SBD/January 4, 2011/Colleges

Pizza Hut Park Readies To Host FCS Title Game For First Time

The NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title game will take place Friday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, for the first time, and the game "could benefit from geography and a change in timing," according to Valerie Wigglesworth of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. This year's game, pitting Eastern Washington against Delaware, is the first FCS championship not in Chattanooga, Tenn., since '96. In addition, there is a "three-week gap between the semifinals and the championship game," compared to "only a week" in previous years. Attracting fans in North Texas "unfamiliar with this level of football" has been a challenge for the bowl, which also has to compete "with the much-more-popular Cotton Bowl, scheduled for the same night" at nearby Cowboys Stadium. Pizza Hut Park, home to MLS FC Dallas, "holds more than 21,000," and about 10,450 tickets had been sold as of Thursday morning, "the most recent figure available." Paid attendance at the last FCS championship game in '09 was 14,328, "though the number of fans in the stands was lower because of rainy weather that night." Average paid attendance for the games in Chattanooga was 17,215. Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said, "Our goal is to fill the park. But we're also being realistic. It's new. The schools are far away. As the mayor I would hope that our city and the surrounding cities really get into the spirit of this game because it means so much to the North Texas area." Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett, whose league is co-host of the game, said, "There's some benefit to a team from out West and one from the East meeting in the middle." But he added, "I don't think we were counting on the two teams necessarily to make our attendance" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/3).
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