Fans swarm FedExForum in anticipation of game - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fans swarm FedExForum in anticipation of game

Fans of the Tigers and Volunteers alike swarmed the grounds of the FedExForum early Saturday morning in an effort to grab tickets, show their support, and check out a national broadcast on ESPN.

After days of anticipation, excitement for the college basketball match up between top ranked Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee reached a near fever pitch, with many calling the game the state's equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Officials estimated as many as 30,000 people visited FedExForum throughout the day before the game.  Many arrived as early as 3:45 a.m. Saturday to get in line to grab seats in the student section.

While the lines into the ESPN broadcast and later to purchase student tickets were orderly for the most part, more than one student described the atmosphere as "chaotic."

It was the second time this season that seats were assigned in the student section for men's college basketball game at FedExForum.

As students vied for seats in their section, fans without tickets shelled out hundreds of dollars to purchase a coveted seat.

"One thousand bucks," Tiger fan Todd Bureillo said. "Not to bad...third row behind Bruce Pearl and the Tennessee bench.  We're going to make sure they know they're in Memphis."

Ticket scalpers were in full force in front of the arena, ready to sell to fans like Brueillo and others.  Volunteer fan Tommy Christianson considered said he considers scalpers a necessary evil.

"They make you pay more, but if you want to go to the game and you're willing to pay the price, at least you have an option of getting a ticket to the game," he said.

Scalpers would not tell us on camera what they were asking for tickets, but customers said they were asked to pay anywhere from $300 to $500 per ticket, depending on seat location.

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