UCLA Wants More Fresno State Fans To Show Up at the Rose Bowl?

Brian Dohn has the story, that originated in the Fresno Bee (and HT to Bruin Report Online's message boards, where I saw the story first.)

UCLA recruits 'Dogs fans

Red Wave encouraged to buy up Rose Bowl tickets.

By Jeff Davis / The Fresno Bee
09/24/08 00:20:20

Fresno State's Pat Hill says Bulldogs fans will paint Interstate 5 red on their way to Pasadena for Saturday's game against UCLA in the Rose Bowl.

But the coach's projection of 20,000 to 25,000 Red Wavers headed south might be a bit overzealous.

UCLA officials say they don't expect a sellout at the 82,000-seat Rose Bowl, although they did place ads in the Sports section of The Fresno Bee encouraging Bulldogs fans to purchase more tickets.

"I don't see that number [25,000 Fresno State fans]," said Scott Mitchell, UCLA associate athletic director for marketing and revenue development.

There are 3,000 to 5,000 tickets left, Mitchell said, all in reserve seating at $35 each. General admission is sold out. The Bruins are unranked and this is the first week students return to campus to start classes.

Fresno State carries a No. 25 national ranking and a 2-1 record into the Rose Bowl. UCLA, which upset Tennessee in its home opener, since has lost two straight by a combined 90-10 score.

Bulldogs fans have traveled well to Southern California in the past. Sports information director Steve Weakland pointed to two examples: 24,500 Red Wavers drove to Anaheim in 1992 for Fresno State's 24-7 defeat of USC in the Freedom Bowl; and 20,000 made the trip to the Los Angeles Coliseum in 2005 to watch No. 1 USC and Reggie Bush escape with a 50-42 victory against the Bulldogs.

A California Highway Patrol spokesman said his department doesn't expect a busier time on the road than normal for weekend traffic.

"We have maximum enforcement periods where we put 80% of our work force on the road, but that's usually Labor Day or Fourth of July," CHP officer Patrick Etchebarne said. "This is not considered an MEP weekend."

UCLA apparently wanted to make it one by trying to entice Bulldogs fans to hit the road.

Mitchell said UCLA placed the quarter-page ad in The Bee to try to sell the remaining tickets. Headlines in the ad said: "Fresno State vs. UCLA" and below it "So you can say 'I was there,' " accompanied by a photograph of a packed Rose Bowl and ticket information.

The bold type was my emphasis.

Just so we're clear, UCLA's marketing department wanted to sell more tickets to the game, so they advertised in the Fresno papers so that more Bulldog fans would show up at the Rose Bowl and root against the Bruins.

I'm stunned, really, at a loss for words.

Unless I'm missing something, this is one for the record books.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHT:

This story is different than this story. I personally thought the "Monopoly" ad was a bit premature, but at least it was an aggressive move that confronted our rival. Using UCLA advertising dollars to encourage our opponents fans to show up and cheer against the Bruins is arguably traitorous.

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