With 11 days to go, the Belk Bowl has sold more tickets than it did for four of the last five years.
N.C. State exceeded its allotment and has sold more than 24,000 tickets for its matchup with Louisville on Dec. 27 at Bank of America Stadium. As of today, more than 55,000 tickets have been sold for game, said Will Webb, the bowls executive director, with about 18,500 tickets still available.
This years bowl game, the 10th in Charlotte, with a third title sponsor, is the first in a primetime slot (8 p.m. on ESPN). Webb said the time change has helped ticket sales, as has the strong finish by both teams. N.C. State (7-5) won five of its final seven regular-season games, including upsets of Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia.
Louisville (7-5) closed the regular season with five wins in six games and finished with a share of the Big East title.
I really think we have the two best 7-5 teams in the country, Webb said. Theyre both playing their best football.
The bowl has had three sellouts in its first nine years, two involving UNC (in 2004 and 2008). Attendance has waned since the Tar Heels 31-30 loss to West Virginia in 2008, though, with 50,389 for UNCs return in 2009 against Pittsburgh and 41,122 for South Floridas 31-26 win over Clemson last year.
Clemson went into last years game on a down note, losing to rival South Carolina and dropping two of its last three games. The attendance, a nine-year low, reflected the mood of the fan base, Webb said.
This will be a positive bounce-back for us, Webb said.
Tickets remain available on the bowls website, belkbowl.com and via Ticketmaster.