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North Dakota State opener could draw 17,000 fans next weekend
North Dakota State opens its football season one week from today, and it will be somewhat uncharted waters from an attendance standpoint. It’s been at least two decades since the Bison have played at home on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
NDSU ticket manager Josh Hemingway said he anticipates a crowd in the 17,000 range when the Bison host Lafayette College (Pa.) at the Fargodome.
“The holiday weekend is the big unknown yet,” said Josh Hemingway, NDSU ticket manager.
Hemingway has been at NDSU since 1996 and he’s never experienced it. All of NDSU’s home openers since then have either come on a Thursday night or a Saturday other than Labor Day weekend.
The last two home openers have been in mid-September. The Bison played Morgan State (Md.) last year on Sept. 18 and Wagner College (N.Y.) on Sept. 19 in 2009.
The biggest crowd for a home opener in the last 10 years was 18,701 in 2008. That was against Stephen F. Austin (Texas) of the Southland Conference, an opponent that had some familiarity with Bison fans.
Lafayette is from the eastern-based Patriot League.
“I anticipate next week will be our big push,” Hemingway said.
The last 10 season openers:
2010: Morgan State, 17,340
2009: Wagner College, 18,128
2008: Austin Peay, 18,701
2007: Stephen F. Austin, 18,823
2006: Concordia-St. Paul, 15,609
2005: Arkansas-Monticello, 13,793
2004: Valparaiso, 18,665
2003: Tusculum, 10,581
2002: Winona State, 12,499
2001: Angelo State, 13,060
By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM