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You can almost hear the crowd roar!
Now may not yet seem like the time to talk football, but if you are planning on coming up for a game in the fall, you should be looking to book your hotel fairly soon especially for the more popular opponents coming to The Swamp.
I have been going to Gator football games since I was a student (not mentioning age but I already have a daughter that graduated UF and one that is a sophomore). I know which opponents are the big rivalries (did I mention LSU, Tennessee, and Kentucky) and which games should be sleepers (okay we won’t count the time that the Gators almost lost to Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns). A Gator home game is an experience, from the pre-gaming (ask your college student) to the Gator Walk (2 hours and 25 minutes prior to each home game when fans line the north end of the stadium to cheer on the team as they enter the stadium to prepare for that day’s game) to the actual game itself.
Tickets on Sale NOW!
Season tickets are on sale now but if your plan is to come up for a game to visit your student, you may want to start booking your hotel now. There are some that are already sold out. When looking for a hotel, prepare for some sticker shock as you will notice the rates are sometimes double what you would pay for a weekend with no events. Single game tickets have not yet gone on sale, but should be in next few months.
Unless you entered the lottery for the 2018 football season (opens in January of each calendar year), you will not be able to get a room during a football weekend at The Reitz Union. Those who enter, find out the lottery results in mid-May. Read our blog about Reitz Union lottery here.
Almost every hotel in Gainesville requires anywhere from 30-60 day cancellation during a football weekend (as opposed to the 24-hour cancellation when it is not a high demand weekend – this includes graduation weekends.
Football weekends are a big deal especially with Florida’s strong alumni base and national appeal (if they are playing well, you will see ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast at least once from campus. That may include UF’s most famous quarterback, Tim Tebow.
The biggest rivalries where it is tough to score a ticket will be the September 8th game against Kentucky, the September 22nd game against Tennessee and the October 6th game against LSU. Florida’s first home game will be against Charleston Southern on September 1st. With a new coach, expectations are high for the Gators (or at least better than last year). But as a longtime Gator Alumni, “In all kinds of weather, we all stick together” and experiencing a Gator game is well worth the visit. You could try to scalp a ticket outside of the stadium (read about my experience here), or you could buy on Stubhub. Yes, they are pricey but at least you’ll know where your seats are. The better the Gators do, the higher the prices are. You could take your chances but prices are based on supply, demand and a winning season.
Have U Heard that UF has a Clear Bag Policy for football games? I have been at many games at The Swamp over the past few years, and always, there is a student or a parent with a handbag, backpack, or camera bag in their possession. Very small clutches measuring 4.5” x 6.5” (about the size of a hand) are allowed. There is nothing worse than being denied admission, especially close to the start time of a game. So your choice is to go store it in your car (an invitation to have it stolen). UF does not have a place to check items at the gates. You can find some great UF personalized ones on Etsy.
For the full list of prohibited items, go to http://floridagators.com/sports/2016/4/11/clear-bag-policy.aspx?id=13739
To read Gameday Policies, head to http://floridagators.com/sports/2015/12/10/_gameday_policies_.aspx
Don’t forget your Gator gear. Check out these websites for some great Gator merchandise: Fansedge, Fanatics, Life Is Good or their local Target or Walmart for any of these. Even Etsy and Overstock carry college logoed items. Just type in your University and search away. For those with fancier taste, check out the Dooney & Bourke collegiate collection. For students, check out our blog on Game Day attire.
Show your Gator pride by decorating your cell phone with a customized UF skin from Skinit. Use code huh25 and you will get 25% off your order (excludes gift cards, e-cards, and shipping)
If you are planning on coming up for Homecoming (November 2-4), you may want to book a hotel for Thursday through Sunday so you can take in Gator Gallop and the Parade on Friday and Gator Growl on Friday night and the game on Saturday (this takes on national holiday status in Gainesville with schools getting off for the day)
See our blog on hotels and start planning now. As UF starts promoting the sale of tickets for the game, demand will increase.