Apparently nothing can stand in the way of CSU students and their football team, not even a lack of sleep.
The annual Qwest Rocky Mountain Showdown between CSU and CU, set for a 10 a.m. kickoff Sept. 1, at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, was once again a hot ticket, and CSU’s allotment of 10,000 student tickets sold out Thursday.
Previous CSU-CU games have started in the afternoon or evening, but this year’s game was moved to 10 a.m. by Fox Sports, who will be televising the game nationally.
“TV pays the money, so they get to tell you when you’re playing,” said Dave Plati, associate athletics director at CU, who is the home team for the game. “That was the only time slot they had with national exposure for this game.”
Plati said the TV payout is somewhere around $400,000 which will be divvied up between the two schools.
“Both schools need that revenue,” Plati said.
Sharon Rady, CSU’s ticket manager, said the early start time seemed to have no effect on student ticket sales, though she said there remains around 6,000 regularly-priced tickets available.
Students who still need tickets can purchase these for $58 through the CSU ticket office or any Ticketmaster location, Rady said.
For some CSU students, the 10 a.m. kickoff time was a surprise.
“That’s a little too early,” said Taylor Hukari, a freshman chemical engineering student. “It’s a bunch of college kids who want to be sleeping at that time.”
But Hukari said he is still planning to attend the game, albeit with an earlier start to the day.
“You’ve still got to go support your team,” Hukari said.
The Rams players themselves said they’re okay with the kickoff time.
“I think it’s good to play it early,” said senior wideout Damon Morton. “You’ve got all your emotions going and sometimes it’s better to just get out there and play.”
Junior running back Kyle Bell said he would prefer a later time, but said he’ll be ready nonetheless.
“For me, personally, I’d rather have some more time to get mentally ready,” Bell said. “But it’s a great opportunity for us to be on national television, and it’s still going to be a great atmosphere.”
Plati said that in the future, the kickoff time of future Rocky Mountain Showdowns will depend on which media outlet is covering the game, and the general interest the two teams ignite.
“I think another part of it is that this is a 4-8 team (CSU) against a 2-10 team (CU),” he said. “There’s not a lot of those being shown on opening weekend. I think we’re pretty lucky to have it on national television.”
Another issue that has arisen for some who bought student tickets to the game is actually getting the tickets in-hand.
According to Rady, Ticketmaster and the Denver Broncos, the host of the event, designed a new system to make all student-tickets printable at home.
“It’s kind of lame that they’re not giving out real, legitimate tickets,” said Kellen Woods, as senior psychology major. “In previous years you always just got a ticket mailed to you.”
Rady said the change was made by Ticketmaster and the Broncos to avoid mailing problems in the past with students changing addresses in the summer.
According to Rady, the e-mail with the printable ticket was sent out Friday, and students who are having difficulties should contact the Denver Broncos ticket office at 720-258-3333.
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org