Big crowd, long lines anticipated for LSU's SEC opener at Tiger Stadium
BATON ROUGE - At Bengals & Bandits, near the north gates of LSU's campus, Tiger home football games mean everything.
"Our business model is built on game days." Patrick Wilkerson said. "Having a year off from that, for lack of a better word, was definitely tough."
LSU's two non-conference home games in September did not deliver sales expectations for Wilkerson. Now, with Auburn coming to town, he's hoping that turns around.
"Once [tomorrow] comes, we'll see what it's really going to be like," Wilkerson said." The anticipation from customers coming in, and kind of just the word on the street, is that people are excited about this. We hope that this kind of gets us back to some sort of normalcy, as far as game days go."
LSU is expecting a couple hundred thousand fans on campus Saturday, which would make for the largest crowd since the Tigers' title season.
"There's no question the interest in this game is as high as it's been since the 2019 season," Cody Worsham with LSU Athletics said.
Now that Tiger Stadium has returned to full capacity and tailgating is in full force, Worsham says fans should be prepared and patient, especially with COVID-19 entry protocols in place.
"We expect more lines and more delays than normal," Worsham said." "We're putting in as many measures as possible to make sure that those lines and delays are as minimal as possible."
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m., and with anticipation high, fans are encouraged to get to campus early. For those with parking passes, they should be easily visible.
"Peak traffic time is usually about three hours prior to kickoff," Worsham said. "So about 5 p.m. on Saturday is when you'll see the most traffic."
Worsham also noted that gameday staff shortages continue, meaning wait times for getting into Tiger Stadium and grabbing concessions will increase.
LSU says it will be ready for the expected turnout. For Wilkerson, he's hoping to see a steady stream of fans Saturday.
"Night games, we do better," Wilkerson said. "It's just a matter that people have time to walk around, kind of socialize. The later the game, the better it is for us, as far as our business goes."