I can be. Tenn fans need to get behind their team. There is sooooo much to be said for players getting energized by the fans. TA&M has it right, fans are the 12th man. I can't count the number of times I saw a lackluster performance by our guys and then I looked around the stadium and saw empty seats and heard booing.... That affects the players. I'm not saying we will win 10 games, but if the fans get out there and shake Neyland everytime our guys do something good.... I can say they will play harder for US because they want US to love them and scream for them....

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Use deer antler spray..

JSmith525 writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

Poor product on the field = poor attendance
Good product on the field = good attendance

It's not rocket science.

Since when is having the #8 attendance ranking in the NCAA "Poor Attendance"?

HooRay_Vol writes:

I hate going to the stadium, trying to find a decent place to park that doesn't cost a fortune, fight the crowd, get to my seat and find someone is already sitting there, but it turns out that the other people in the row ARE SO DAMN FAT that there is barely enought room of our two seats, then we sit shoulder to shoulder or have to lean forward the whole game to see a team lose to VANDY or KY. No thank you.

And for all you obese losers.....LOSE SOME WEIGHT!

born2ride writes:

in response to eduardo:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UT came very close to getting Jon Gruden. It came down to salaries for assistant coaches. But Dave Hart dropped the ball and let the deal fall through.

Charlie Strong would have been a good hire but Hart blew it too. Now we are stuck with Butch Ball. He is better than Dooley but not going to fill up the stadium.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to JSmith525:

Since when is having the #8 attendance ranking in the NCAA "Poor Attendance"?

the story is about filling NEYLAND. not every other stadium in the country. did even you go to the games last year???? their trumped up announcement of the attendance was NOWHERE NEAR the actual attendance. i was at several games where TN was lucking to have 65-70k butts in seats.

just being over half full makes neyland an empty place.

Disgruntled_the_Elf writes:

This is a simple problem of the product being worth the price. For the last several years the product is no where close to the price of admission. If you want to fill the stadium, first make it so that a family doesn't have to take a second mortgage on their home to afford the price of admission. Second, put a team on the field that fans want to spend money to see!

gogovols2002#222335 writes:

It will be hard to match attendance like it used to be. Until/if? the economy rebounds.. not enough discretionary income for many to spend for a trip to knoxville.Maybe they could do like nascar and seat dummy like human images to make the stands appear full for TV.

MikeAnderson writes:

Sounds like Gov needs more cash for those expensive pensions they give away! To hell with him!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to born2ride:

UT came very close to getting Jon Gruden. It came down to salaries for assistant coaches. But Dave Hart dropped the ball and let the deal fall through.

Charlie Strong would have been a good hire but Hart blew it too. Now we are stuck with Butch Ball. He is better than Dooley but not going to fill up the stadium.

Dude/dudette, this is water under the bridge and how do you know CBJ can't fill up a stadium? Are you saying the fans are so PR ridden they'll only show if UT had a celebrity as HC? Good grief, by your standards UT should simply do away with fb if they don't appease the fans. Get your arse in the stadium or stay at home, but your opinion doesn't matter(nor does mine), to alleviate the low attendance winning is the only cure and it won't matter if Santa Claus or Gruden is the coach, because in the long run they have to win.

mikec1000000 writes:

Here's a hint...stop scheduling the likes of Austin Peay, Western KY, and South Alabama! High School games are more entertaining and it doesn't require a second mortgage to get tickets. People are willing to pay a premium price for a real football game, win or lose.

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

There is nothing like the experience of watching a game at Neyland stadium.I was there two years ago at the Cincy game,there was about 95,000 in attendance,well below capacity.But atmosphere was great.

MikeAnderson writes:

TV IS so much better! Why do you think they pay schools so much to produce the game? Brick and mortar is expensive like stores! Cut ticket prices back and lets see if they can produce like Pat!

wigmeister writes:

in response to eduardo:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IDIOT! He said he does not want to coach college ball. You can't be that dumb to put a post like that on this site.

MikeAnderson writes:

It now comes down to this: the average joe has a big TV and a case of beer; why would he gear up to take all day to find a parking lot, walk 10 miles, pay $10 for a hot dog, then fight for space while wearing an oxygen mask?

marVOLous writes:

Prices kept going up while the team kept going down.

The only way I see it ever improving is if they open up and sell beer at Neyland.

MikeAnderson writes:

Gov will have to hike the Sky Box price to offset the loss of seats....Corps have the cash!

MikeAnderson writes:

They don't already sell beer??? That's the answer!

DC82_Vol writes:

in response to ktownorange32:

This is the kind of attitude I hate about our fan base. "Win and I might show up".... Smh... When I have the money I am at every game I can be. Tenn fans need to get behind their team. There is sooooo much to be said for players getting energized by the fans. TA&M has it right, fans are the 12th man. I can't count the number of times I saw a lackluster performance by our guys and then I looked around the stadium and saw empty seats and heard booing.... That affects the players. I'm not saying we will win 10 games, but if the fans get out there and shake Neyland everytime our guys do something good.... I can say they will play harder for US because they want US to love them and scream for them....

I know for a fact, football tickets are part of the student body fees at Texas A&M. It is a nice place, cool town and they have great tradition. but, not a lot else at College Station.

We have to build the excitement and make it affordable at TN. Hamilton pandered to the rich in the skybox seats.

8inarow writes:

It pains me so to see Vols going after each other like this....

VolFanHoping writes:

What really ticks me off about this is that Hamilton was praised for his financial stewardship if nothing else. Cheeky gave him $1.3 mil for destroying a variety of programs, running up debt, and bleeding reserves. Geez I wish I could get a job where I get paid that much for ruining so many things.

wigmeister writes:

The average person cannot afford to come to the game. By the time they buy a ticket, pay large parking costs, pay large concessions cost, etc., if you have 2 to 4 people, you have to cut out groceries for a few weeks. The average guy just doesn't have the discretionary income to do this. And, if you are not a donor, you are in the nosebleed seats. The other thing, how can fan's bash a coaching staff that hasn't even coached one game. Those posters are sad! Many of the top coaches now in the SEC started just like CBJ. They grew into the job. Know we haven't been stellar lately, but many are nasty and they haven't even gotten to signing day. Criticism is one thing. Giving an opinion is another. But the nasty posters are just ridiculous!

TommyJack writes:

in response to VolFanHoping:

What really ticks me off about this is that Hamilton was praised for his financial stewardship if nothing else. Cheeky gave him $1.3 mil for destroying a variety of programs, running up debt, and bleeding reserves. Geez I wish I could get a job where I get paid that much for ruining so many things.

The most *amazing* thing Hamilton ever did was writing in an expensive buyout for Dooley...a buyout for a coach with absolutely zero leverage. That was criminal.

1vavolfan writes:

The 5% amusement tax UT has to pay to the city is an abomination. The city makes millions off of the fans that come into the city for the games, they don't need to screw the University out of another $1.6 million per year just because they can.

signalcorps writes:

in response to EastTnVols962:

I don't think the problem is fully due to the fact that TV networks offer a better view. I personally prefer the gameday atmosphere associated with going to the stadium. The problem is that these stadiums get away with highway robbery on game day with the amounts they charge. A popcorn and a soda should NEVER amount to more than $5.00 in my opinion. Of course that's just if you can afford to get into the game. I think college sports are a little bit better in terms of ticket price, but the NFL is just ridiculous. I saw that the Super Bowl tickets were face value of $850. Sorry little Billy, but daddy doesn't make six figures, so your dream of going to the Super Bowl will have to wait, because they need to make sure Jay Z and Obama can sit together. But I do agree that a full Neyland would be more beneficial to the team.

Tell me what does Jay Z and president Obama sitting together have to do with the price of tickets.....

signalcorps writes:

in response to 8inarow:

It pains me so to see Vols going after each other like this....

governor started it,,everyone understand it's about economic

bigdisbig writes:

Hey Haslam, wasn't it you or your arrogant daddy that got Fulmer fired? You have a history of stupid decisions. Oh, by the way, thanks for the wheel tax that you pushed thru and lied about property tax not increasing. Wheel tax is terrible and property taxes are higher now thanks to you.
Go take a look in the mirror Haslam and see what a self indulged dumbarse looks like.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The most *amazing* thing Hamilton ever did was writing in an expensive buyout for Dooley...a buyout for a coach with absolutely zero leverage. That was criminal.

The man was trying to keep the Kiffin fiasco from happening again..But I agree, how stupid of a decision was that to lock in an unproven coach. Hamilton was then able to get a huge buyout for himself after wasting millions of UT athletic funds..IMO UT should sue his arse for misuse of funds (and back pay) and then criminally charge him as well.

ktownorange32 writes:

in response to DC82_Vol:

I know for a fact, football tickets are part of the student body fees at Texas A&M. It is a nice place, cool town and they have great tradition. but, not a lot else at College Station.

We have to build the excitement and make it affordable at TN. Hamilton pandered to the rich in the skybox seats.

I was using their "spirit" as an example. I know prices are an issue and I don't take that away from anyone. The prices at UT are high.... BUT I have read posts and seen first hand that the true problem is fans want to win BEFORE they come pay for tickets. There's plenty of "fans" out there willing to pay the prices for tickets, fair prices or not. We have a culture here that wants wins first and thats not how it should be. The BBall program is the same and those tickets are far cheaper. Look at Thompson-Bowling. Tenn fans need to support their team thru the bad times as well. In fact.... this past half of the season tickets could be found DIRT cheap and fans still refused to go support them. You didn't have to be there to support Dooley, but the guys out there in orange deserved the support. Granted they weren't box seats, but I got my pair of Missouri tickets off Craigslist for 40 bucks and Kentucky for 60 bucks. All I'm saying is whether you like what Cheeks and Hart are doing or not, whether you like who the HC is or not..... If you show up at the games and make some noise, the players will play better. If we don't show up, the players respond to that. I know there's people out there like me that don't make a fortune but love the Vols and find ways to get tickets at resonable prices and get into the games.....

VolFolks writes:

in response to eduardo:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He told them he wasn't interested. Maybe supply and demand will eventually work-prices for tickets and concessions may have to drop unless UT starts winning 9-10 games each year before the 100,000 numbers return. Even then, that is not a guarantee.

mid10ECvol writes:

What's fascinating about the Governor's comment is the buck really does stop at his desk. If the program isn't up to his standards...then I propose he get to work on it.

He appoints the Board of Trust who hires the president who hires the AD who hires the coach. He is CEO of "UT incorporated"

If you want better results Governor, then I suggest you start slappin' some folks upside the head and say..."get your head in the game, or i will find someone who will...."

underthehill writes:

in response to wigmeister:

The average person cannot afford to come to the game. By the time they buy a ticket, pay large parking costs, pay large concessions cost, etc., if you have 2 to 4 people, you have to cut out groceries for a few weeks. The average guy just doesn't have the discretionary income to do this. And, if you are not a donor, you are in the nosebleed seats. The other thing, how can fan's bash a coaching staff that hasn't even coached one game. Those posters are sad! Many of the top coaches now in the SEC started just like CBJ. They grew into the job. Know we haven't been stellar lately, but many are nasty and they haven't even gotten to signing day. Criticism is one thing. Giving an opinion is another. But the nasty posters are just ridiculous!

My opinion of Jones thus far is simple..he has given no one any reason to be critical..he has done an amazing job thus far in recruiting when you consider all the current circumstances..holding on to Carr when bama came after him was bigtime important..creating relationships with high school coaches is vital for the future..I think UT will end up with a decent recruiting class this year..Jones thus far has done a good job..in my opinion..as for attending games..it is tough for senoirs..my category..

jj523#632728 writes:

All I can say is I have and will always be a Big Orange Fan. We have season tickets and try to make several games. It would be so much better if they were winning but I have never left a game early or booed the players. I guess I am just a loyal person and don't give up on folks when the going gets tough. I guess my blood is just too orange. Go VOLS! If you aren't happy and give up your tickets then do not complain when they get back on top and you can't get tickets. I know stuff is high dollar but that is true on any thing you do, not just Vol Football.

jj523#632728 writes:

All I can say is I have and will always be a Big Orange Fan. We have season tickets and try to make several games. It would be so much better if they were winning but I have never left a game early or booed the players. I guess I am just a loyal person and don't give up on folks when the going gets tough. I guess my blood is just too orange. Go VOLS

movinonup writes:

Let's see - 2013 schedule at home:
First three games: Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, South Alabama....Guess better get that ESPNU susbscription lined up. If I lived in Knoxville, yes maybe, even probably, but from other end of state with overnight stay, gas, food, parking for teams that I do not even know who mascot or team nickname is, nope.

mumfordfan writes:

This governor is such a light weight. All I hear is how much power the Haslams have. Well, when it was on the line in December when we were looking for a coach, they (the Haslam family) was apparently AWOL. And then in his State-Of-The-State address, his main talking point is "more school building construction." Have you been to UT lately? It looks like Syria over there. Ugliest campus I have ever seen, with about 10 projects going on at once. Hmmm. Wonder if big construction bucks has a little something to do with that?! Kinda reminds me of Gov. Sundquists' personal freeway up in Townsend.

Basketvol writes:

in response to eduardo:

Gee if that the case...WHY THE HECK DID YOU NOT HIRE JON GRUDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think he made it pretty clear that he was not interested at all in the job. Kind of hard to hire someone who isn't looking for a job. I'm sure if you were AD you would have been able to hire him though.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

Really doesn't take a genious to figure that out

Or a genius....or a CPA....or a rocket surgeon.

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