Fine. Let's discuss it.
Last year, Syracuse hosted Wagner in front of 33,299 people, the sixth-smallest home opener attendance in Carrier Dome history. Given the opponent and the timing (0-2 start, Yom Kippur), it was hardly a shock, but, still. Coming off of an 8-win bowl season, you'd like to think you could pack the Dome a little better than that for a home opener.
Well, Syracuse is on track for "a little better than that" so far when it comes to attendance for the Villanova Wildcats game on Friday night.
"We're way ahead of where we were with Wagner last year," Giansante said. "We're excited about the reaction. We've, for sure, sold more than 35,000. We're hoping for significantly more than that."
You also have to factor in that the game is the "Next Fan Up" promotion in which ticket buyers can request a free second ticket. And then there's the fact that game tickets were sold as part of a three-game package for anyone who wanted to lock in a ticket for the FSU game early, which will surely mean many of those tickets will go unused.
Hopefully, the appeal of a Friday night affair will help matters. Folks going away for vacation and State Fair attendees can schedule around the game. Plus it's the actual first game of the season, so no one's hopes have been dashed yet by a MetLife loss or Syracuse over-scheduling itself right off the bat (that comes later).
Last year, I guessed that the home opener would pull in 36,444. The overwhelming majority of voters said we'd get under 34K. You guys were right. Since we already have "more than 35,000," whatever that means, I'm going to say paid attendance for the game will top out at 37,292. That's less than we got for the Maine home opener in 2010, but a marked improvement on last year. And that's what it's all about...improving.