Nearly 30,000 tickets given away in 90 minutes for Vikings-Giants game
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ROMULUS, Mich. -- The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants won't have to worry about playing in an empty stadium on Monday night. Far from it.
An estimated distribution of nearly 30,000 free tickets was made on Monday morning before the Detroit Lions cut off the line outside Ford Field around 10:30 a.m. Eastern -- 90 minutes after the giveaway began.
All other tickets were being held for fans with tickets to the originally scheduled game at the Metrodome and fans who attended Sunday's Packers-Lions game here, according to Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson.
The Lions volunteered the stadium shortly after the Metrodome roof collapsed early Sunday morning, forcing the NFL and the teams to scramble to find an alternative venue. By late Monday morning, the Lions had put a statement on their Web site saying the game "is a first-come, first-serve event. Capacity of Ford Field is 64,500, and fans with Lions-Packers ticket stubs and general admission tickets distributed this morning are not guaranteed if stadium capacity is reached."
The first fans began showing up around 5 a.m. on Monday, according to The Associated Press, which first reported the number as "dozens" and later upgraded it to "hundreds" by the time ticket distribution began at 9 a.m.
That number shed little light on how many fans will enter the 65,000-seat facility before the 7:20 ET/6:20 Central kickoff on Monday. Considering Lions fans are notorious for showing up late to their own team's games, there was no telling exactly how many fans would want to brave icy roads, temperatures in the teens and, yes, snow for a neutral-site game on a Monday night.
The response, however, was overwhelming.
Several Monday chartered flights were added from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, so the Vikings will have some backing. Dozens of Giants fans who had made the trip before the Metrodome's roof collapsed, causing the game to be relocated, also were spotted in transit on Sunday night.
All seating for the game is general admission, with ticket holders to the original game in Minneapolis receiving priority seating along the 50-yard line.
The last game moved on only one day's notice is believed to be the Dolphins-Chargers matchup on Oct. 27, 2003, that was relocated to Tempe, Ariz., because of brush fires in San Diego. Free tickets also were distributed to that game. There was no official crowd count, according to published reports.