"We had a good week last week," Byrne said of Arizona’s side of the ticket sales. "We’ve actually had a good surge. (BYU) is still a little bit ahead of us, but not in the same manner that they were a few weeks ago."
"We knew when we scheduled this game with BYU that they have a good following in The Valley especially, and we anticipate a very good crowd."
Byrne also added that he’s guessing the total attendance figure will be somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000, probably closer to the lower end.
"If I was a betting man it’s probably going to be closer to 45."
What we found out after posting this on Twitter is that Arizona’s surge in ticket sales may be due to BYU fans buying tickets on the Arizona side.
@azdesertswarm I've talked to several ppl who bought on the AZ side when the BYU side filled up, so could be more still— Brady Spackman (@bjspack) August 29, 2016
@azdesertswarm I bought my tickets on the Arizona side. BYU side was full.— Rampage Rebekah (@RichBeeker) August 29, 2016
@azdesertswarm $100 says that 25% of "Arizona's sales" are actually BYU fans buying on Arizona's side. The stadium will be white and blue.— Tanner Christenson (@tannachris) August 29, 2016
I, for one, am not surprised by this development in the slightest. Just 20 months ago, I walked into that very same stadium for an Arizona game against Boise State, and all I saw was blue and orange. BYU has a much larger following in the Phoenix area than the Broncos do thanks to the large LDS communities in Mesa and other surrounding cities.
Plus, most people have the idea in their head that Arizona gave up a home game for this neutral site duel, but that’s not the case at all. The Wildcats still have the maximum seven true home games in 2016.
"The way our schedule worked out this year, we could have our seven home games and have that eighth game in-state by playing BYU up in Phoenix," Byrne explained. "Of the five games we have scheduled with them, three of them are in-state, and two of the three are in Tucson."
Arizona is currently scheduled to play BYU in Tucson in 2018 and 2027, in Provo in 2026, and in Las Vegas in 2021.
This was never intended as a home game for Arizona, and all signs point to it being more of a road game right now. You want true non-conference tests for this team? One’s coming, even if it still within the state boundaries.