Notre Dame planning for full capacity at home football games this fall

Tyler James
ND Insider
Notre Dame fans celebrate during the Notre Dame-Michigan football game on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 in Notre Dame Stadium.

A packed Notre Dame Stadium became one step closer to reality Wednesday. 

Notre Dame announced its plan to make all 77,622 seats in the stadium available for purchase for the 2021 football season. The Irish are preparing to join a growing list of colleges and professional teams across the country opening their stadiums back to full capacity.

A full-capacity crowd for one game would surpass the total reported attendance for all six of Notre Dame’s home games in 2020: 58,616. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance in Notre Dame Stadium last season was limited to students, faculty, staff and families of the teams playing in the game with a cap of 20 percent of the stadium’s capacity. 

The largest home crowd of 11,011 attended Notre Dame’s overtime victory over then-No. 1 Clemson on Nov. 7. The smallest crowd (6,831) was reported for the home finale against Syracuse on Dec. 5 after students finished the fall semester. 

“We can’t wait to welcome the Notre Dame family back to campus next season,” Notre Dame athletic Jack Swarbrick said in the university press release. “Between now and the start of the football season, we will continue to closely monitor conditions throughout the nation, in St. Joseph County and on campus, and based on that information will decide what protocols and procedures will be employed to ensure the safety of all attendees.  

“In light of the policies Notre Dame has already adopted requiring all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated before returning to campus for the 2021-22 school year, we encourage that everyone attending a game this fall be vaccinated.” 

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Swarbrick also said the university hopes to restore outdoor traditions like tailgating, the player walk, the Midnight Drummers’ Circle and Football Fridays at the Eck. 

Owners of Notre Dame football season tickets are eligible to start renewing their tickets this week. Notre Dame’s ticket lottery will begin in mid-July. Single-game tickets will be made available to the public in mid-August. 

Notre Dame announced last week that all sporting events on campus will move to mobile ticketing this fall. 

Prior to the pandemic, Notre Dame Stadium’s 273-game sellout streak ended Nov. 16, 2019 with a matchup against then-No. 23 Navy. The last two home games of the 2019 season — Navy (74,080) and Boston College (71,827) — did not reach sellout status. 

Notre Dame’s home slate opens Sept. 11 against Toledo at 2:30 p.m. The Irish will host six more home games throughout the season: Purdue (Sept. 18), Cincinnati (Oct. 2), USC (Oct. 23), North Carolina (Oct. 30), Navy (Nov. 6) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 20).