PHOENIX – If fans look a little, well, stiff at Saturday’s Arizona State game, don’t be alarmed.
They’re not real.
The Pacific-12 Conference’s decision to allow only family members to attend football games this season prompted the university to follow the lead of professional teams by allowing fans to buy cardboard cutouts of themselves and loved ones.
Those loved ones include dogs, cats and yes, even iguanas.
Chandler’s Sherry Brooks bought four cutouts, one for each member of her family.
“Someone sent me a photo and we are already in our seats,” she said. “We like to get to games early.”
Gilbert’s Megan Foutz, 28, has attended ASU games for years and was disappointed at the direction the season took. She was grateful when her parents bought a cutout of her although she mused, “I would have preferred to see my dog Bailey.”
The cutouts cost $40 for faculty and season-ticket holders, and $50 for everyone else. About 1,000 have been produced for students and another 1,000 for other fans.
ASU will also place cardboard cutouts of famous alums in the stands. The university’s student spirit group, the 942 Crew, will determine who they will be.
Cutouts of band members will be there, too, so that the group that provides game day entertainment will have a presence.
The university turned to the ASU Print and Imaging Lab instead of sourcing the orders out to cut down on cost and provide more money to the athletic department. After printing, the lab delivers large pallets with the cutouts so they can be installed in the stadium.
We were blown away by the response,” said Michael Meitin, ASU senior associate athletic director. “We kind of predicted it would get good response based on what we’d seen in the professional leagues, but we were still surprised at just how excited people were.”
If Saturday’s game against California will be played remains a mystery. The decision to allow the Golden Bears to compete is in the hands of Berkeley Public Health, which has required players from one entire position group to quarantine for up to 14 days after being exposed to a teammate who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Kickoff is set for 8:30 MST and will be televised by ESPN2 if the game is allowed to go forward.