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ESPN has landed in Bozeman. Here's how the city is preparing for College GameDay

gameday dyche field.jpg
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
Some snow has been cleared from MSU's Dyche Field in advance of the GameDay broadcast.

ESPN production crews arrived in Bozeman on Wednesday to set up for Saturday's College GameDay broadcast that will air live before the Bobcats-Griz showdown.

Montana State University and the town of Bozeman are preparing for big crowds.

MSU Athletic Director Leon Costello says the ESPN GameDay broadcast will take place at Dyche Field located between Bobcat stadium and the fieldhouse — a great location for fans who won't have to go far to be part of the action.

“They’ll let as many people as that field will hold, but the gates open at 5 (a.m.)," Costello said. "We have heard that we will have people potentially camping overnight getting in line a couple of hours before that."

gameday bozeman vertical.jpg
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
ESPN production crews arrived Wednesday afternoon to begin preparations for setting up the broadcast stage.

Crews have been clearing snow from the intramural practice field since ESPN picked the broadcast site earlier this week, but Costello says they still want to keep some snow and showcase the mountains in the set’s backdrop.

“They liked the stadium with the mountain backdrops on the south side,” Costello said.

Daryl Schliem, president of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, estimates between 15,000-17,000 people driving or flying to Bozeman for the event. He anticipates all of the town’s hotels will sell out, and downtown bars and restaurants will be packed before and after the game.

Schliem says when the “Brawl of the Wild” between Montana State University and the University of Montana is held in Bozeman it can bring up to $3 million dollars to the city.

“I will say GameDay is probably going to add another million and a half,” he said.

Schliem says the national spotlight on the game will have long-term effects that go beyond Bozeman.

“Expose the whole state to a lot more tourism, probably a lot more business and kids that want to go college, once they see the type of game being played on Saturday I think people will be surprised at what the [Football Championship Subdivision] and Montana has to offer as far as quality of football,” he said.

Costello says in conversations with ESPN producers about storylines for the GameDay show, they have asked about what makes the football program at MSU unique.

“Our rodeo team is going to be part of that, some of the traditions that we do are going to be part of that, obviously they love that our football team is in the hunt for a conference championship,” he said.

The GameDay broadcast from Dyche Field goes from 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. MT on Saturday. The Cat-Griz game kicks off at noon and can be watched on CBS stations and the ESPN+ streaming app.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.