Florida State took an obvious, necessary step to fix its football program late last year, firing coach Willie Taggart and replacing him with Mike Norvell from Memphis. We’ll see how that works on the field starting with the Seminoles’ Sept. 5 opener against West Virginia in Atlanta.
FSU acknowledges that it needs to make some off-field changes, too. One step: Sending out a survey Friday to alumni, current and former boosters and fans who have recently purchased tickets to figure out what it might want to do with Doak Campbell Stadium.
The goals, according to a letter accompanying the survey, are to “acquire information that will help shape our priorities for potential investments in stadium and fan engagement improvements” ranging from “the amenities we offer to how seating in the stadium might look in the future.”
FSU, clearly, needs to do something about home attendance. The average announced figure in 2018 (69,288) was its lowest in 26 years. That number plummeted in 2019, dropping to 54,019 —FSU’s worst since 1987.
Those numbers have real consequences for a program that has been transparent about its financial problems. Athletic director David Coburn knows that fixing the issues won’t be easy.
“You have to do more than win. You have to win in a way that interests the fans. We have to do some things with the stadium and around the town to make the experience more enjoyable for the fans.”
FSU isn’t the only program reexamining its fan experience. Florida has recently added a beer garden and food trucks to its gameday festivities. Upgrades to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the Gators’ long-term agenda. Some schools (including Alabama) are downsizing their stadiums with the goal of providing a better experience to the fans who do show up, even if it means a smaller crowd.
I’m not an FSU or UF administrator, but I’m still curious: What sort of changes (big or small) would you like to see at Doak? What would make your experiences better and make you more likely to attend games in person instead of watching from home?