This Thanksgiving Day’s game against Texas Tech marks the second year UT will not be playing its long-time rival Texas A&M, but the crowd drawn to the stadium is still expected to be one of the largest of the season, according to Mark Harrison, assistant athletics director for ticket operations.
Since Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, UT plans to rotate different Big 12 opponents every Thanksgiving at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. In last year’s game against TCU, the Longhorns lost 20-13.
Harrison said the ticket office holds about 2,000 student season tickets, but only 600 tickets had been picked up as of Monday for the Thanksgiving Day game. Students are able to draw tickets until Wednesday.
“We may not have as many students as we would for a normal game since many students go home for Thanksgiving break, but the overall crowd should be close to selling out,” Harrison said.
Although there may be fewer students who attend the game, Harrison said the alumni and other fans should almost completely fill the 100,000-person stadium, making it the second largest game of the year, after the Ole Miss game.
Harrison said game prices vary throughout the season. The lowest ticket prices were from the New Mexico State game, when tickets sold for around $60. The prices for the Texas Tech game range from $60 to $75. Most of the remaining seats sold by Texas Sports are located on the upper deck, so some fans choose to purchase better seats and more expensive tickets through StubHub, according to Harrison.
Both UTPD Officer Jimmy Moore and Texas Exes spokesman Tim Taliaferro said they expect a different crowd at the Thanksgiving Day game because there will be fewer students and more alumni.
“There’s a certain atmosphere about the Thanksgiving Day game that makes it special regardless of who you play,” Taliaferro said.
Taliaferro said he expects the alumni center to stay busy over the course of the day.
Moore said although the stadium is expected to be almost sold out, UTPD’s system during the game will not change.
“A lot of students go home during this time, so it’s a slightly different crowd that we deal with,” Moore said. “However, there aren’t any big changes because it’s a Thanksgiving Day game.”
Daniel Taraba, a 2005 graduate who is among the UT alumni who make up most of the Thanksgiving Day crowd, said he has attended the Thanksgiving game every year with his family for most of his life.
“It’s become a part of tradition,” Taraba said. “Thanksgiving equates itself with getting to watch Longhorn football.”