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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Athletics to set football attendance record

    An alumni Wilbur crowd surfs the red sea at the UAs 24-20 homecoming victory over California Berkeley, Nov. 11.
    An alumni Wilbur crowd surfs the red sea at the UA’s 24-20 homecoming victory over California Berkeley, Nov. 11.

    Whether the UA football team wins or loses Saturday in its annual rivalry game against ASU, Arizona Athletics will set a season attendance record at Arizona Stadium.

    Tickets sold out for the 80th edition of the Territorial Cup contest at 4:35 p.m. yesterday, raising total season ticket sales to 388,696 for seven home games, said Darren Graessle, UA director of ticket operations.

    That total surpasses the mark of 387, 737 established in 1988, when the football team played eight home games.

    “”I think what it says is that Arizona, our fans, our students, everyone is ready to embrace a really good football program,”” said Jim Livengood, UA athletic director.

    Credit for the high sales has gone largely to football head coach Mike Stoops and the progress the Wildcats have made in his third season.

    Arizona qualified for its first postseason since 1998 after defeating Oregon 37-10 Saturday in its third straight victory.

    The Wildcats stand at 6-5, following consecutive 3-8 seasons. The winner of Saturday’s game is guaranteed a berth in a bowl game.

    Stoops addressed this season’s strong attendance at his weekly press conference Monday.

    “”To win, you have to have that support,”” Stoops said. “”I think (fans have) been through some tough times and really stuck with this program and the direction that we’re headed.””

    Zona Zoo members filling the 10,000-capacity section along Arizona Stadium’s east sideline has helped make for high attendance this season, Graessle said, adding that football’s improved play under Stoops has been the biggest factor.

    Under a revamped student-ticket system this year, students purchased the $60 Zona Zoo pass for admission to football’s first six home games. The ASU game was offered for an additional $10.

    Zona Zoo holders were given an exclusive window between Sept. 11 and Nov. 3 to pay for seats in the student section, Graessle said.

    After that period, remaining tickets were offered to season-ticket holders and the general public, which included students who did not purchase Zona Zoo passes and ASU fans. All UA students paid $10 for tickets, whereas everyone else paid $40.

    More than 1,000 Zona Zoo members sold out Section 4 of Arizona Stadium, which is located around the 50-yard line. It will be the only section on the east sideline to offer general-admission seating, Graessle said.

    Sections 2, 3, 5 and 6, which will feature reserved seats, will contain some number of ASU supporters, but Graessle said he believes their presence will be minimal, given the opportunities granted to students and Tucson residents.

    “”I think we will have a small enough number so it won’t have a negative effect,”” he said. “”I think we’ve done a good job of weeding them out.””

    Daniel Butler, a women’s studies sophomore, said he would not mind if Sun Devil fans end up populating the UA student section.

    He guessed they would goad Wildcat fans to be more loud and enthusiastic.

    “”It only sucks if they start beating us, which could turn worse for them because we’ll get pissed off,”” he said. “”But, honestly, I don’t think there’s going to be an overwhelming number of (ASU supporters).””

    That the game will be played Saturday this year instead of Friday should boost attendance, Butler said.

    “”It’s the biggest game of the year,”” said Brendan Snyder, a biochemistry and pre-business freshman. “”It’s our rivalry. You have to go.””

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