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Arizona-BYU game expected to draw record-breaking crowd in Las Vegas

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Fresno State v UNLV Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Vegas Kickoff Classic between Arizona and BYU Saturday will not only open a new chapter of Wildcats football, it will also usher in a new era for college sports in America’s entertainment capital.

Approximately 57,000 tickets have already been sold for the Allegiant Stadium matchup, according to Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff. That would make it the largest crowd to attend a college sporting event in Las Vegas or Nevada history.

The geographical proximity to Provo and Tucson and the large presence of BYU grads in the Las Vegas region helps explain why tickets are going so fast. Another factor: Saturday’s matchup will be the first meaningful football game to played at Allegiant in front of fans (with all due respect to the Las Vegas Raiders’ preseason opener and UNLV’s game vs. Eastern Washington Thursday).

Allegiant has a capacity of 65,000 seats, so it’s possible Arizona-BYU will fill the stadium to the brim, or at least come very close.

Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said Monday that he expects a strong turnout from Wildcats fans.

“Everybody I’ve spoken with feels really good about the way Arizona is traveling to this game,” Fisch said. “Our group likes being in Vegas. They like the opportunity how close it is, that they could drive to Vegas, from Arizona, from California and then, obviously, with people that live in that area. We’re hopeful we’ve got a really big crowd of Arizona Wildcats. Hopefully it’s a split stadium. I would assume they’re gonna have a big crowd as well. So we need all of the Wildcat Nation out there.”

Fisch said a large group of 78 UA letterwinners will be in attendance, though not Tedy Bruschi because of his contractual obligations with ESPN.

“I hope they’re embracing our team, our program, everything that’s going on here right now,” Fisch said. “It’s awesome, it’s what you need. I’ve said from the very, very first day I was hired, that college football is about the people that have done it before you, and they’re about the pageantry and the alumni base, and the people that have really walked this turf and walked these fields. It’s our job to respect that and our job to show them what our program is all about and what our team is all about.”

For those traveling to Las Vegas for the game, be sure to plan ahead for parking, which has been an issue at previous Allegiant events.

A COVID-19 vaccination is not required to get into Allegiant Stadium, but fans will have to mask up.

Fans who wish to tailgate may want to check out MGM Resorts’ Stadium Walk, which includes a Bud Light Beer Garden. Stadium Walk located along the Hacienda Avenue bridge, which runs between the Las Vegas Strip and Allegiant.

Admission is free and open to the public, and guests will be able to purchase food and beverage from some of MGM’s restaurants.

Arizona-BYU kicks off 7:30 p.m. MST and will be televised on ESPN.