Customers leave the Bulldog Shop Thursday afternoon after contributing to the record sales the store has enjoyed this season as a result of the football team’s success. Photo Roe Borunda
Less than 500 tickets were left as of Thursday evening for the Fresno State football team’s home finale at Bulldog Stadium against New Mexico on Saturday in what appears to be the program’s third sellout of the season.
Fresno State, undefeated at 9-0, has played in front of maximum-capacity crowds in wins against Boise State (Sept. 20) and Nevada (Nov. 2).
The Bulldogs’ “Blackout” game against the Wolf Pack sold out five days before the game, the fastest Bulldog Stadium has sold out since it expanded to 41,031 seats.
Saturday might not be the last time fans will have a chance to catch the Bulldogs at home. Fresno State, currently in first place in the West Division, would clinch a spot in the inaugural Mountain West Conference championship game on Dec. 7 with a win.
The championship game, played between the winners of the conference’s West and Mountain divisions, will be hosted at the home stadium of the division champion with the highest Bowl Championship Series ranking.
Fresno State, No. 15 in the BCS, is the only conference team ranked in the standings.
Nineteen seniors will be recognized before the game.
“I think it’s terrific for our fans to be able to be here and experience the fact that we’re clinching the West,” Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said.
“I thought it was special last year in our last game, same thing, Senior Day against Air Force where our fans were here seeing us celebrate that championship. We still have unfinished business to do a week later, but I think the fact that we can clinch will be special, not only our players, but also our Red Wave fans.”
Fresno State’s Bulldog Shop, the university’s official apparel and souvenir store, is also enjoying the football team’s success.
Sales at the store have broken daily, weekly and monthly records, said Diane Brock, manager of the Bulldog Shop.
The shop received boosts from marketing efforts like the Blackout game against the Wolf Pack (where fans were encouraged to wear black to match Fresno State’s attire for that game) and the Bulldogs’ season-opening “Whiteout” game against Rutgers on Aug. 30.
The store has had to make several orders for souvenirs, such as the mini Bulldog helmets, because of their popularity, Brock said.
“I thought last week things were going to be pretty quiet because we had an away game and then we had bye, but we’ve been steady actually for those last two weeks,” Brock said.
“Sales have been incredible. It’s not just because of the white and the black, it’s because of the success of the football team.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m., the first and only home game this season that will start before 6 p.m., and will be televised on ESPNews. Tailgate lots will open at 9 a.m.
The Bulldogs have averaged an attendance of 37,204 in their five previous home games this season.