The University of Montana’s first football game day in nearly 18 months is coming on Saturday as the Grizzlies host Central Washington in the first of two spring games.

UM Sports Information Director Eric Taber provided some insights into what will be a much different game day experience that what Griz fans are used to.

“This is going to be a little dialed down, obviously,” said Taber. “We are only able to put roughly 5,000 fans in the stadium and that's because of social distancing. Fans are not going to be able to sit real tight together and everybody will be spread out around the stadium, and that's to keep everybody safe. That's really what we're going into with this thing in mind is that everybody's safety is the utmost priority.”

Fans obviously will not be packed into the 26,000 seat stadium as usual, and tickets, which are digital only from now on, will be sold in a much different manner.

Tickets are being sold in pods of two and four, so it will depend on how many you have in your family,” he said. “You can get together with groups of up to four people, so a full family should be able to sit together. Yes, masks are required for everybody in the stadium, and that's the first thing folks are going to want to keep in mind is that make sure you bring your mask with you when you go to all the various restrooms and concession stands. There will be hand sanitizer stations if folks would like that. But really, masks and that social distancing aspect are the two big differences that people will notice.”

Taber said there will be concessions available, but you’ll be urged to get back to your seat quickly.

“Concessions will be available, yeah,” he said. “Concession stands will be open, it'll be a somewhat limited capacity to coincide with the limited capacity of the stadium, but yet people can still get hot dogs and popcorn. Watch the game, but we’re asking folks to stay in their seats unless you're going to the concession stand or to the bathroom. So once you come in, that's going to be another difference as you get in the stadium, you head to your seat and then if you need to get up and go to the concession stand or the restroom, just do that as expeditiously as possible.”

Taber said Grizzly game day will not be the major social experience than it has in the past, until the pandemic is over.

“There's no re entry (into the stadium) and that's a big thing,” he said. “Obviously there's no tailgating, so that's another major thing that people are going to need to be aware of. So when you arrive at the stadium, just park you car and head to your seat. You should arrive about a half an hour before game time, head to your seat, and at halftime, you can't head back out, so you wouldn't be able to go back to your car and then come back in to the stadium. So, stand up at halftime, stretch your legs but do your best to stay in your seating area in your section of the stadium.”

Taber said there will not be the tradition pre-game activities. There will be no Grizzly marching band on the field.

The field itself will be only for the players, as each team will also have their own COVID precautions.

All that being said, it’s still the Montana Grizzly football team versus Central Washington, with kickoff at 11:00 a.m. You can hear the game on KGVO and across the Grizzly Sports Radio Network with the Voice of the Griz Riley Corcoran.

Fans around the state can tune in to a statewide TV broadcast, and fans worldwide can watch a live stream of Saturday's game.

ABC Montana stations (SWX in Billings) will carry the game live Saturday, with a simulcast available on digital devices on the Watch SWX App within the state borders. Anyone else around the world can see the game via live stream at GoGriz.com/watch for a nominal fee.

Long-time broadcaster Ron Davis will provide the play-by-play on the broadcast, with former Grizzly QB Grady Bennett serving as analyst. Shaun Rainey will report from the sideline.

 

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