NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Notre Dame

Oct 5, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Fans tailgate before the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Bowling Green Falcons at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 46 years, there will be empty seats at Notre Dame home football game.

A streak of 273 consecutive sellouts will end Saturday when the No. 16 Fighting Irish (7-2) host No. 23 Navy (7-1) in South Bend, Ind., according to the South Bend Tribune.

The last time Notre Dame Stadium (current capacity 77,622) wasn't sold out was on Thanksgiving Day in 1973 against Air Force.

It is the second-longest streak in NCAA football history, behind Nebraska's still-active run of 373 straight home sellouts.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick downplayed the news.

"It was never sort of important to me to keep it alive, but I understand why other people thought so," he told the Tribune. "It's a point of distinction to a lot of people and our fans."

Swarbrick said the streak might have ended sooner if not for the school offering some deep, last-minute discounts to keep it going.

"Group sales were a big part of keeping the streak going, too," he said. "We'd go to somebody who was 'a friend of Notre Dame' and say, 'Gee, can you help us with this game? Can you buy 50 tickets and distribute them to your employees?' That would be an example."

Rising ticket prices and a glut of home games help explain why the streak is ending now.

Instead of having to sell out only one or two home games in the cold weather of November, as in most years, Notre Dame has three games this month versus Virginia Tech (Nov. 2), Navy and Boston College (Nov. 23).

--Field Level Media

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