The Big House
Feels like a feelingspost-filled weekend. My castmate and UM alum James Earl Jones said it well. John U. Bacon's statement that Dave Brandon sees Michigan football as a brand, when really it's a religion. Fans will pay to see good football in an environment they revere.
"People will come, Ray. They'll come to Ann Arbor for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up Main Street, not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your gates as innocent as children, longing for the past. 'Of course, we won't mind if you have a look around,' you'll say. 'It's only 85 dollars for our valued guests, 20 if you're a student of this fine institution.' They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
And they'll walk out to the bleachers, and sit in shirt-sleeves on a perfect Saturday afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the sidelines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game, and it'll be as if they'd dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they'll have to brush them away from their faces.
The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been Michigan football. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But Michigan football has marked the time. This stadium, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."
After watching a December basketball game paint Brooklyn Maize, I was inspired to pass along a thank you.
It’s well known that Michigan has the largest living alumni base of any university. There are many of us who are proud alums and who never have to “justify” our fanhood. Being a Michigan fan came easy to me. The son of two alums (and native Michiganders) I was almost pre-destined to head to Ann Arbor after I graduated high school, despite having grown up outside Chicago. I was lucky and worked hard and managed to go to Michigan and graduate in 2009. There are many who aren’t as lucky as I was. To those of you who are fans of Michigan despite not having a degree: Thank you. You may have been questioned, demeaned even for supporting College Football’s most winning program.
Some may call you “Walmart Wolverine” in a derogatory manner because you choose to support Michigan. But guess what – Michigan doesn’t succeed without the support of everyone: Students, Alumni, Faculty, and (as Fielding Yost called them) “Friends of the University”. It’s true. Michigan Stadium doesn’t get built without non-alumni fans.
From page 190 of Soderstrom’s The Big House* “No one: no student, no alumnus, and no friend of the university would be “giving" anything to the athletic department. Rather, the athletic department would sell a bond at a given amount of interest and pay back all the money over time… it had always been a Michigan athletic tradition that no attempt would be made to secure funds from the state, like the school in East Lansing had done for its new stadium.” Yost needed investors to build the Big House, and it turns out that the first bond letter had provided a “disappointing alumni response” (Page 318)
After bonds were extended to anyone who wished to buy them, not just alumni, “by early 1927, the whole initial issue, 2000 bonds, was sold.” Yost actually angered some alumni (and students, who felt that their seats were terrible even then) by making sure that there were new seating blocks in Michigan Stadium that were specifically NOT for alumni. Yost’s appeal was as such: “’This is a State University – not a privately endowed institution. Ownership of this institution is vested not in our students, faculty, and alumni – but in the people whose taxes make it possible’ Yost would never tire of making this point” (Page 194). I’ll take Yost's point one step further – It’s not just the taxes or the tuition, but ANY support of Michigan makes you a “real” fan. Maybe you can’t afford tuition and thus aren’t an alum. Maybe you don’t live in Michigan and don’t pay Michigan state taxes. Maybe you can’t afford season tickets (which are no longer $2.50 per game like they were in the 1920s), maybe all you do is own some apparel and visit MGoBlog – both of which provide support to Michigan no matter how small. The next time someone asks you if you went to Michigan, just remember that it was fans like you (not just alums!) who gave us the greatest football stadium in the world. And remember that there can be a little inferiority complex around East Lansing, after all they needed money from the state to build their stadium.
*As an aside if you need a stocking stuffer or just a great read on Michigan’s history, I couldn’t recommend Soderstrom’s book more. Click through the MGoLink to Amazon and order it!
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by experiencing the Big House that it has got the best of your emotions? For the home opener in 2010, my and one of my friends took her mom to her first ever Michigan game. It was her mom's birthday and everything. Her mom cried the first time she saw the team run out onto the field because she never thought she'd ever see that live.
So my question to you guys is, do you have any similar stories? Have you ever been overtaken by your emotions from experiencing the Big House live?
Interesting page, lets you choose which schools to compare
Takes attendance numbers from 2006-2011 and lets you see both average attendance per year as well as gross average attendance graphed vs. % of capacity. Of course the Big House is the Biggest House. We sell more seats than anyone, but the Horseshoe actually sells out more as a % of capacity. Lots of standing room in ohio?
Also, check out Penn State's numbers... and show them to Brandon before he actually prices out a bunch of fans.
I searched and didn't see a topic already discussing this topic, and since everyone seems down in the dumps today after the tough Iowa loss (or, alternately, all Penn State-y, which is even more depressing), I thought I'd point out the good news that we're on great position to break our 2010 NCAA Record for Highest Average Home Game Attendance, which was set at 111,825. Here's where we stand so far:
Western Michigan 110,506
Notre Dame 114,804
Eastern Michigan 110,343
San Diego State 110,707
Ohio State xxx,xxx
So, through six games 669,581 fans have visited Michigan Stadium so far this season, averaging out to 111,597. We're alittle behind 2010's pace, but our only two home games left will be two of our biggest presumed-attendance games: Nebraska and Ohio State. I don't think replicating UTL's numbers for either of those contests seems likely, but we might use last year's MSU or UConn games as good placeholders (both between 113,000-113,500). If we estimate conservatively and hit 113,000 for each of our final two home games, we would be just under 112,000 fans on average, beating out old record by around 125 per game.
Also, M-Wolverine asked about the NCAA Single-Season Total Home Attendance record (since the 2010 average-attendance record was set with just 7 home games). Our 2007 team holds that with 882,115. We would need to average only 106,268 in our last two games to break that, so it seems an even more sure bet! Assuming 113,000 in our last two games would put the new record around 895,000, breaking the old record by almost 13,000!
It was probably inevitable with the stadium additions that we break our 1999 average-attendance mark a couple of times, and our 2007 total home attendance record eventually, and this season has been the perfect storm of having Ohio State, Nebraska, and Notre Dame all visit the Big House (one of them in a record-setting first night game) amid 8 homes games. Still, its fun to know that all of us who attended a game this season were part of the soon-to-be new records, and that Michigan athletics will continue to garner publicity for The Big House. Go Blue!
EDIT: I used the 1999 average-attendance record initally (dang you, un-updated Wikipedia!), not the 2010 record. That has been corrected.
So I'm going to be in Ann Arbor in the next couple of weeks, and my dad and I were hoping to be able to see the stadium, especially the renovations, since we haven't been there in a couple of years.
Is there some kind of tour we can take of the stadium, or is it generally open to the public for wandering around? Barring either of those options, do they show it to you on a campus tour (because we're totally willing to sell out the 16-year-old traveling with us in order to get in)?