FAYETTEVILLE — With less than 24 hours until kickoff, plenty of tickets remain for the Arkansas vs Western Carolina season opener at War Memorial Stadium.
The Razorbacks have “distributed” about 42,000 tickets for the game, according to a UA spokesperson, with both general public and student tickets still available for purchase.
That is about on par with the last time Arkansas football played in Little Rock. Two years ago, the announced attendance was 42,576 for an 11 a.m. game against in-state foe UAPB.
Capacity for War Memorial Stadium is 54,120.
Kickoff for Saturday’s matchup with Western Carolina, another FCS opponent, was moved up three hours from 3 p.m. to noon CT because of extreme heat in the forecast.
Games played in Little Rock are not included in season ticket packages or the student access pass, so tickets must be purchased separately.
In a previous interview with Best of Arkansas Sports, Taylor McGillis – the senior associate AD for marketing and business development – said the UA was approaching season ticket sales last seen during the Bobby Petrino era more than a decade ago.
Declining Attendance at War Memorial Stadium
Barring an unprecedented surge in ticket sales, this will be the eighth time in 10 games at War Memorial Stadium that attendance failed to reach 50,000.
When the Razorbacks drew only 47,358 fans for their 2013 game against Samford at the start of that stretch, it was the first time attendance dipped below 52,000 in more than a decade.
That spanned 21 games, but it’s worth mentioning that was when Arkansas played at least one SEC opponent at the venue every year.
However, it also still drew big crowds for non-conference games. In fact, the Razorbacks twice hosted FCS teams at War Memorial Stadium during that stretch – UT-Chattanooga in 2007 and Missouri State in 2009 – and had official attendances of 54,836 and 55,572, respectively.
Of course, that was also during a more successful era of Arkansas football. The Razorbacks were coming off an SEC West title and still had Darren McFadden in 2007 and were in an exciting Year 2 under Bobby Petrino, with Ryan Mallett at quarterback, in 2009. The past decade has been arguably the worst in school history in terms of the on-field product.
As far as comparing similar games at Arkansas’ two home venues, the Razorbacks have drawn 56.9% more fans to their 11 matchups with FCS opponents at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville (67,866 average attendance) since 2005 than the four such games at War Memorial Stadium (43,244).
Arkansas Football in Little Rock
Here’s a look at the attendance for Arkansas football games at War Memorial Stadium since 2013…
|Oct. 23, 2021||UAPB||42,576|
|Nov. 29, 2019||Missouri||33,961|
|Oct. 13, 2018||Ole Miss||51,438|
|Aug. 31, 2017||Florida A&M||36,055|
|Oct. 1, 2016||Alcorn State||46,988|
|Sept. 12, 2015||Toledo||49,591|
|Oct. 18, 2014||Georgia||54,959|
|Nov. 23, 2013||Mississippi St.||45,198|
|Sept. 7, 2013||Samford||47,358|
Payday for Western Carolina
This is the first of three “buy” games for Arkansas football this season, as it’ll host Group of Five foes Kent State and Florida International later this season.
As is the case for FCS games, this matchup will cost less than the two later in the year. According to FBSchedules.com, the UA is paying Western Carolina a $550,000 guarantee.
The payout for the FIU game is not yet known, but according to The Record-Courier in Kent, Ohio, Arkansas is paying $1.6 million for Kent State to come to Fayetteville next week.
How to Watch Arkansas vs Western Carolina
Date: Saturday, Sept. 2
Location: War Memorial Stadium (Little Rock, Ark.)
Kickoff Time and TV Schedule: Noon CT (SECN+/ESPN+)
Announcers: Eric Frede (play-by-play), Jordan Reid (analyst)
Western Carolina’s Rankings: N/A
Arkansas’ Rankings: RV (AP) | RV (Coaches) | No. 28 (FPI)
ESPN FPI: Arkansas has a 99.0% chance to win
SP+ Projection: Arkansas has a 98% chance to win, favored by 36.2 (proj. score: 48-12)
Odds/Betting Line: Arkansas, -34.5 | O/U 62.5 (BetSaracen)
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