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With Badgers unbeaten, ESPN’s College GameDay rolls into campus

November 15, 2017 By Doug Erickson

On Oct. 15, 2016, Bascom Hill was the site of the ESPN show College GameDay, before the Badgers’ game against Ohio State. GameDay is returning to Bascom Hill this week for Saturday’s game against Michigan. Photo: Bryce Richter

When you’re undefeated, the spotlight finds you.

ESPN’s popular football show — College GameDay Built by The Home Depot — will broadcast live from Bascom Hill Saturday as the unbeaten and fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (10-0) take on the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (8-2).

The national pregame show — the longest-running in college football — will air from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Kickoff is at 11:05 a.m. at Camp Randall Stadium.

This is the seventh time College GameDay has visited UW–Madison. The network last broadcast its pregame show here on Oct. 15, 2016, when the Badgers took on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

It’s been a historic season for the Badgers — they’ve never been 10-0. This is a special opportunity for Badger fans to showcase their spirit in the heart of the campus and for the university as a whole to shine on the national stage.

The College GameDay panel discusses the day’s football games on Bascom Hill in 2016.

College GameDay is the single most important program in college football, if not college sports, and the exposure from having the show here adds publicity and marketing value to UW–Madison. This has a beneficial effect on tourism and our campus.

All visitors are welcome at College GameDay, and admission is free. University officials want to make sure it’s a safe, fun and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Preparations for the broadcast began Wednesday and will affect some walkways, parking lots and a portion of Observatory Drive. The majority of the setup will occur Thursday, beginning at 7 a.m.

Campus traffic

The main event location will be in the middle section of Bascom Hill. Several large trucks will be parked along Observatory Drive from North Hall to Bascom Hall.

UW-Madison employees who park in lots 9, 10 and 11 will experience additional congestion and changes in traffic flow. Observatory Drive will be one way westbound from North Park Street to North Charter Street starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. There will be no right turns allowed out of Lots 9, 10 and 11.

On Saturday, Observatory Drive will be closed from North Park Street to North Charter Street, except for lot 9, 10 and 11 permit customers, who will need to show their permit to enter their lots. Metro Transit Route 82 will be on a detour starting Wednesday night until Observatory Drive is reopened. The bus operates from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night. All other Metro Transit bus routes will continue normal operations.

Employees who need to park for work-related reasons on Saturday may choose to avoid some congestion and park in lots 4, 5, 8, 21, 26, 30, 35, 61, 82, 85 or 131. Remember that you must display your annual parking permit.

If you have special parking needs or would like advice for work-related parking during this event or have other questions, contact Transportation Services representatives at or call 608-263-6667.

The live broadcast 

If you are planning to attend the live broadcast Saturday, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Lines are expected to form for fans to gain access to the areas closest to the stage.Map of Bascom Hill showing that line for College GameDay spectators will form near South Hall.
  • Early birds should be aware that Chapter 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code bars camping on campus. Camping includes the pitching of tents or the overnight use of sleeping bags, blankets, makeshift shelters, motor homes, campers or camp trailers.
  • All buildings in the area of Bascom Hill will be locked and inaccessible by the public, consistent with campus policy for most academic buildings on weekends. Portable toilets will be available.
  • At 5 a.m., those at the front of the line will have priority access to “The Pit,” a spectator area immediately behind the College GameDay These fans have the greatest likelihood of appearing on TV.
  • For those entering The Pit, network personnel will screen signs, items, appearance and attire for appropriateness. Signs may not be attached to poles, sticks or other extensions. No food or beverages are allowed in The Pit, and ESPN does not allow backpacks, purses or other bags into this special area.
  • All other fans will be invited to fill in the large areas on Bascom Hill around the set.

Additional ESPN programming 

ESPN will air live spots and record segments with the College GameDay crew throughout the day on Friday, beginning as early as 8 a.m.

At 2 p.m. Friday, ESPN will record its 30-minute College Football Live program from Bascom Hill. Fans are invited to stop by and be part of the show. SportsCenter live shots will begin at 6:10 a.m. Saturday.

Camp Randall Stadium

Police at UW–Madison want to remind fans of stadium polices to help ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience at this sold-out game:

  • Gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
  • Fans are encouraged not to bring any types of bags inside Camp Randall. However, each ticket holder is allowed one small clutch purse or one large clear bag. More details.
  • Items not permitted inside the stadium include: backpacks, food, beverages, containers, strollers, laser pointers, umbrellas, banners, flags, signs, noisemakers, weapons, inflatables, laptops, video recorders, monopods, tripods or any items deemed dangerous or inappropriate.
  • All items and spectators are subject to search. Storage facilities are not available for checking prohibited items. Items left at gates will be disposed of accordingly.
  • Open intoxicants are not allowed on City of Madison property, such as streets and sidewalks, and are also not allowed inside Camp Randall Stadium.
  • If you leave Camp Randall, there is no re-entry into the stadium.

For more information, visit Wisconsin Athletics. Campus police will also be posting additional information throughout the events on Saturday. For this information, follow @UWMadisonPolice on Twitter or follow the UW–Madison Police Department on Facebook.

The atmosphere was electric on Bascom Hill during College GameDay in 2016. Photo: Bryce Richter