This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Going into the bowl bidding process, many Utah players had one hope: Anywhere but Vegas.
But Utah's bid in the Foster Farms Bowl, while a relief to the team and many fans who didn't want to play its postseason game in the same bowl for a third straight year, is on track to have much lighter attendance.
Director of ticket operations Cleadus Woodbury said Utah (8-4, 5-4) has sold or given out 3,340 of its 7,000-ticket allotment for the bowl game in Levi's Stadium on Dec. 28. Compared to last year's sellout of the 7,500-ticket allotment at Sam Boyd Stadium against BYU, that's a significant cooling-off.
But Woodbury said ticket sales are "doing about what I thought.
"That's a good chunk," he said. "It would be tough to fill for anyone. Stanford played in the game a few years ago and didn't fill their allotment."
One of Utah's sells over Stanford, which it leapt in the Pac-12 bowl pecking order, was purportedly its road representation. Large swaths of red decorated road games this year, particularly in Bay Area games against San Jose State and Cal. But Utah's 1-2 November finish, paired with a bowl near Christmas against an unfamiliar Big Ten opponent, might have dampened some spirits to travel.
The 3,340 represents a significant number of free tickets as well: Each Utah football players gets six tickets for his family or friends; athletics staffers will travel to the game; and the department gave a discount for members of the Bay Area alumni association (some of the proceeds will be fed back into the chapter). U. of U. students are also able to get free tickets fewer than 150 have taken up the offer so far.
Woodbury said the Utes are expecting about 3,500 fans who purchased or received tickets through the department to come. Other Utah supporters have purchased through third parties, preferring more selection or not wanting to get the picked-over seats by higher-tier Crimson Club backers.
The Foster Farms Bowl historically hasn't been known for swelling attendance figures. Last year's matchup between UCLA and Nebraska (considered one of the Big Ten's best traveling fanbases) was reported at 33,527, under half of Levi's Stadium's capacity. And photographs from the kickoff suggest the actual number was far fewer. Stanford's win over Maryland in 2014 was reported as a 34,780 attendance figure, despite having a team from the backyard.
But don't expect half of Utah's allotted seats to be empty: Woodbury said the department has donated 3,000 tickets to local Bay Area charities, such as the YMCA, which are free to deal them out as they wish. In the official attendance figure, Utah will count its full 7,000 as being used.
"It's a lot easier to sell out in Vegas when you're playing BYU," Woodbury said. "But right now, I think we've done pretty well."
Tickets are, evidently, available at utahtickets.com.
Utah vs. Indiana
P Foster Farms Bowl
At Santa Clara, Calif.
Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m. MST
TV • Ch. 13