Iowa game becomes latest sell-out for Illini football

By Meghan Montemurro

The Illini football team’s game against the University of Iowa became the second game on the team’s 2008 schedule to sell out Wednesday.

Illinois football tickets sold at a furious pace Tuesday morning.

Illini single-game home tickets went on sale at 9 a.m. and by the end of the hour, the November 15 contest against the Ohio State Buckeyes was sold out. It became the fifth sellout in the last two years; the Iowa sellout made six total.

A limited number of sideline season tickets remain, as do single-game tickets for Eastern Illinois on September 6, Louisiana-Lafayette on September 13 and Minnesota on October 11. A limited number of seats in the first five rows remain for the Indiana game.

“Selling out the Ohio State game so quickly after single-game tickets went on sale is another great example of the excitement surrounding the upcoming season,” said Jason Heggemeyer, assistant athletic director for ticket operations in a press release. “The anticipation from Illini fans for this season and this game in particular has been incredible.”

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The first five rows at Memorial Stadium on the east and west sides have been made available for one more home game against the Indiana Hoosiers on October 18 , creating an additional 1,500 seats. However, once those tickets are no longer available, the game will be entirely sold out.

“Needing to open up extra seats for these games is a great situation to be in,” Heggemeyer said. “Illini fans continue to show that they’re some of the best fans in the nation and that they’re very excited about this season.”

During the 2007 season, Illinois sold out four games in a row against Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ball State, which was a first since 1986.

The 2008 State Farm Arch Rivalry football game between Illinois and Missouri sold out just as quickly when tickets became available Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. The game will be featured on ESPN on August 30 at 7:30 p.m. Now in its fourth year, the matchup features two squads ranked in the top 25. Last season, the Tigers defeated the Illini 40-34 in thrilling fashion at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. An average of 62,601 fans attended the past three games played in 2002 and 2003 in addition to last season. Attendance is expected to surpass previous showings.

“The excitement surrounding the Illinois and Missouri football programs is taking the game to a whole new level,” said Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, president of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, in a press release. “We’re looking forward to the incredible atmosphere the matchup will create throughout downtown and inside the Edward Jones Dome on August 30.”