BILLINGS — The Griz punched their ticket to the FCS championship game for the first time since 2009. Now, fans across Montana are doing the same, making travel plans to Frisco.
1,676 miles—that’s the distance between Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula and Frisco’s Toyota Stadium in Texas where the Griz will face off the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Jan. 7.
Griz fans are bringing the noise all the way to Frisco.
"I've kind of been paying attention to plane tickets and been watching those skyrocket over the last several weeks,” said Brian Eicholtz, a Griz fan headed to Frisco for the game, on Sunday. “We started talking about it after the Bobcat-Grizzly game where we really thought we had a really good chance."
Saturday night’s explosive win had fans flooding the field in excitement.
"I have two daughters, and they’re like, ‘We got to get on the field!’ When they saw everybody running on the field," Eicholtz said. "I’m like, ‘Alright, we’re going!’ Top three games I've ever been to."
That win triggered an immediate rush on tickets for the championship in Frisco as fans frantically searched online to secure their seats.
"We’re trying to get some tickets and head down there as soon as possible," said Brayden Fine, a Griz fan trying to attend Frisco's game, on Sunday. "Obviously, the market for the tickets is a little bit crazy. The average price that I was seeing last night was upwards of $600-$700.”
Those who bit the bullet know it won’t be a cheap trip.
"I think it was like $2,400 per person," Eicholtz said regarding ticket package prices. "My wife and I just said, ‘Hey, this is a Christmas present for the both of us to go if we make it.’ So not cheap by any means, but it will be a memory we won’t forget."
MTN News did some digging and found that one Billings traveler would need to spend at least $1,047 to make the trip.
The cheapest tickets to the game we could find on the NCAA ticketing website were $275 and the most expensive were $1,650.
From Billings, airline tickets range from $721 to $2,395 for Saturday-Monday flights, according to Expedia.
A hotel could cost anywhere from $51 to $355 when you book through Expedia.
But that price tag isn't stopping fans like Eicholtz from attending the game.
"I have friends that are trying to coordinate plane tickets and game tickets and there’s definitely ways, it sounds like, to save a little bit of money but just might not be as easy as one click like we did,” Eicholtz said.
The University of Montana launched a webpage for fans planning to attend, providing information on the game, pre-game parties, tailgating, and travel. Packages are available to book, ranging from $1,120 to $2,875.
"I expect a lot of the Griz fans to take over that stadium,” Fine said. "I mean, we were underdogs coming into the NDSU game at home, and we proved a lot of those betters wrong. So I’m looking forward to the same, we’ll continue to walk the walk while the others talk the talk. We’ll hopefully walk away from Frisco with a (national title)."
Charter plane packages are scheduled to depart from Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls. But those packages are expected to sell out quickly, meaning fans should act now if they’re wanting to attend.
"We’ve tried to get on a few NDSU pages and see if we can snag a few there, but I don’t know that’ll go so well. That’s probably still a sore spot for a couple of days,” Fine said.
The Griz secured their spot, now the fans will follow.
“I went to Belize over Thanksgiving and went into a bar and there was a big Griz flag hanging on the wall," Eicholtz said. "It’s not just nationwide, but it’s worldwide. It’s so fun to be a fan, can’t wish for anything better. Go Griz."
To learn more about the Griz heading to Frisco, click here.