Attendance at Big Chill

Submitted by mwolverineforlife on December 12th, 2010 at 12:22 AM

Ok, does anybody else find it funny that we packed more people in for a hockey game, than we ever have for a football game?  There wasn't standing room only, yet about 400 more people came than against UConn, where the previous record was set. Obviously, everyone wanted to see the Big Chill, but you think we would have broken the record again during football season.



December 12th, 2010 at 12:30 AM ^

It also looked on tv like there was empty rows in the upper section of at least three of the corners. I realize they count tickets sold whether or not people show up, but I do think the attendance figure I'd probably, ummmm, slightly off.


December 12th, 2010 at 12:31 AM ^

is that Michigan State couldn't sell their tickets, so they had to give them back to Michigan who sold them.  So it wasn't like we had a lot of sparties in the crowd, but the stadium was full of Michigan fans.

We broke two records today.

Highest Attendance


Highest average IQ of a crowd (broke our own record)


December 12th, 2010 at 12:35 AM ^

Another reason we didn't break it during football season is that (some) fans had lost spirit and didn't go once they realized the defense sucked. If it's not broken against Notre Dame, it will surely be against Ohio State.


December 12th, 2010 at 3:15 AM ^

Seems like that logic doesnt explain why a packed house for UConn wouldn't be the record or a packed house for 5-0 Michigan against 5-0 Michigan State wouldn't be the record. See my post below for why the Big Chill attendance numbers are greatly inflated.


December 12th, 2010 at 10:01 PM ^

First, we did break our attendance record in the very first game of the season.  The record had been 112,118 (2003 OSU game).  We drew 113,090 for UConn and 113,065 for MSU.

Second, it's not a turnstile count.  They take the paid attendance and add in invited guests.  It doesn't matter if fans were discouraged or not by midseason- the tickets were already sold.


December 12th, 2010 at 11:09 PM ^

I must be missing something, because I don't understand why people are complaining that the UConn record wasn't broken later in the football season. The UConn attendance was inflated because of the stadium rededication and all extra media people and special guests who were there because of it. So, it's not surprising to me that that game set the record and wasn't surpassed by one of the other football games.


December 12th, 2010 at 12:36 AM ^

But then till we fill up for OSU or Nebraska next year (if seat space remains unadjusted), I still have a hard time believing there weren't more people for the MSU football game. So they'll "fix" it somehow next year.


December 12th, 2010 at 1:01 AM ^

there is a lot more room on the field during a hockey set up for people than for a football set up.  The attendance counts everyone inside the fence, not just in the seats.  From the hot dog guy to the camera guy, they all count as one.  There were a lot of people down on the field for this one because of the extra space, so the attendance was bound to break every record.


December 12th, 2010 at 7:27 AM ^

They do count the band(s) and the staff and what not.

I've no idea how many people can fit into the towers.  And of course not every handicap spot was taken, and so I think that the stadium could hold even more if all the handicap spots are filled, I think there's over 1000 of them at this point.



December 12th, 2010 at 1:11 AM ^

will have a different number that will come out I-have-no-idea-when, that will have just the spectator count, based on the people that were actually there (I have no idea how they ball park that more specifically, so don't ask me how they're doing it!).  They did, however, have time to ball park the number of fans at more than 77 something thousand, which is why they still gave us the record.  (…)


December 12th, 2010 at 1:45 AM ^

They use aerial photos of the stadium to estimate the number of people present. I would imagine they find the area of the bowl itself and then count a portion of that and multiply from there but I could be completely wrong. That is an uneducated guess.


December 12th, 2010 at 3:11 AM ^

Big Chill attendance numbers were greatly inflated. In my house of 6 people there were 6 tickets that were not used because Michigan literally just threw them at us. 4 of us don't care about hockey whatsoever and got those tickets put in with our football season tickets (so that's 4 tickets they are counting as "attending" even though none of us showed up) and the other 2 people in the house like hockey but got 1 ticket in their football season ticket package and 1 ticket in their hockey season ticket package, so they each had 1 leftover ticket. They both attended but since they had 4 tickets there were 2 leftover tickets.

I guess I'm a little negative about this situation mainly because it was so blatantly deceiving how they were "counting" attendance. Tickets sold when you literally try to toss them into any other athletics package for free shouldn't count. Michigan breaks enough legitimate attendance records that they didn't need to go to such underhanded methods to try to get this done. If I send out 110,000 invitations to my birthday party and nobody shows up, do I get to count it as the most attended Chucky Cheese event ever?


December 12th, 2010 at 6:22 AM ^

It is absolutely what they're counting. I was in attendance during UConn and all the other home football games and it was completely packed for the majority of the season. Some people even had to stand sideways in my section to fit everybody in. On TV they panned to the audience numerous times and there were gaps in several places in the stadium. In fact, near the upper edges there were entire several yard gaps of empty seats.

If I were unfamiliar with Michigan and I watched the Big Chill on TV and heard they set their stadium's attendance record, my thoughts wouldnt be "wow thats a great accomplishment!" it would instead be "wow, Michigan set its stadium's attendance record and its not even 90% full? I guess their football fanbase is worse than I thought."

Finally, just to reiterate, not only is throwing in hockey tickets for free into other sports packages an underhanded way of counting "sold tickets" because the AD has no idea if a football fan is also a hockey fan, but the fact that they were giving the same individuals multiple tickets is completely wrong if you want to count those tickets in the attendance numbers. Not everybody is going to have family/friends who are interested in attending that they can just give the tickets to, so counting those tickets 100% in the attendance numbers is completely bogus.


December 12th, 2010 at 8:48 AM ^

Because the Guiness World Record people were there they had to count only scanned tickets not the usual method of tickets sold. Remember Purdue in 1995? No way over 100,000 were there but the attendance was announced as such. Stadium was packed yesterday except for the very top of one section but that even seemed to fill in as the game went on.


December 12th, 2010 at 9:44 AM ^

Uh... that's not what I was saying. It was indeed a world record, but the 113,000+ number is not correct. That is the ticket sales number. The Guiness people eyeballed using overhead film that the attendance was a world record, however the 113,000 figure is not their number (they are currently in the process of calculating the official number). Google the articles about the Big Chill if you don't believe me. In summary:

1. The Big Chill was a world record for largest attendance at a hockey game. Congratulations to those involved.

2. The Big Chill was not an actual attendance record for any event at Michigan Stadium. The number of actual people there was nowhere close to the attendance at UConn, Michigan State, or Iowa. To actually think that 113,000+ people showed up is ludicrous and an insult to the football fanbase who actually does show up to the game instead of just tossing away thousands of tickets to people who don't want them or already have them and counting those as attendance.


December 12th, 2010 at 9:51 PM ^

It's not the tickets-sold number either.  That figure is capped at 109,901.  We use a combination of paid attendance and invited guests to arrive at the "official" attendance figure. 

I don't know if we had 113,000 there yesterday, but we may not have against UConn or MSU, either.  The suites and club seats did not sell out this season.


December 12th, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

Whatever number Guinness finally issues as the official count most certainly won't be based on any eyeball test or on tickets sold. If I'm reading the following correctly--from an article--they will take the number of scanned tickets and then add to that some other people who were there, including the marching band and people who were given special passes (basically anyone who Guinness considers a spectator but who did not have tickets). The players, coaches, stadium staffers, and media won't be included in the count.

The reason for the discrepancy comes because of Guinness counts differently than Michigan counts. The school counts players, media and others at the game to work. Guinness doesn’t count any of those people.

"It's a combination of scans with the barcodes on tickets," [Guinness adjudicator Mike] Janela said, explaining how Guinness reaches its number. "It's not for tickets sold but for people who actually show up. People who weren’t ticketed, marching band for instance, or people who were given special passes."

Media and players, he said, do not count in the numbers because they are not actually spectators of the game.


December 12th, 2010 at 7:58 AM ^

We were at the Big Chill and the math just doesnn 't work.  There was a scattering of empty seats in the stadium and there were FAR fewer people down on the field.  MSU brought their hockey band of about 25 people instead of an entire 250-300 person marching band.  There was far fewer media.  And the teams alone are smaller compared to two 85+ football teams.  Not to mention that we had plenty of shoulder-to-shoulder room where we were sitting and rarely have that for a football game. 

We were guessing about 107,000 max.  The "actual" number was just insulting to everyone's intelligence.   


December 12th, 2010 at 8:05 AM ^

Either Way its a World Record..From my viewpoint you couldnt see any empty seats what so ever so SOMEBODY was in those seats...Its amazing how some folks will take ANY opportunity to post something Negative about UM.....I guess some folks are never happy..

We just had a VERY good sports week at UM...the Womens BB team beat a undefeated KU and the Mens BB beat Utah...Mens soccer competed in the College CUP Soccer Final four on national TV and 113,000 set a world record for Hockey as the team beat archrival 5-0 at the Big House in a stunning event that was seen nationally..The football team is playing in a New Years Day Bowl game...STOP being so negative


December 12th, 2010 at 8:48 AM ^

... UConn and the Big Chill.  There is NO WAY there were more people at the Big Chill.

Late in the first period the crowd probably maxed out.  Around the start of the game, the football student sections in the northwest corner of the Big House were 75% full at the most.

The luxury boxes on the east side were only about 60% full.

It will be interesting to see what the world record count is.  It will provide a useful rule-of-thumb to decode that greatest of Big House secrets: the difference between ticket sales and attendance.

I invited a Sparty friend to join me.  We were both aghast at the few numbers of the Sparty faithful.  I bet there were no more than 5% green-and-white.

So the lore that "Sparty doesn't travel" has some truth to it.  If they won't attend the Big Chill at the Big House, how many will travel to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando?

All that said, the game and event were awesome.  I mean, 100,000 people for a hockey game?

And I couldn't help but think that when RichRod handed Denard his Silver Football trophy in the tunnel during the first period that it might be the last time we see the former in the Big House.  Which, all the BS notwithstanding, made me sort of sad.



His Dudeness

December 12th, 2010 at 9:45 AM ^

Completely agree. When they announced the number I said "Wow" then I looked around and said "No way."

On another note; what was sas was a kid in the student section wearing a fucking Stanford hat... UGH...

Say Novak, Hardaway, Morris sitting together. Also saw Will Cambell and what appeared to be Kenny Demens on top of some other dude with his shirt off yelling at the student section. Those crazy kids...


December 12th, 2010 at 9:55 PM ^

It will be interesting to see what the world record count is.  It will provide a useful rule-of-thumb to decode that greatest of Big House secrets: the difference between ticket sales and attendance.

Perhaps - but the number of no-shows to a hockey game in December might not be analogous to the number of no-shows to a football game in September/October/November.  It takes a lot of casual fans to get the stadium full for hockey. 


December 12th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

I've always been under the impression that the "game day" attendance includes everyone inside the stadium that day, including our players, opposing players, stadium workers, security, officials, opposing teams bands, special guests on the sidelines, etc.  That is why the attendance is always over the official capacity of 109,901 (or whatever the current capacity may be).  

Number of seat and tickets sold is only one factor in determining attendance. The 113,411 number is legit. OSU next year will break it....if they bring their band.

Indiana Blue

December 12th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

on how attendance is figured.  In the gate counts - ticket or not.

It was a absolutely phenomenal day !!! Weather for tailgating was great and the "show" was better than I thought was possible.  We were in row 6  -  too low to get a good view of the action on the ice  -  but the environment was simply outstanding !!  

Amazingly some people on this board will find something to bitch about regardless of the topic. 

Hats off to everyone that made the Big Chill happen !   It will certainly last in my memory forever !!!

Go Blue !


December 12th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

The 2k kids with football and hockey tickets each had two tickets for the BC which, busy as we can get this time of year weren't worth trying to sell for a few bucks, so if half of those got used thats 1k empty seats.  The real attendence will probably come out to 108 or so, but still, that's an incredible event and does't need to be denigrated in any way.  That's still the old record+a winter classic at Fenway combined.


December 12th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

And what about the empty seats from all the football packages that included them? That's probably another couple thousand. It's still a great accomplishment but its very annoying as a football fan to read about a hockey game that was better attended than any football game in the history of michigan stadium and then read theories about it like "The football fans probably gave up once they realized the defense sucked" which again wouldn't even make sense with regards to UConn or MSU games.

In reality, although you may think calling it the "most attended event in Michigan stadium history" is a nice thing for the hockey fans, it is at the same time very disrespectful to the football fans who have stuck with this team through the recent bad times and actually showed up to all the games without having phantom attendance records based on forcing out as many tickets as possible.


December 12th, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

Amazing that this is actually a discussion. Old Record + a Winter Classic at Fenway is probably the best way to think about it. The record for the most attended hockey game was set yesterday and will stand until we decide to hold another outdoor hockey game (hopefully next year).


December 12th, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

I was babysitting a tailgate and what stood out to me were the number of people, on Hoover street, attempting to unload tickets half way through the first period. The other thing that I noticed was a steady flow of people, mostly students, leaving the stadium during the same time period. I assume that the students went in to take in the scene and then went back to hit the books. Of course, this doesn't account for all of the empty seats but people were leaving at almost the same rate as they were going in for the entire second half of the period. Once the first period ended the number of people leaving was huge and steady so it wouldn't surprise me if the student section never filled up.