YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s less than two weeks away — Youngstown State’s try for its fifth National Championship in Frisco, Tex.
And if you can’t make the trip to support the Penguins in person, there’s now a unique option — for free — here in town.
The Covelli Centre is hosting a YSU National Championship Watch Party on Jan 7. Doors open at 10 a.m., two hours before the noon kickoff against James Madison.
“We figured there was a large number of folks who wanted to see the game and be in an arena-type environment or a stadium-type environment,” said Michael McGiffin, director of downtown events.
Here’s the details: The game will play on five big screens, a DJ will play during commercials, concessions will be open and parking is free.
A ticket is required to get in to the Watch Party — which you can get in advance or the day of at the Covelli Centre box office.
“You can come just on the day of and enjoy it with the rest of the crowd,” McGiffin said. “There’s really no assigned seats or anything like that.”
“I think that’s a great idea to bring the community together,” said YSU fan/alum Jerry Bailey. “Have everybody there to cheer on the Penguins.”
Still, there will definitely be YSU faithful in Texas come Jan. 7.
The Penguins athletic office sold out of its 1,000 tickets right away (although you can still buy them from third-party vendors).
Stanley Czeck is one fan going to Frisco.
“I thought it was a once-in-a-life opportunity to go see them win,” said Czeck, a YSU alum. “Especially down in Texas.”
The trip certainly comes with a price, though.
As of Tuesday, a round trip from Jan. 6-8 is $413 from Pittsburgh to Dallas and $488 from Cleveland to Dallas, according to Orbitz. Travelocity prices are $409 from Cleveland to Dallas and $413 from Pittsburgh to Dallas.
“You’ve got to support the home team,” Czeck said.
You can also meet the team on Thursday, as YSU will hold a meet and greet prior to the Penguins’ men’s basketball game at 6 p.m.
The football players will greet fans, take pictures and sign autographs in the general admission section on the West side of Beeghly Center.
But back to the big game against the Dukes, here’s a couple of predictions.
“They got to be two touchdown favorites in my book,” Bailey said.
“We’re going to win,” Czeck said.
WKBN will be airing a live pregame show, “YSU Drive for Five,” on Friday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. on WKBN Channel 27 and WKBN.com.