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Weekday Pigskin Date Is Reason for Weak Response, Group Says

When Fresno State and Ohio State meet at the Disneyland Pigskin Classic Monday night, a crowd of 30,000 is expected, said Orange County Sports Assn. Executive Director Don Andersen, whose group promotes the game.

“We’re disappointed that our attendance will be on the low side,” Andersen said.

Because the Angels were scheduled to play a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians this weekend at Anaheim Stadium, the Pigskin Classic had to scheduled on Monday.

“If we had the game on the weekend, we probably could have sold 20,000 more tickets,” Andersen said. “So, yeah it’s frustrating; to the tune of about $600,000.”

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When Fresno State agreed to play in the Pigskin Classic, Andersen said Coach Jim Sweeney thought the Bulldogs could bring more than 30,000 fans.

“Fresno brought 26,000 fans down when they beat USC in the 1992 Freedom Bowl,” Andersen said.

But the Fresno State ticket office, which has sold 7,500 tickets for Monday’s game, estimated that 10,000 Bulldog fans will attend.

“The biggest stumbling block is that the game is on a Monday,” said Dave Haglund, Fresno State’s associate sports information director. “Most people can’t afford to take the two days off of work.”

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The four Pigskin Classic games have averaged 39,093 spectators. The game has featured high-profile programs including Florida State and Colorado, which won a national championship the season it played in the game.

Last season, a USC-North Carolina match-up drew the Pigskin Classic’s largest crowd, 49,309. Anaheim Stadium’s capacity is 69,000.

“In four years, all eight teams we’ve had in the game have gone on to bowl games,” Andersen said. “The quality of the teams has never been a question.”

Disneyland’s five-year contract to sponsor the game expires after Monday’s game. Andersen said an announcement will be made after the game regarding the status of the contract.

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