Image of Michigan Stadium by Cory Suppes of Ballparks.com
When it was started in 1926 by Fielding Yost, he did two things. One, he made it run north/south, which set the standard for all fields built later. Two, he sank moorings so that if Michigan ever chooses to expand the stadium, it can go up to 200,000 without a great deal of trouble. Michigan Stadium was completed in 1927 at a cost in excess of $950,000, originally had seating available for 72,000 fans. Numerous renovations and additions over the years have increased the seating to the current 102,501 capacity.
The Wolverines played their first game at Michigan Stadium on October 1, 1927 defeating Ohio Wesleyan, 33-0. The stadium dedication game was played on October 22, 1927 with U-M defeating Ohio State 21-0. Michigan enters the 1996 season with a 305-98-15 (.748) won-loss record in its 418 Michigan Stadium games.
Fans have turned the Michigan Stadium turnstiles at a record-setting pace. The Wolverines hold both the NCAA regular season single-game and season attendance marks, and have led the nation in season attendance the past 22 seasons. U-M has played 129 consecutive home games in front of crowds in excess of 100,000 through the 1995 season. The last time Michigan did not have 100,000 in attendance in Michigan Stadium was on October 25, 1975 vs. Indiana. A crowd of 93,857 was on hand for the 55-7 Michigan victory.
Notes on the building of Michigan Stadium
* The number of tons of reinforcing steel used in the construction was estimated at 440 (880,000 pounds)
* The 31,000 square feet of wire mesh used in building the stadium could, at that time, imprison all the inmates of Sing Sing, and the federal prisons of Atlanta and Leavenworth
* "Nature" Magazine estimated that it would take 14,000 woodchucks, working eight hour days, 11 1/2 months to move an amount of dirt equal to the 240,000 square yards that were excavated out of the Michigan Stadium site before the cement was poured.
* 45,000,000 words were typed before the stadium was even authorized, and 4,500 yards of type were devoted to the construction process. Of these 4,500 yards of type, 3,000 were made up of adjectives.
* It was estimated that there were 106,000 blades of grass making up the field at Michigan Stadium at the dedication game in 1927.
* On a good Saturday, Michigan Stadium is one of the 200 largest cities in the U.S.
* The reason that the number is 102,501. Fritz Crisler, the legendary Michigan coach, has a seat somewhere, which he would never reveal, and his spirit is supposed to be in attendance at every Michigan home game.
* Nickname: The Big House
* Capacity: 102,501 (official), usual crowds of 106,000 or more
* Second largest on campus stadium in the U.S.
* Has an active streak of 140 games of crowds over 100,000
* Tradition of throwing marshmallows from the student section.
Source: University of Michigan Sports Information Office
Michigan Set to Expand Stadium to Record 107,701
By Don Muret, Amusement Business - November 1997
Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan Wolverines, will increase seating capacity by 5,200 seats to accommodate freshman students. This year, for the first time, they were forced to split football season tickets, said Assistant Athletic Director Bruce Madej.
Pending a November 6, 1997 vote by the state board of regents, the $6 million project would bring capacity to 107,701 at the football venue, topping Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the largest colegiate stadium in the country.
More restrooms and concession stands are also part of the project.
Michigan Athletic Director Tom Goss decided to increase seating after the athletic department fielded numerous complaints from freshmen. "When he found out about it, he wanted to do everything he could to find a solution," said Madej.
"The (physical) plant department had a meeting with Goss and developed a proposal to add another four to five rows of seats at the top of the bowl, all around the stadium. They thought this could be accomplished in one year," Madej said.
The plan was unanimously approved by the school's Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics. Final approval was needed by the board of regents. "The $6 million can be paid off within six to seven years from the money brought in by the additional (tickets)," said Madej.
Michigan has no trouble filling seats. Including students, the school sells 90,000 season tickets on an annual basis and has had to turn fans away, according to Madej.
The Wolverines have had 12 consectutive crowds of 105,000 plus, which Madej said includes "everybody within the gates" - concessionaires, security, media, etc.
"We have not had a crowd under 100,000 since October 25, 1975. Saturday's (November 1, 1997) of 106,000-plus was the 141st consecutive crowd of more than 100,000 to watch a Michigan football game," Madej said.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REVERSES BOTTLED WATER POLICY
September 16, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
The University of Michigan has reversed a policy that prohibited fans from bringing outside water into Michigan Stadium. During the school's opening game, when temperatures were in the 90s, many fans were stopped at the gate and told to surrender their bottled water. By half time, all bottled water for sale in the stadium, at $3 per bottle, was sold out, despite being heavily overstocked. The school now says on hot, humid days fans will be allowed to bring in their own water.
THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell
September 2, 2006 - The largest stadium in North America is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan where on many an autumn Saturday afternoon over 110,000 college football fans wander into Michigan Stadium to cheer on the Wolverines. With this venue still on the to do list for us, it was only a matter of time before we made the quick ride into Big Ten country to give this place a look.
Like virtually every other mighty college football venue, Michigan Stadium has been expanded, renovated, and updated through the years to reach its current monstrous capacity. What began as a 72K seat venue in 1927 was quickly expanded to 85K the following season and by the fifties had been increased to over one hundred thousand seats and today has an official capacity of 107,521 though it has not been uncommon for attendance figures of over 110,000 at times.
Of course, with the largest seating capacity in college football also comes the record for single game attendance – 112,118 against Ohio State in 2003. And don’t think that inferior non conference opponents make for an easier ticket or a Big House with oceans of empty seats. We attended a game against perennial SEC doormat Vanderbilt and the announced attendance was listed at 109,668!
So what’s like to spend a day at Michigan Stadium? Well, like many other college football venues it’s on the school’s campus. Parking can be a bit of a hassle as large open lots aren’t as plentiful as you’d like to see in a venue this size but many are available with the tailgating going in full effect.
Be forewarned about security here though, these folks are a bit rough and standards are strict about what can enter the facility….food, drinks…nope. And forget about that clear plastic bag with all your stuff in it, if you wish to have one then go to the team store and buy something big enough to put in one of their clear plastic bags. Why your bag is no good and theirs is the ultimate in security hypocrisy, yet Michigan isn’t the first place to do this. Anyhow…..
An unusual trait of this stadium is that concourses are virtually nonexistent inside the structure itself and where they do exist are very tight and difficult to negotiate. Most of the aisles that take fans to and from their section lead outside the stadium itself and into an outdoor plaza area that surrounds Michigan Stadium. Here is where you find almost all of your concession stands, team merchandise areas, restrooms (port-a-potty and permanent) etc, etc. Wrought iron fencing and gates surround the plaza to enclose the stadium area. By the way, despite their tough security measures, it is very easy to slip something in through said wrought iron fencing (just thought we’d mention that).
Of course there’s the famed seating bowl with the giant M enscripted into the sideline grandstand. All seats are bench without chairback and armrest as this is not unusual for college football.
The seating bowl fan atmosphere is a bit too much tea and crumpets for our liking, though maybe that was due to the insignificant opponent that day. The students here do a few whacky and crazy renditions of The Wave that have to be mentioned. They sit in an entire corner of the end zone and during one stretch of the game began the wave in traditional fashion, then after a couple laps decided to slow the wave to a crawl by going in slo-mo. Then it was on to lightning quick where fans had barely enough time to stand and sit in order to keep up. Finally the students began two separate waves going in opposite directions such that the two waves would meet in the opposite corner where they would “bounce” off each other back to the student section…back and forth, back and forth. Truly a chuckle and the type of thing that fans may do at a game where the outcome was never in doubt and the action on the field utterly boring.
One more unusual note about this place, NO LIGHTS! You saw that correctly, though apparently lights are brought in when games need to be played at night.
The Big House: historic, enormous, an experience to be had for any college football fan. At a tad over three hundred miles from Buffalo, it’s a long but not impossible journey for us to make!
MICHIGAN PLEASED WITH LUXURY SUITE SALES
September 3, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Despite an effort by alumni to block construction of luxury suites at the
University of Michigan stadium, the school says 70 percent of the suites and an equal percentage
of club seats have been sold. The venue's $226 million rennovation is to be complete in 2010.
The 82 suites are leased on three-year minimum at a cost of $55,000 to $85,000 each. Each
seats 16 guests. There are 3,000-plus club seats that cost $1,500-$4,000 each per season. Some of
them are indoor and most of the outdoor ones are covered.
To improve wheelchair access, the stadium's capacity dipped to 106,201 and slipped behind
Penn State's Beaver Stadium as the country's biggest football venue. School officials expect the Big
House will be back on top with 108,000-plus seats in the future.
PREMIUM SEATS SELLING WELL IN MICHIGAN
February 18, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The University of Michigan has commitments for 72 percent of the suites
and 77 percent of club seats that will make their Big House debut this fall.
Senior associate athletic director Joe Parker said he's hopeful the remaining inventory of
premium seating will be sold out by Sept. 4, when the Wolverines host Connecticut in the season opener.
Parker says 58 of the 81 suites are spoken for and 47 of them have been paid in full, adding he's confident the other 11 will be soon. Suites range in price from $55,000 to $85,000 and include 16 tickets, parking and a three-, five- or seven-year pledge.
Parker said the school has commitments for 2,822 of its 3,685 club seats that cost between $1,500 and $4,000 per seat plus the cost of tickets.
June 10, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
The University of Michigan says it will make Michigan Stadium a smoke-free zone when the 2010 football season opens this fall. Director of Athletics Dave Brandon says the change is going into effect ahead of when the entire campus becomes smoke-free in 2011. Smoking already was banned in the Ann Arbor stadium's seated-bowl area.
MICHIGAN ATHLETICS MAY TOP $100 MILLION IN REVENUE
June 24, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The University of Michigan athletic department is projecting revenues for
its 2011 year to be $105 million, a $10.6 million increase from the current year.
The budget likely will keep the school among the nation's top revenue-producing athletic
departments. In the 2008 fiscal year, it ranked fourth, trailing only Texas, Ohio State and Florida, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Education.
According to an April report in the Austin American Statesman, Texas' budget for 2010-11 will be $137 million.
U-M expects its expenses to rise as well, settling at $100.3 million, for a projected surplus of $4.7 million.
The 2011 budget is the first to start paying off the debt on Michigan Stadium's $226 million renovation project. The 2011 budget will take an $8.8 million hit for that.
The renovation is expected to provide long-term financial dividends, though. The creation of premium seating and suites should boost revenue by $11 million this year, and Jim Winters, the department's chief financial officer, said there is time to sell another $4 million in premium seating.
As revenues have outpaced the deficits former athletic director Bill Martin took over in 2000, U-M now has $35 million in "unrestricted operating reserves," which Winters said would be used primarily on facility improvements, including Crisler Arena renovations and, according to athletic director Dave Brandon, work on Yost Ice Arena and the indoor track facility.
January 27, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved high-definition scoreboards for Michigan Stadium, along with similar scoreboard enhancements for Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena in time for the 2011-12 school year. The Detroit Free Press said the project is expected to cost $20 million. The second phase of the Crisler Arena renovation project also was approved. The $52 million cost - from department resources and gifts - will address 63,000 square feet for new fan entrances, retail and ticket areas and private club space, according to the athletic department. All of the arena's seats will be replaced as part of the project, and disability seating will be improved. TMP Architecture, assisted by Sink Combs Dethlefs, will be the designer.
June 2, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told WTKA that future expansions of Michigan Stadium could take capacity as high as 120,000. "We have a vision for what can be," Brandon told the radio station. "If we were to take the bleacher system up to the top of the (new) scoreboards, which would be even with the elevation of the east and west towers ... it would take the total capacity of the stadium up close to 119,000, maybe 120,000." Brandon added: "I would love to do that; it would be great fun. But we have a lot of work to do to get there. We've got to make sure we'd have the kind of fan support to make it happen."