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August 29, 2019

20K tickets sold for UConn football’s home opener Thursday

More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for UConn football’s home opener Thursday night at East Hartford’s Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, team officials said late Wednesday.

Photo | Contributed
Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford

As it stands, the ticket haul would mean just over half of the 40,000-seat stadium would be filled for UConn’s 7 p.m. matchup vs. Wagner College, of Staten Island, N.Y.

But Thursday’s crowd, and others, may grow bigger by game time as UConn students are now able to access home sporting events for free, the school announced earlier this year. Parking lots for all tailgaters open Thursday at 2 p.m.

In total, UConn football will play six home games at Rentschler Field this fall between Thursday and Nov. 23.

The football team is coming off a dismal 2018 season in which it recorded just one win in its eighth consecutive losing season. 

Meantime, ticket sales for home games at Rentschler Field -- operated by quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) -- have steadily fallen over the last decade, before slightly rebounding in 2018.

NCAA attendance data shows UConn football drew 125,543 fans in 2018, or an average of 20,924 per game, in six home games. That’s up almost 3 percent from 122,007 fans, or an average of 20,335 per game, in 2017. 

However, UConn football ran a $8.7 million deficit in 2018 as ticket sales totaled $2.4 million vs. $3.3 million in 2017.

Attendance has declined by 46.8 percent since it peaked in 2008 when it averaged 39,331 fans per game, according to the NCAA.

It was not immediately clear Thursday how many season tickets UConn has sold for the 2019 season, which marks Rentschler Field’s 17th season in operation.

This fall will also be UConn’s final year participating in the American Athletic Conference before it joins the Big East in 20 sports, excluding football.

The Big East does not have football, so UConn long term will need to either find another conference for its football team or play as an independent. 

For now, UConn has said it plans to continue crafting its own schedule for the 2020 season as an independent, in addition to negotiating and securing its own TV deals.

Built in 2003, UConn football is the primary tenant of the $92 million stadium.

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