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Florida State expecting near-capacity crowd for season opener against Notre Dame

Exterior shot of Doak Campbell Stadium. (Image credit: Ryan Kelly - WCTV)
Exterior shot of Doak Campbell Stadium. (Image credit: Ryan Kelly - WCTV)(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:55 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Football season is fast approaching and the Florida State Seminoles kickoff their season this Sunday against Notre Dame.

Doak Campbell Stadium is expected to be near it’s capacity of almost 80,000.

Normally for a game of this magnitude - a primetime slot, a high-profile opponent - tickets would be sold out by now. But, Florida State Associate Athletic Director Rob Wilson says he thinks COVID-19 concerns are stopping some from attending.

FSU has just over 7,000 tickets left unsold, which means more than 70,000 people are planning to be in attendance on Sunday.

“Well I think the reason it’s not sold out, is probably, I think there are people who have concerns about it and are not buying tickets as rapidly as they normally would,” Wilson said.

In pre-COVID times, a season opener against Notre Dame would likely be sold out. But, this year, many are erring on the side of caution.

“The large crowds, I wasn’t too keen on that sort of fact,” FSU student Isabella Gallese said.

On the other hand, many students are excited to support the football team after a difficult 2020.

“If you feel safe and comfortable, you should be able to go and enjoy a football game,” said Cameron Casey. “We got perfect weather.”

FSU is taking precautions to protect fans on game day: The school will be placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the stadium and encouraging mask-wearing and social distancing.

“We’re hoping our fans will be responsible and our students will be responsible,” Wilson said.

But, they won’t be enforcing those measures.

“The requiring of six feet between people, as you might guess, is pretty much impossible to enforce,” said Dr. Daniel Van Durme with FSU’s College of Medicine.

Dr. Van Durme says the good news is the game is outside, so while people will be packed together, they at least wont be in an enclosed space.

“However, we’re also concerned that we will see a surge just as people gather more, whether that’s from tailgating, whether it’s students that are back in classes, college students that are back and that you know clustering gather at parties and gather at bars,” he continued.

FSU will be setting up a mobile vaccine clinic before the game on Sunday, from 3-7 p.m.

The clinic is open to everyone, but the first 250 FSU students or staff who get the shot will get a $50 gift card to the FSU bookstore.

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