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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.
HaveUHeard that a new app, Florida Gators App, that manages UF’s online football ticket system will launch August 1st and fans will be able to connect his or her Ticketmaster account to the app? This will allow fans the opportunity to store their tickets (season, package, or single-game) on the app and enter Ben Hill Griffin Stadium using their phone. This feature will be available for all fans (including students) this fall. Student tickets will be exclusively digital this fall with the plan for all tickets being digital in 2020. And, once in the stadium, fans will be able to store credit card information on the app so cash or a physical credit card won’t be necessary if a fan desires a cashless experience at concession stands. In addition to tickets and concessions, other in-stadium benefits for fans in the app include purchasing ‘Swamp Moments’ (i.e. video board messages, seat upgrades, or exclusive events).
Unless you entered the lottery for the 2019 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 the 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 21st game against Tennessee, the October 5th game against Auburn (and Homecoming) and the November 9th game against Vanderbilt. Florida’s first game of the season is actually in Orlando on August 24th against the University of Miami. This game should sell out considering the longtime rivalry that has existed over the years. The Gator’s first home game in The Swamp will be against the UT Martin Skyhawks (that’s Tennessee) on September 7th. After a better-than-expected season, expectations are once again high for the Gators (they usually are). 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. Accessorize with a clear bag from Score Gameday bags. Use the code HUH15 for 15% discount. Why not have a clear bag that still has style?
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 (October 4th – 6th)), 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.
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