For the first time in nearly 50 years, Notre Dame will not play in front of a sold-out crowd, ending a 273-game streak that began on Thanksgiving Day in 1973, when the Fighting Irish defeated Air Force.
"Based on ticket sales through Wednesday, we do not anticipate sellouts for our games against Navy and Boston College [on Nov. 23]," Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. "That this comes during a time of sustained success for our football program reflects both challenges impacting the ticket market nationwide and the unique dynamics of this year's schedule."
When the sellout streak began, the capacity at Notre Dame Stadium was 59,075. Now, the stadium can hold up to 77,622 fans. While Swarbrick is disappointed the streak will come to an end while the team is playing some of its best football in recent years, he still expects the crowd to be raucous.
“For me, it’s always been: What’s the stadium environment like? Are we creating a great environment for our team and for our student-athletes? That you can say it’s also sold out is sort of a byproduct of that," he told the South Bend Tribune. “But if my choice is (77,622) people in an environment that’s not really good versus 75,000 in a raucous environment, I’ll take the latter every time.”
The Fighting Irish are currently 7-2 and have won 16 straight games at home. They are ranked #16 by both the College Football Playoffs and the Associated Press.
While 273 consecutive sell-outs may sound impressive, it pales in comparison to Nebraska's streak, which stands at 373 games and counting.