Shreveport, La. With a little more than two weeks before the Independence Bowl, just over half the tickets for the Dec. 30 game have been sold.
About 25,000 people have bought tickets for the game between South Carolina and Missouri. Independence Stadium capacity for the I-Bowl is slightly more than 48,000.
South Carolina sold more than half of its allotment of 12,000 tickets for the game. Missouri, which made its first Independence Bowl appearance two years ago, has sold one-tenth of its 12,000 tickets.
Missouri sold about 1,200 tickets and expects to sell around 2,500 to 3,000 for the Independence Bowl, said director of ticket operations Marty Finn.
For its first visit to Shreveport, Missouri sold about 8,000 tickets to the 2003 Independence Bowl. Arkansas beat the Tigers in that game, 27-14.
The Independence Bowl will try to stoke interest in the game with advertisements in Missouri newspapers this weekend.
There's a different atmosphere in Columbia, S.C., as Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier prepares his team for its first bowl appearance since the 2001 Outback Bowl. South Carolina's ticket operations manager Kent Hegenauer said Gamecock fans had purchased about 6,500 tickets.
"We're hoping to use them all," Hegenauer said. "It's been very steady. There are still people coming up to our office and buying tickets everyday."
Independence Bowl officials have had South Carolina in their sights since last season, but missed out when South Carolina administrators declared the team would not participate in a bowl game as punishment for its involvement in an on-field fight with Clemson.
The punishment has actually built excitement for the Gamecocks' 12th bowl appearance. Hegenauer expects a large contingent of South Carolina fans in Shreveport.
"Absolutely, I think we've got one of the better reputations in the nation," he said.
Independence Bowl interim executive director Missy Setters said 17,000 to 18,000 tickets have been sold from its local allotment of 24,000 tickets.
"We have sold quite a few since the teams' announcements," Setters said. "It's too hard to tell at this point. Some people are going to wait until they see what the seven-day forecast is."