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A sea of green or another red invasion? What to expect at Saturday’s game against Ohio State

| Friday, September 22, 2023

No. 9 Notre Dame’s matchup against No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday night pits the two football powerhouses against each other in one of the most anticipated Irish home games since the turn of the century.

Recent marquee matchups at Notre Dame Stadium have seen Georgia fans in 2017 and Cincinnati fans in 2021 flood in and cover significant portions of the Stadium in red. With one of the most in-demand Notre Dame tickets in recent years, what can fans expect Saturday night?

Brett Jones, Notre Dame’s director of ticketing, said as of Tuesday the ticketing office is expecting Irish fans to show up. 

“I know there’s a lot of people concerned with the amount of Ohio State fans that could get in. But looking at our transfers through our system, it’s right on par with our previous games the last [three] weeks, so we fully expect our Notre Dame fans to show out,” Jones said.

Notre Dame GeorgiaCourtesy of Jake Peters
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart estimated 40,000 Georgia fans attended the 2017 game at Notre Dame.

The demand for Saturday’s game has outpaced that for the Oct. 14 game against long-time rival No. 5 USC. As of Thursday, the cheapest ticket for sale on resale platforms SeatGeek, TicketMaster and Stubhub was $434. At the same time, a ticket for section 18 in the lower bowl against USC is on sale for $310 on SeatGeek. 

Jones said his office works with SeatGeek through the ticketing software company Paciolon to monitor the resale of tickets. Notre Dame reserves the right to refund or reject tickets if the ticketing office determines the ticket was purchased for the sole purpose of resale, in an improper manner or over stated limits.

Rejecting or refunding tickets because of the manner of resale is rare, Jones said, but it is something the ticketing office “looks deep into.”

Notre Dame sells its tickets through a lottery system before the tickets go on public sale. The lottery has seven levels, starting with premier level donors who donated $50,000 or more in 2023 and ending with alumni. 

Tickets for Ohio State sold out in the sixth level of the lottery — the monogram level — while tickets for USC made it all the way to the alumni level before selling out, Jones said. Tickets not reaching the alumni level is not an annual occurrence, he said.

While Jones started at Notre Dame this year, he said he’s heard about the floods of opposing fans in the 2000 Nebraska game and Cincinnati and Georgia games in recent years. 

“It’s a topic of discussion because we don’t want that to happen again. We know [the ticketing office is] a big part of creating a home field advantage. So we obviously want there to be a sea of green out there on Saturday and limit the amount of red in there,” Jones said.

The office’s plan to limit the amount of Ohio State fans consisted of ensuring the tickets went straight into Notre Dame fans’ hands and scattering all but 600 of the 5,000 tickets contractually allotted to Ohio State throughout the upper bowl.

With the tickets not reaching public sale, Jones said the goal was achieved.

“​​We’re expecting a predominantly Notre Dame crowd and we’re excited,” he said.

F-16s and LED wristbands: A look at Saturday’s Stadium environment

Notre Dame will also distribute LED wristbands to each fan at the game Saturday. The wristbands are programmable by seat and will light up at key moments of the game to form light shows. 

LED wristbandRyan Peters | The Observer
The LED wristband fans will be issued at the Notre Dame-Ohio State game.

Assistant athletic director for fan experience Don Scott said he believes Saturday’s game will be the largest college football game to use the wristbands.

“The great thing about them is that they’re in zones so we’re able to do things like checkerboards, chases, pulses. It’s truly programmable,” Scott said. “They can strobe. They can do all of these neat things to music.”

Artists such as Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers have used similar LED wristbands at concerts. Some professional sports teams have also used them.

Scott, whose team coordinates flyovers before games, said four F-16s will fly over before kickoff. 

“It’s going to be a fun evening.”

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About Ryan Peters

Ryan is a senior formerly in Knott Hall from Lake Forest, Illinois. He is majoring in business analytics and minoring in constitutional studies. He currently serves as Managing Editor for The Observer. Follow him on Twitter @peterrsryan.

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