The much anticipated Taco Truck Throwdown on Thursday just might generate the largest crowd ever at Fresno’s downtown ballpark.
As of Wednesday night, the Grizzlies had sold out Chukchansi Park’s seating capacity of 12,500 and were on the verge of running out of roughly 5,000 standing-room-only tickets.
The fifth edition of the throwdown again will draw a selection of popular taco trucks from throughout the central San Joaquin Valley, with more than 30,000 tacos expected to be eaten. Gates open at 5:05 p.m. before the Grizzlies play Pacific Coast League rival Sacramento at 7:05.
The largest crowd to visit Fresno’s downtown stadium was 16,821 for last month’s soccer match between Mexican professional clubs Chivas de Guadalajara and Club Atlas.
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The Grizzlies went all out in their promotional efforts for this year’s Taco Truck Throwdown, earning national attention after announcing the ballclub would adopt the Fresno Tacos nickname for the night — with players’ jerseys and hats featuring a taco logo.
“This is by far the most anticipated game in the history of the club,” said Ryan Young, the Grizzlies’ manager of marketing and communications. “This event has always stood on its own. But since Fresno Tacos and the uniforms have spread, it’s pushed presales to the point that we’ve never seen.”
The Fresno Tacos alternate uniform also has generated close to $100,000 in sales in just hats and jerseys. Fresno Tacos and Taco Truck Throwdown T-shirts are set to debut at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Grizzlies team store, limited to those with a ticket to the game.
The Grizzlies ticket office had a steady stream of traffic throughout Wednesday. Fewer than 2,500 SRO tickets, priced at $25, remained available as of 6 p.m.
Tickets to the Taco Truck Throwdown were being sold on craigslist.
The promotion continued to receive strong approval throughout the country.
MLB Network TV personality Heidi Watney, a Fresno native, wore a Taco Truck Throwdown jersey and hat during her “Quick Pitch” show this week.
On Wednesday morning, former major leaguers Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa each wore one of the jerseys as in-studio analysts on the MLB Network.
ESPN anchor Robert Flores was expected to wear the jersey during SportsCenter on Thursday.
Even fast-food chain Taco Bell has gotten involved, tweeting “We always support tacos. Good luck tomorrow, #FresnoTacos” via the company’s official Twitter account.
Taco Truck Throwdown 5
FRESNO GRIZZLIES VS. SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS
Vitals: 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Chukchansi Park