LSU has sold 4,200 of its allotted 9,500 tickets to the Citrus Bowl against Louisville, a university official said Tuesday.
The 20th-ranked Tigers (7-4) and the 15th-ranked Cardinals (9-3) meet on Dec. 31 in a game with the highest payout ($4.25 million) of any non-New Year’s Six bowl. The flashy matchup between LSU’s stiff defense and Louisville's potential Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson has helped make the game one of the most attractive of any bowl this season.
However, attendance might be hurt because of the bowl’s kickoff time. The game kicks off at 10 a.m. CT, or 11 a.m. local time in Orlando, Florida.
“It may be a late-arriving crowd,” said Matt Repchak, the game’s senior director of marketing and media. “It may affect people getting into the building a little bit slower. We'll have to coax them in from fan fest.”
The Citrus Bowl does not reveal ticket sale numbers until closer to kickoff, Repchak said, but this year’s event is trailing last year’s matchup between Big Ten powerhouse Michigan and the homestate Florida Gators. That game sold out within 72 hours.
“It's tough to compare to that one,” Repchak said.
Especially with that early kickoff time. Florida and Michigan kicked off at noon CT on New Year’s Day. The Citrus Bowl moved to New Year’s Eve this year because of the conflict with NFL games on New Year’s Day, which falls on a Sunday. Bowl officials had the option of playing on Monday, a work day, or Saturday morning.
Repchak said the bowl chose to be the lead-in game to the College Football Playoff semifinals, scheduled for later Saturday.
Through two days of selling, LSU has sold just under half of its allotment, said Brian Broussard, LSU’s associate athletic director for ticket sales. The bowl allotted 9,000 tickets to Louisville. It’s unclear how many tickets the Cardinals have sold.
The bowl has another 18,000 tickets for local distribution, and the rest are available for sale to the general public, Repchak said. Camping World Stadium, renovated since LSU’s last trip there after the 2009 season, is listed as having a capacity of 65,000, but that’s not necessarily accurate, Repchak said.
About 4,000-5,000 temporary seats are included in that number. Those seats, if used, are located in the north end zone on the field level. The bowl is not expected to need them this year, giving it a seating capacity of 60,000.
Eight LSU officials visited Orlando and the stadium on Tuesday for a site visit, Repchak said. They toured the stadium, the team hotel (Hyatt Regency Orlando) and potential Orlando-based practice locations.