Bison fans grabbing up tickets for January title game
FARGO - North Dakota State football players and coaches are concentrating on Saturday's game with Indiana State.
At the same time, it appears a good chunk of Bison fans are looking beyond.
The NCAA said Wednesday only 559 tickets currently available to the general public are left for January's Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game in Frisco, Texas.
Of the 6,818 tickets sold, 33 percent carried a North Dakota address.
A sold-out Frisco ticket office last year left a lot of Bison fans scrambling, at least initially, in the three weeks leading up to the title game between NDSU and Sam Houston State (Texas). Some fans already had their travel arrangements made before securing tickets.
The capacity of FC Dallas Stadium is listed at 20,086, with last year's game drawing 20,586 fans. It was the first FCS title game sellout since 2007, when it was in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tickets for the Jan. 5 title game went on sale Aug. 30. Midfield seats are $35 and sideline seats are $30. The maximum number of tickets one person is allowed to buy is 14.
"I think for our fans to put 50 bucks on the line to make sure they get a seat is not a big deal to them," said Pat Simmers, NDSU's senior associate athletic director and president of the Team Makers booster group.
NDSU, the defending national champion, is 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the FCS.
"The energy is just phenomenal," Simmers said. "It is putting the cart before the horse a bit, but they believe they need to get them while they can. And they probably believe they can sell them down the road if they have to. If they can't sell them, it's a calculated risk."
The 6,818 available tickets represent just 33 percent of total capacity of the stadium. Each title team will receive 4,000 tickets to distribute to their fan base immediately upon completion of the semifinal round.
About 1,000 seats are saved for each team's marching band and 1,000 are allocated to a Frisco football youth league with which the NCAA is involved. Another 2,000 are distributed to the local Frisco organizing committee for purposes such as selling to local businesses, said Mark Bedics, the associate director of championships and alliances for the NCAA.
Bedics said it's possible the bands could be moved to the stage area, which was the case last year. There are also standing room areas that potentially could be opened up, he said.
"I've got a sense that a lot of Bison fans are talking about it," said Jim Hambrick, Team Makers president. "As the president and a fan, I'm excited like everyone else. There's a lot of football left, but I'm cautiously optimistic."
Simmers was asked if looking ahead to a repeat title game appearance is a dangerous proposition.
"I coached for 22 years," he said. "There's danger on every corner. We've been playing extremely well, but it takes only one game to mess that up."