FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The two-time defending Football Championship Subdivision champions sold out their season Thursday morning in about the time it takes to play two quarters.
A majority of the 7,500 remaining single-game tickets were sold online, but North Dakota State University athletic director Gene Taylor said some fans started lining up at 5 a.m., three hours before the ticket window opened on campus. The last ticket was sold at about 9:30 a.m.
"You know it was pretty calm and relaxed," Taylor said. "It was a fairly long line. The good news is that I think everybody who was in line walked out with a ticket. Not sure if it was the one they wanted."
NDSU had previously sold 12,000-plus season tickets for the 2013 season. The school sets aside 4,000 tickets each game for students. The team's indoor stadium, the Fargodome, holds about 19,000 fans.
Mike Kern, associate commissioner of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, said NDSU's fan support "is second to none" in the FCS.
"We have some impressive venues in this league and elsewhere at other FCS powerhouses, so saying that they are at the head of the class means a lot," Kern said. "I'm not surprised that the season is already sold out. People in Fargo have a lot to look forward to."
The Bison return 18 starters from a team that went 14-1 and rolled over Sam Houston State in the championship game at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, in January. Coach Craig Bohl's team is the unanimous pick to repeat as Missouri Valley Football Conference champions in a poll of coaches and media members.
"Certainly a lot can be attributed to the success of the team on the field, but Gene Taylor and his staff have done a lot of work behind the scenes at cultivating and building what's happened there," Kern said.
It is the second straight year the Bison have sold out, although it took most of the first day to get it accomplished last year.
Single-game tickets are $35 on the sidelines and $25 in the end zone, up $5 per ticket from a year ago. Most sold Thursday were in the end zones and upper corners, Taylor said. Taylor said additional reserved and standing room tickets may become available on the Friday of each game week.
The Bison have home games against Ferris State on Sept. 7, Delaware State on Sept. 21, Northern Iowa on Oct. 5, Missouri State on Oct. 12, Illinois State on Nov. 9 and South Dakota on Nov. 23.
Taylor said the hottest ticket was Northern Iowa, a perennial stalwart in the division and a team that seems to bring out some angst among Bison fans. Second on this year's list is the homecoming game against Missouri State.
Taylor said that while interest is at an all-time high, he was somewhat surprised at the speed of sales for the nonconference games.
The Bison ranked sixth in FCS attendance last year with an average of 18,516 fans, including three playoff games. Appalachian State, which is transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision, led the way with an average of 26,358 fans.
Thursday also was a profitable day for Bohl, whose contract calls for him to receive 3 percent of gross ticket sales.
"He doesn't like to talk about that," Taylor said. "To be honest with you, I almost feel he's uncomfortable that's in his contract."