Utah Utes football notebook: Even the press box is full for Saturday's game

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 13 2015 6:59 a.m. MDT

University of Utah Rice-Eccles football stadium. (Richard Bart Gree) University of Utah Rice-Eccles football stadium. (Richard Bart Gree)

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday's Utah-TCU game at Rice-Eccles Stadium has been sold out for weeks. Now, the press box is full — and then some.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 218 media credentials had been granted, and that doesn't include crews from ESPN College Football GameDay and CBS College Sports, which is televising the game.

Utah associate athletics director Liz Abel said the numbers are the highest in school history, exceeding past BYU games (including Utah's Fiesta Bowl clincher in 2004) because of the large volume of national media attending the game.

The guest list includes Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Yahoo Sports, The Sporting News, CBSSports.com, USA Today, ESPN.com, the New York Daily News, FoxSports.com, Associated Press broadcasting and AOLFanhouse.

Aerial view of Rice-Eccles stadium. (Don Gree) Aerial view of Rice-Eccles stadium. (Don Gree)

In addition to five National Football League scouts, credentials will also be issued to representatives from the Orange, Fiesta, Rose, Sugar and Las Vegas bowls.

Abel and her sports information department staff were finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel Wednesday after three "extremely hectic, long days" of fielding requests.

The press box, which was big enough to host the 2002 Winter Olympics, is filled beyond capacity even though much of the credentialed media is comprised of photographers who will be near the field.

"We're suddenly finding out we are out of space," Abel said. "So we're finding creative places to put people, and we're doing our best to make sure there's room for the teams to play the game as opposed to all photographers down on the sidelines."

Abel said a dozen or so requests have been declined because of the limited space.

TICKET TALK: According to the folks at StubHub, Saturday's game is the top-selling ESPN College GameDay stop and Salt Lake City-area event of the year.

Fans on average are shelling out an average of $126 per ticket with a price range varying from $44-$591. The ticket brokerage has about 200 tickets still available with the lowest price being standing room only for $117 each. The highest priced seats are $750 apiece.

NOT LOOKING BACK: Quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, who led the Utes to a dramatic 13-10 win over TCU in 2008, isn't reflecting on the past. Saturday will be the Horned Frogs' first trip back to Rice-Eccles Stadium since then.

"It really hasn't brought back any memories," said Johnson, who acknowledged it'll always be special to him. "I think our players have done a nice job of knowing what's at stake here."

OVERNIGHT CAMPING: Fans wishing to secure good places to stand for ESPN's College Football GameDay show will be allowed to camp overnight at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The only approved area, however, will be by the southwest corner ticket office and along a stretch up 500 South. Camping may begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, and all gear must be removed by 5 a.m. on Saturday — two hours before the show begins.

Crimson Club tailgate pass holders may enter the Guardsman Way lot at 3 p.m. on Friday. Fans with other parking passes may reserve slots in other campus lots after 5 p.m.

Saturday parking opens at 6 a.m.

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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