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Andrew Cyr | | September 22, 2017

Target Field to host highest attended Division III football game

  Already 35,000 tickets have been purchased ahead of the 87th Johnnie-Tommie Game at Target Field.

This weekend’s biggest college football rivalry won’t be taking place in the Big Ten, SEC, Pac 12 or any conference at the FBS level. It won’t be taking place at any number of the historical college football cathedrals, either.

Instead, the 87th edition of the Johnnie-Tommie game will take place at Target Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, when St. John’s (Minn.) faces St. Thomas in one of Division III’s oldest rivalries.

The Johnnie-Tommie has already been on the national spotlight and was featured on “SportsCenter on the Road” ahead of their 2015 matchup, a 35-14 Tommie victory.

Not only will the 2017 edition be the first football game at Target Field, it will shatter and likely double the previous unofficial Division III attendance record. Last season, Wisconsin-Oshkosk and Wisconsin-Whitewater set the mark at 17,535 fans at Whitewater’s Perkins Stadium.

To date, more than 35,000 tickets have been sold for the Johnnie-Tommie game. Target Field, which opened in 2010, has a capacity of 39,504. 

St. John’s and St. Thomas had set the then- attendance record of 17, 327 in the 2015 contest. The Johnnie-Tommie game has been one of the most attended games in DIII history and currently hold the No. 2 (2015), No. 3 (16,514, 2016) and No. 4 (16,421, 2010) spots on the all-time unofficial rankings.

The Johnnies lead the all-time series with a 51-34-1 record.

Target Field won’t be the only active baseball venue to host college football this year. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) will host three games in part of the Gridiron Series later this season between Dartmouth and Brown (Nov. 10), Massachusetts and Maine (Nov. 11) and Boston College and Connecticut (Nov. 18). 

Additionally, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees), the Cactus Bowl (Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks) and the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays) will all be played at baseball stadium later this season.

Kickoff between the Johnnies and Tommies is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CST on Saturday.

Unofficial Division III singe-game attendance record
Attendance Home Team Away Team Date
17,535 Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin-Oshkosh 10/8/16
17,327 St. John's St. Thomas 9/26/15
16,514 St. John's St. Thomas 9/24/16
16,421 St. John's St. Thomas 10/2/10
15,287 Wisconsin-Platteville Wisconsin-Whitewater 10/3/15
14,437 Hampden-Sydney Randolph-Macon 11/12/94
14,286 St. John's St. Thomas 9/15/12
13,671 Williams amherst 11/11/89
13,627 Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin-Oshkosh 10/25/14
13,107 St. John's Bethel 11/8/03
12,903 St. John's St. Thomas 10/17/09
12,960 Ithaca Cortland State 11/10/01
12,511 Ithaca Cortland State 11/4/95
12,483 St. Thomas St. John's 9/27/14
12,449 Amherst Williams 11/9/96
12,339 St. John's St. Olaf 10/6/07
12,318 Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin-Oshkosh 10/20/12
12,211 St. John's Augsburg 9/24/11
12,189 Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin-Stout 10/9/10
12,123 St. John's St. Thomas 10/27/07
12,113 Hampden-Sydney Randolph-Macon 11/13/10
12,028 Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin-Platteville 11/2/13
11,907 St. John's Gustavus Adolphus 9/27/08
11,790 St. John's Carelton 9/30/06
11,743 Ithaca Cortland State 11/15/03
Numbers courtesy of