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Saturday, March 02, 2024

Everything to know for your first Florida football game day

What to bring, when to leave and where to go

<p>Florida fans line up outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for Gator Walk Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. The game welcomed the largest season-opener crowd in UF history as 90,799 fans filled the stands. </p>

Florida fans line up outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for Gator Walk Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. The game welcomed the largest season-opener crowd in UF history as 90,799 fans filled the stands.

Florida game days are truly one of a kind. The academically driven UF campus evolves into a rowdy, chaotic “Gators-till-I-die” environment.

Every campus corner builds up into an exciting and memorable experience for fans attending the game on Saturdays.

Freshmen will have the opportunity to take part in Gators game days for the first time this fall. Florida is set to play its home opener against the McNeese State Cowboys on Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Before you can get in, ensure to pack a bag that meets stadium requirements. Bags must be clear and cannot exceed the 12 inches long, 6 inches wide and 12 inches deep size requirement. You can stuff your bag with essentials like your phone, wallet, keys and GatorID.  

Student tickets are loaded onto student accounts at 9 a.m. the Friday before each home game. The tickets can be accessed through the Florida Gators app. You can save them to your Apple Wallet to avoid possible Wi-Fi connectivity issues prior to arriving at the gates.

One of the hardest parts about finding your seat is entering through the correct gate. On your ticket, you’ll find which one of the 18 gates is best to enter through to reach your designated seat. 

Florida’s campus will be flooded with tailgating events hosted by student organizations across campus and in tents near the stadium. Most tailgates begin about three to four hours prior to kickoff. 

Don’t worry about showing up to the stadium more than an hour early if you’re skipping pregame festivities: Gates typically open 90 minutes before kickoff. 

It takes about 30 minutes just to enter the stadium. Finding your seat, grabbing food from concessions, pushing through crowds — count another thirty minutes until you’re comfortably seated awaiting the game’s start. 

The entrances to gates 1 through 4 are located right off of Gale Lemerand Drive. On the north side of the stadium, you’ll find gates 6 through 9. Student gates 12 through 15 are on the east side of the stadium. Gates 16 through 18 land right off Stadium Road on the south side. 

Once you’re seated, there are a few in-game traditions every Gator must participate in. 

UF’s marching band performs a halftime show each game. The performance is a tribute to a new theme each week. 

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Two of the Gator nation’s most notable traditions roll around between the third and fourth quarters. 

The first dates back to 1920. UF fans lock arms and collectively sing ‘We Are the Boys.’ In old-fashioned camaraderie, the Gators shout the lyrics as they sway left to right. 

Right after, the Swamp transitions to sing Tom Petty’s sports anthem, “I Won’t Back Down.” This six-year-old tradition honors the late Gainesville native at every UF home game. 

Your first Gator game day has the potential to be filled with iconic moments you’ll recall for years to come. It’s impossible to be fully prepared for the experience, but following a few of these tips can secure a more organized day. 

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at ksanghavi@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @krishasang.

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.


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