Central New York, Sports, Syracuse

High Hopes for SU Football Game Crowd Despite Record Low Attendance

The Carrier Dome is expected to be loud come Friday night when Syracuse hosts the defending national champion Clemson. (c) 2017 Jason Herman

Listen here to find out why the Carrier Dome is expected to have its largest football crowd this season Friday night.

By Jason Herman SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Syracuse football has not produced the best crowds in the last few seasons. In fact, the team is on pace to record its lowest attendance record for the third consecutive year. However, tomorrow night could be an outlier.

Syracuse hosts the undefeated defending champion Clemson Tigers tomorrow night in the Carrier Dome. Brett Wallace, the SU assistant athletic director of sales and marketing, thinks the game is set up for a huge crowd.

“You factor in that it’s a Friday night game, it’s on national television, defending national champions. It’s kind of the perfect storm to get as many people to the Dome as possible,” Wallace said.

Syracuse has sold about 41,000 tickets, Wallace said. The Dome has not seen a crowd of 40,000 for an SU football game in more than two years. This season, the highest attendance was just more than 33,000. But one thing that is expected to help that number go up Friday night is there will be more people on campus than usual. Friday kicks off SU’s annual Parents Weekend.

There’s more motivation to the athletic department to sell tickets than just to create a home field atmosphere for the team. There is only one college football game tomorrow at 7 p.m., and that’s the game happening inside the dome.

“Anytime you’re on mainstream ESPN, you have motivation to sell your product to a captive audience,” Wallace said. “From 7:00 tomorrow to 10:00 tomorrow, all eyes are on us and all eyes are on the Carrier Dome.”

Wallace and the athletic department have made strong efforts to push students in particular to go to the game. The first 1,000 students to show up to the Carrier Dome tomorrow get free admission. The athletic department has partnered with Otto’s Army, Syracuse’s student section organization, to promote giveaways during the game.

Wallace’s screensaver on his computer is a picture of the Carrier Dome two seasons ago, when more than 43,000 fans showed up for Syracuse versus Louisiana State. However, Wallace hopes to come back to his office Monday morning with a new screensaver.