SOUTH BEND – While the team has gone up and down over the last 46 years, one thing has remained a constant with Notre Dame football: Their crowd.
Every time the Irish take the field, they’ve done so with a sellout crowd behind them. Whether the capacity was just under 60,000 or closer to 80,000 as it has been the past 20 years, the fans have always made sure that every ticket was sold for contests at Notre Dame Stadium.
But this weekend, in the midst of a three-game November stretch in South Bend, that’s not going to happen.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick released a statement to the South Bend Tribune and Indianapolis Star that indicated that the school’s football sellout streak is likely to end when the 16th-ranked Irish host the 23rd-ranked Navy Midshipmen this Saturday.
“That this comes during a time of sustained success for our football program reflects both challenges impacting the ticket market nationwide and the unique dynamics of this year’s schedule,” said Swarbrick in the statement to the Tribune and the Star.
It ends an incredible run for the program, which last failed to have a sellout on Thanksgiving Day 1973 when they hosted Air Force. Notre Dame sold out their next home game against Purdue on September 28, 1974 and has had a full house ever since. On that day and until 1996, the capacity was 59,075, but a stadium expansion put it over 80,000 until the school’s most recent renovation that was completed in 2017.
Now capacity sits at 77,622 and that was filled every game the last two seasons along with the first five games of the 2019 season. It is also expected that the final game of the year against Boston College on November 23rd will not be a sellout either.