UT fans prepare for rivalry game
Paluska is one of 9,000 student ticket holders who began the mass migration to Dallas today for the game against OU. Many students opted to skip their classes if professors had not already cancelled them, and are making the trip despite rounds of midterms beginning next week.
"It's not just the game. It's a whole weekend to get away," said Paluska, who is also looking forward to riding the giant ferris wheel and eating "fried everything" at the State Fair of Texas, which provides the backdrop to the famous matchup.
The game hosts 80,000 fans and attracts $21 million in direct spending to Dallas, said Sharon Pete, marketing research specialist at the Dallas Convention & Visitor's Bureau.
"It's a tradition we look forward to every year," said Priscilla Hagstrom, spokeswoman for the Hyatt Regency in Dallas. "It's going to be a good and profitable."
The hotel is already sold out for Friday night and anticipates a full booking for Saturday, and occupancy is high across the city, Hagstrom said.
The appeal of this weekend's game stems from a spirit of rivalry more than a century old.
"It makes it a much more emotional experience," said Robert Wooten, economics senior and president of the Silver Spurs. "It's a pride issue. It's really remembered, like each game. You go back each year, same place, same time, and challenge them again."
"Seeing the orange and red split is probably what everyone enjoys. And there's all the trash talk," Paluska said. "The crowd is amazing."
Spirit organizations across campus are gearing up for the big weekend.
Bevo, the University's longhorn mascot, left Wednesday with the Silver Spurs and is housed in a livestock stable in Dallas, Wooten said.
The Texas Cowboys transported Smokey the Cannon, traditionally fired after every touchdown, to Dallas Thursday afternoon. The organization will showcase the cannon at alumni events and make the tailgating rounds Saturday morning, said Kevin Ream, business senior and Texas Cowboys president.
Some organizations had less to prepare than others.
"It's just more of a fun weekend, you know," said Christian Deitering, business and radio-television-film senior and president of Texas Hellraisers. "I'm probably going to go out and buy paint this afternoon. That's about it."
The Texas Box Office controls 37,000 tickets for the game, said Mark Harrison, assistant athletics director. From that amount, 7,000 tickets are allotted to student season ticket holders and 2,000 are distributed to students by lottery, Harrison said. An additional 2,000 tickets are granted to coaches, band members and other relevant groups, and the remaining tickets are sold to the general public, Harrison said.
TicketCity.com, a local third-party ticket sales office, has seen steady growth in demand for Texas-OU game tickets, said Zach Anderson, TicketCity.com vice president of marketing. The company obtains tickets from a variety of sources, including independent scalpers. Supply and demand dictate prices, which range from $200 to $500, Anderson said.
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Defying popular wisdom, economics junior Matthew Paluska arrived late and left early from last year's football game against the University of Oklahoma. Learning from his mistakes, Paluska plans to get the most out of this year's Red River Rivalry with a schedule that includes a stop at Kolache Factory, a visit to Big Tex and plenty of pre-game corn dogs and root beer.