Story by Chris Graham
A loud cheer erupted before last week’s Virginia-Syracuse basketball game when the public-address announcer made mention of UVa.’s upcoming appearance in the Gator Bowl.
Maybe fans were looking forward to seeing it on TV.
“A school’s ability to sell out its ticket allotment factors into the selection process for future bowl games,” Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage said in an appeal to Wahoo fans to sell out the school’s allotment of 13,500 tickets to the Jan. 1 game in Jacksonville.
“I understand traveling to Charlotte or Atlanta is easier and less expensive than the trip to Jacksonville, but I know our fans will have a great time if they make the decision to attend the game,” Littlepage said, referencing recent bowl-ticket-sale successes involving the Peach Bowl and Continental Tire Bowl that had been changing the perception that UVa. fans don’t travel well, to use the sports vernacular.
Approximately 5,000 tickets remain on sale from Virginia’s allotment of tickets for the game pitting the 9-3 Cavs and the 8-4 Red Raiders from Texas Tech.
The game will mark Virginia’s first appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl since 1994, when Virginia squared off with Boston College in the Carquest Bowl.
I will be among the thousands of fans and alums making the trip to sunny Florida – and will be reporting back from Florida about the game and the bowl atmosphere for “The SportsDominion Show.”
“Many of our fans will recall we had hoped to return to Jacksonville on several occasions during the last 15 seasons, but a perception that Virginia fans didn’t travel well hurt us in the bowl selection process. We have collectively worked hard to overcome that reputation, primarily by selling more than 20,000 tickets to the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl and more than 25,000 tickets to the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl,” Littlepage said.
“The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is also the final game for a special group of fourth and fifth-year football student-athletes, including consensus All-American Chris Long. These young men have worked hard to produce one of the most memorable seasons in Virginia football history. I ask our fans to please help us reach our goal of selling 13,500 tickets to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl,” Littlepage said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.