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Will BYU have home-field advantage against the Arizona Wildcats in their football game in Glendale?

Posted: 12:01 PM, Aug 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-18 15:03:28-04

It has been 60 years since the Arizona Wildcats played a football game in the Phoenix area that wasn't either a bowl game or a Territorial Cup matchup against ASU.

So, you'd think many of the 45,000-strong UA alumni in the Valley would pounce on the opportunity to see their team when they take on BYU in the Cactus Kickoff Classic at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale on Sept. 3.

Right?

Well, according to UA athletics director Greg Byrne, the Wildcats are actually running behind BYU in terms of ticket sales in what will be the season opener for both teams.

"Ticket sales on the Arizona side of University of Phoenix Stadium are on the rise, but we still have some ground to make up on our BYU counterparts," Byrne wrote in his weekly Wildcat Wednesday newsletter. "It's time for Arizona fans to rally. This game is extremely important for the growth of our football program."

Naturally, BYU's student section pounced on this revelation.

Anyone familiar with the demographics of the Phoenix area shouldn't be shocked that BYU fans are snatching up tickets quickly. The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to the third-largest LDS population in the United States. According to a Slate article from 2012, 5 percent of Maricopa County's 4 million residents are members of the LDS church.

But the fact remains that this game will be played in much closer proximity to Tucson than to BYU's main campus in Provo, Utah -- and a significant home-field edge for the Cougars in a game played in Arizona won't look great on national television.

"For our fans in the Valley, this is something you've been waiting on for a long time. We ask you to come down to Tucson to help support the Wildcats each fall and now you have a chance to do so in your own backyard," Byrne wrote.

"For our great fans in Tucson, this is a chance to hit a neutral-site game less than two ours away. We need you to be there to help turn UOP Stadium into #OURHOUSE."

Tickets for the Cactus Kickoff can be purchased here.