SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Petco Park's first football game in its 17-years of existence will not be played in front of a sellout crowd.
Tuesday's SDCCU Holiday Bowl matchup between UCLA and North Carolina State will draw an expected crowd of about 30,000, rendering Petco Park at about 75 percent capacity.
"There's some factors, but it's going to look good on TV," Holiday Bowl spokesman Rick Schloss said on Monday. "It's going to be great for TV ratings. Everyone's going to be excited. We're bringing a lot of money to downtown San Diego."
While the UCLA-NC State is not regarded as a marquee matchup, other issues keeping crowds down could include remaining concerns about COVID, a cold-weather forecast for the evening, and an increase in ticket prices for the game. The most affordable seats at Petco Park cost $90 plus Ticketmaster convenience fees, more than double the prior game at SDCCU Stadium in 2019.
Schloss said the increase was a sign of the times and noted a $6.5 million payout to the schools. He said everything would be evaluated after the game is played.
Cameron Brendle, a North Carolina State fan, flew across the country to attend the game, paying $140 for a lower-endzone seat.
"I just feel like the location's hard to get a lot of people here, especially NC State being from the East Coast," he said, adding that the ticket price was among the highest he'd seen for a bowl game.
Meanwhile, East Village restaurants are preparing for an influx of fans on what would normally be a quiet Tuesday night in winter.
"Any day here in downtown right now it's really slow, so I think 30,000 is a good number for us," said Israel Montano, operations manger for City Tacos.
The restaurant, next to Petco Park's gate on Tony Gwynn Drive, is adding two staffers for the evening.