BYU fans cheer for the Cougars at an away game in Houston in 2020. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU alumni, marching band gearing up for Vegas football game

The BYU football team and the marching band are looking forward to a historic night on Saturday as the Cougars face the Arizona Wildcats on a neutral field — the new Allegiant Stadium just off the Las Vegas Strip.

Earlier this week, the Pac-12 conference commissioner George Kliavkoff announced on Twitter that 57,000 tickets had been sold for the game. He said the game is expected to have the largest crowd to watch a college sporting event in Nevada’s history.

“(BYU) has had a strong showing, attendance-wise for decades here,” said Mark Wallington, the media coordinator for the Las Vegas Bowl.

Wallington said on Wednesday there were around 6,000 tickets left. The newly-constructed Allegiant Stadium, which is home to the Las Vegas Raiders, has a capacity of 65,000 people. 

In preparation for the thousands of BYU fans, the Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson chapters of the BYU Alumni Association have been working with BYU’s athletic department to put on Fan Fest on Sept. 3, the night before the game. The alumni chapters have been promoting the football game and Fan Fest through Facebook advertisements and the BYU Alumni Association’s message boards.

The alumni chapters collaborated for months in advance to prepare for the Fan Fest. They also worked with the BYU Store to create a special shirt to sell at the event. The three chapters will be splitting the money from the shirts and putting it toward replenishment grants given to BYU students from Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson according to Debbie Sanborn, the chapter chairwoman for Las Vegas.

The Fan Fest will also have food trucks, face painting, Cosmo and the cheer squad. Duane Oakes, southwest regional director of the BYU Alumni Association, said the association’s goal is to “promote, energize and share the spirit of the Y.”

Saturday’s game will also be historic for BYU’s marching band, The Power of the Wasatch. According to the band’s Facebook account, it will be “the first time in over 20 years the BYU Marching Band will be traveling for (the) first game of the season.” 

The Power of the Wasatch will be performing twice on Saturday. The marching band will perform a pre-game show and then combine with Arizona’s band to perform a “patriotic tribute” during halftime according to Director of Athletic Bands Fred McInnis. “The pre-game show is an amended version of what (they) do at BYU,” McInnis said.

The last time the Cougars faced the Wildcats was the 2018 season opener. The Cougars beat the Wildcats in Tucson that year 28-23, and broke the Wildcats 17-game win streak for home openers.

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