Michigan Football season ticket demand down significantly?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on May 9th, 2018 at 1:01 AM

Well, if you tried to getting season tickets in 2017 and were denied because of the large demand and the minimum number of priority points to be offered tickets set at 22, then you probably are happy if you re-applied in 2018.

According to MGoBlue, there has been a tremendous drop in season ticket interest-

Here is the 4-year table they updated

Season # of New Requests/Interest
List Donations
% Offered
Season Tickets
Minimum Points to
be Offered Tickets
2018 789 100% 1.5
2017 1,024 39% 22
2016 1,398 100% 1.5
2015 2,093 100% 1.5



Der Alte

May 9th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

You're right --- many baby boomers in their 60s and 70s are physically unable to stand for extended periods during a football game. Many will not yell "sit down" or "down in front" to the younger people who stand much of the game and block the oldster's view; they'll just put up with it. And even if they did yell "down in front" it wouldn't do any good; the standees would just ignore them. But apparently your point is that to stand during the game is to support the team more devoutly than to just sit there and watch..Who knew? 

So yes, anyone over, say, age 60 or so should probably not be allowed in the stadium. They should stay home and turn the stadum over only to those who can "stand up and support the team."

Section 1.8

May 9th, 2018 at 7:07 PM ^

I support the team, to the tune of mid-four figures each and every year.  I'm not going to listen to any millennial douchebag tell me that I don't support the team.

By the way, I am in my seat before the Marching Band enters the field, and I am there to watch the coaches shake hands at the end.  Supporting the team.

Finally, I guess I yell more than I realize, because I am frequently hoarse at the end of games, without even recalling what I did to get that way.

Come back to lecture me about boomers, when the students fill their section before kickoff, and when all the STAND UP people come up with an appropriate PSD number for their own section(s).


May 9th, 2018 at 7:34 AM ^

At some point sports teams are going to realize that going to games in a sold out loud stadium is what creates life long fans, and that keeping ticket prices low and people still interested in going to games will create more long term value than maximizing ticket revenue. This is especially true for professional sports teams because colleges get students who make that connection, but it’s still true for the college game. The cost of attendance has just gotten too high to justify the experience, especially for more than a couple games a year.

KC Wolve

May 9th, 2018 at 8:09 AM ^

While I agree with you, it will die out before they realize it. Look at baseball. Many stadiums sit half empty year round anyway, yet most people can’t afford to go let alone take kids. They could lower prices, bring kids back to the stadium and still make millions, but it will never happen. Like most things, they will suck every dollar out and just move on most likely. Baltimore is currently doing a promotion where kids go free for certain games which is a good start, but you know they will kill it immediately if they start winning.


May 9th, 2018 at 9:01 AM ^

I don't have the numbers available to say this with certainty, but I would expect that most college (revenue) and pro sport teams do not make most of their money off the gate and concessions, but from merchandising and media rights. Games with half empty stadiums are evidence of this. However, this does not imply that ticket prices are too high across the board - the fact that secondary market prices for UM tickets (in aggregate, but driven mainly by 1 or 2 major games per season) are higher than face value show that it could still go higher (God forbid).


May 9th, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

For sports, at least. For concerts, major bands / names (e.g., Taylor Switft; U2; the Eagles) have successfully experimented lately with charging $350 and up for top seats, and they get it. Which makes sense, as that's a once a year (or less) activity.

For sports, though, you typically have many, many chances except for those premimum games (e.g., MSU, OSU, ND). For a UM fan, what's the difference btw seeing WMU vs SMU? Maryland or Indiana? You can just pick one of those, and be fine with it -- which is what I typically do and I *never* pay above list price.

In theory, it would be easy for college football to start dropping ticket prices (and parking, and concessions) back to reasonableness for these interchangeable games. The challenge is the UM has taken on a ton of debt to fund all these palatial buildings around campus, not to mention they pay the football and basketball staffs tens of millions (though that can more easily adjust to market conditions). 

The true canary in the coal mine is EMU (and WMU and CMU): they each spend $20 million more per year than they take in. They can't raise any more money from tickets or TV/media revenue. They are cutting teaching staff and sports as a result.  Not saying U of M will end up with only 5,000 people attending games like EMU, but ticket revenue is not going any higher for anyone. Something needs to give.


May 9th, 2018 at 8:38 AM ^

Youth day has been shut down and harbaugh has removed the team from almost all fan interaction. People want these experiences and it gets the young folks to fall in love with the team. Hoke was actually good in this area. They used to have camps where the kids could interact with the team.

Oh and one more thing...win


May 9th, 2018 at 8:47 AM ^

This. I have an awesome memory of going to fan day while having a broken arm and getting Steve Breaston and Tyler Ecker to ask me what happened and sign my cast. That's what gets kids hooked. Kids have no reason to be excited about anything regarding the experience in a long time.

The Krusty Kra…

May 9th, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

Despite the garbage season they had in 2016, MSU still had its fan day at the Stadium and their fans seemed to show up in droves. Harbaugh can let in Amazon documentaries and do ESPN hits in Paris all he wants, but it still keeps the team at an arm's length from the fan base. Even Saban, the emperor of college football, allows that Fan Day event where fans run a 100 yard dash across Bryant Denny to line up and get his autograph. If this season ends in disappointment (i.e. not beating rivals and not at least making a B1G CG) someone needs to walk into Jim's office because you can't have that level of disconnect AND not provide the winning that allows you to partially get away with said disconnect.


Wolverine Devotee

May 9th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Yup, it's very off-putting.

Men's Basketball has selfie night where you meet the players, Hockey has skate with the Wolverines night and Softball obviously has the Softball Academy and their players are great with fans.

Spending a lot of money on Football and getting no bones thrown our way doesn't sit well with me. 

Perkis-Size Me

May 9th, 2018 at 8:45 AM ^

Lack of MSU, OSU or ND on the schedule will do that to you. I know some of it is due to the lackluster season we just had, but I think the main reason is there are no rivals on the home slate. 

That's not to say it's a bad home schedule. Wisconsin, Penn State, and Nebraska at home are all great games. But it's not the same as having a rival come to town. 

I'm not ready to say that demand is down because the team had a bad year. Wait until this time next year, especially if Harbaugh has a breakthrough season, and demand is going to skyrocket for 2019 with ND, MSU and OSU all coming to town. 


Sione For Prez

May 9th, 2018 at 8:54 AM ^

We also would need to look at the number of tickets that were not renewed to get a better picture. I called the ticket office and tried to get 2 more season tickets but was told they didn't have the inventory to allow for additional tickets and they were only offering tickets to new season ticket holders.


May 9th, 2018 at 9:14 AM ^

1) When your home games are WMU, SMU, NEB, MD, WIS, PSU,IU, this will happen.

2) This will make it cheaper to nab one or two games on stubhub :)


May 9th, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

Enjoy the lull while you have it. 

If the team has a good year in 2018 and it looks like Harbaugh is on track, 2019 is going to be a tough year to get tickets.



May 9th, 2018 at 9:41 AM ^

I'm sure it's a combination of things.  There's the long-term trend of people becoming less interested in attending the actual game because of all the factors already enumated like increasing costs, every game now being on television, HDTVs, etc.  The honeymoon phase where everyone got excited about Harbaugh has largely worn off, and finally the less than stellar lineup this year.


May 9th, 2018 at 10:22 AM ^

weak home schedule for starters, and yes scheduling all 3 of your biggest draws in the same year, makes the the years you don't have them in house that much less attractive, so they better get good non conferewnce opponents in those years to draw.


The tax form angle will hit big for businesses no doubt. They should of done the reform only for effecting pro teams, not colleges and universities sports teams.


as for expectations , that may have a bit to do with it also.


On the bright side, new field turf being put in before the season starts

Sione For Prez

May 9th, 2018 at 3:17 PM ^

Sorry, but 2020 will be the worst home slate I've ever seen. Wisconsin will be on the 6th year as crossover team so people will want to see other West teams and PSU draws buzz because they're a good team in our division but we will have played both of those games by October 3. That means we go the last two months of the season without a marquee home game.

Blue in Paradise

May 9th, 2018 at 10:31 AM ^

I have been out of the country for 20 years so it hasn't impacted me directly but even I was back in Michigan, I would refuse to pay the PSD.

Tickets should cost what they cost.  If they have to increase the cost per ticket, so be it - but I hate when they try to blur the cost and I am glad the PSDs are no longer deductable.  I hope 5 years from now that they no longer exist.

Unicycle Firefly

May 9th, 2018 at 10:48 AM ^

Unless you can get season tickets along the sideline, I’m not sure it’s really worth it. If you have to sit in the end zone every game, you might as well just score cheaper seats on Stubhub and save your extra money for buying a decent seat to the bigger games.

Toe Meets Leather

May 9th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

the bigger games such as MSU and OSU (granted not at home this season) will cost you just as much if not more than buying the entire season. The relatively dull schedule this year probably has the most to do with the lack of interest.

Personally I have tickets in the corner closer to the sideline than not, and I love the seats. I plan to keep my seats and keep inching toward the 50 yard line, so that I can have great seats at a relatively consistent price, and not have to go through the hassle/price gouging on the secondary markets. 

Unicycle Firefly

May 9th, 2018 at 6:41 PM ^

Yeah, I guess it depends on how many seats you have. My two seats plus PSD equal out to a little less than $1,500 each season for section 5 on the south goal line. If you wanted a larger group of 4+ then end zone season tickets might still be a decent deal, especially in a season with a strong home schedule.


May 9th, 2018 at 10:56 AM ^

The cost of being a season ticket holder is certainly a factor. Especially when you live 3 hours away and also account for the gas and time spent driving.

This season will only be my fourth as a season ticket holder and I think I am committed to year 5 soley base upon the home schedule. But after the 2019 season I'll probably let them go and enjoy most games from home or use some of the "extra" money to see the team in some road venues.

This has nothing to do with wins or losses. Just money and time.


May 9th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

Does this mean there's going to be a delay on installing an upper deck on the Big House between the scoreboard and skybox to add another 20-30k seats?