Syracuse University has managed to squeeze four additional seats on both sides of the Carrier Dome scorer's table, setting the stage for a new on-campus basketball attendance record when Duke visits the Orange on Saturday.
Carrier Dome attendance has topped out at 35,446 only twice since 2014 — the only two times Duke has come to Syracuse for weekend games. With the eight courtside seats, Saturday's game will likely produce a record attendance of 35,454.
Syracuse officials addressed the attendance question and others during a news conference Tuesday to review logistics for a big sports weekend at the school. Syracuse is also shooting for a record crowd Monday when its women’s basketball team hosts Notre Dame. In between, the Orange will host of lacrosse games Sunday.
But the marquee event, one that will draw ESPN's College Game Day team to campus, is Saturday's matchup with the top-ranked Blue Devils.
"The game is sold out," Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said, as reported by Syrcuse.com. "We will set the new on-campus attendance record by a few. But it will be a record crowd."
"It’s at least eight," Syracuse vice president and chief campus facilities officer Pete Sala said. "Where do you find those seats? Well, we found them this summer."
According to Sala, the school moved people around to create the additional eight courtside seats this season on both ends of the official scorer's table, positioning fans almost directly next to each team's bench.
"There's four people that sit by me on the visiting team's end. On the other end there's four other seats," Sala said. "A lot of other venues are selling seats by the bench. It's common. John came to us over the summer and said, 'Is this something we can do?' Of course we’re going to do it."
"Pete and I worked hard this summer to sell the eight," Wildhack said. "The key is we don't want to sell anything where you can't see all four corners of the court. We're not going to do that. I know it's impactful. I know our fans like it. We will set a record."