The annual Potato Bowl is set for this Saturday, and tickets have been selling quickly.
The game, held in the Alerus Center, will see the UND Fighting Hawks take on the Drake Bulldogs, and UND Athletics only has about 4,000 tickets left to sell by the end of the week.
The Alerus Center holds about 12,000 people, and Kyle Doperalski, associate athletic director at UND, hopes to see a high turnout.
“The Potato Bowl, there’s generally some excitement around that,” Doperalski said. “Hopefully people feel comfortable coming out to the event. We’re just excited.”
COVID-19 impacted the entire football season last fall with all of UND's games being moved to the spring.
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UND football has made strides in recent years under head coach Bubba Schweigert, including finishing 5-2 in the previous shortened season. Doperalski hopes ticket sales for the Potato Bowl and other home games moving forward will reflect the team’s success.
“We’ve been in the playoffs both years since then,” Doperalski said. “We had a playoff appearance after the 2019 season, and we were in the playoffs last year. Since the first time we’ve opened a regular season game at home (with no attendance limits), we’ve had two playoff appearances. Coach Schweigert certainly has the program going in the right direction, so we’re excited about that and excited just to have a regular game again with the regular amount of fans and no limited attendance.”
The 2019 Potato Bowl totaled 8,592 attendees in 2019. Doperalski said he thinks this year’s attendance could rival 2019 once the rest of the pre-game and day-of ticket purchases are tallied.
“We generally have many fans that do (buy tickets day-of),” Doperalski said. “Day-of game sales is one thing specifically for football that our fans are accustomed to.”
UND Athletics is also having a Potato Bowl-only promotion providing $5 tickets for groups of 20 or more, which ends Friday night before the game.
The Junior Champions Club, a group for children in the eighth grade or lower, is also running a promotion. Usually the tickets for those children are $5 with one paid regular adult ticket, but this weekend only one adult with the children will also only pay $5 for their ticket.
As for tailgating, there will be no mask requirements. The Alerus Center has recommended the use of masks inside the arena, but attendees can do as they like outdoors.
The lot for those who purchased season passes has been sold out for several weeks, but single-game passes are on sale for $10 to those who want to pay as they enter the lot.
“They’ll pay $10 to the Alerus Center to enter the lot, and then they’ll just follow the parking attendants wherever they funnel them,” Doperalski said. “If they want to tailgate, then they certainly can, and we certainly encourage them to do that. You don’t have to be a season-long tailgating spot-holder to tailgate. Anyone can certainly tailgate for a single game.”
Tailgate Village, a family-friendly area filled with inflatables, vendors and more, will also be present in full-capacity. It will open at 1:30 p.m. before the game next to Entrance One of the Alerus Center. Doperalski said it is especially popular among those who aren’t tailgating but still want the tailgating experience.
“We have the Champions Club tent out there that has a meal for Champions Club members,” Doperalski said. “Our women’s basketball team will be out there in the tent pre-game to interact with our fans, and there will be a short program with them a little before the game. iHeart Radio will be out there, the (UND) bookstore will be out there selling apparel, Midco Sports is the game sponsor, and they will be there as well. We’ll have several things going on from a tailgating perspective.”