Crisler Arena upper bowl views

Submitted by preed1 on December 29th, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Next month I will be making my first trip to see a Michigan basketball game. I have never been inside the arena.  Just curious what how the view is from the upper bowl, I will be in section 28.  Also how is the atmosphere for basketball games, inparticular bigger games (not baby seal nor during break.

Thanks in advance mgoblog world, always can count on you for advice!



December 29th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

My experience has always been it depends upon the game.  Typically, if it is a basketball power expect the game to be fun with the fans into it.  If you are seeing Iowa, you will be underwhelmed (is a good word for it).  I am hoping you are going to the Kansas or Ohio State game because those should be the best two games for a good experience in terms of atmosphere (no promise on result of game).


December 29th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

That's both a good and bad thing.  Basketball games are more entertaining to me, personally.  Plus, with football there's always this awful sense that it's either win (convincingly) or everything is a failure.  The expectations take a lot of the fun out of it. 

Very rarely at the Big House do you get to experience a momumental upset.  There's been several at Crisler over the past 5 or so years.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

the Bryant game was the first one I went to this year and honestly, it was kind of refreshing to be at a game where I knew that my mood that week wouldn't be impacted by every minor thing that happened. It was nice to be able to sit back and just watch the game without my heart pounding in my chest and my hands not quivering out of nervousness. Very strange, this thing we call Being a Michigan Fan.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:35 PM ^

I, personally, think hat the view from the upper bowl is fine. It's obviously not as fun as being close to the court, but you can see the action well and you'll enjoy yourself.


The atmosphere, however, is hit-or-miss. If the team is drilling their threes, it'll be rocking. If not, you'll hear a sprinkle of fans of the other team clapping their hands and that's about it.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

The arena isn't very big (only 13,000 capacity) so your view should be fine anywhere. However, Crisler is also kind of dumpy so it's not the best place to watch a game. 

The atmosphere is hit or miss. I was at the Duke game a couple years ago when we won and it was pretty nuts. But even with the whole storming the court thing (which is vastly overrated) it didn't come anywhere near the level of a football game. If we are playing a crap team or getting blown out forget about it, it is about as exciting as the Law Library.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Hmm... to each his own.  I'll admit, while I love football, I'd take a hoops Nat'l Title over a football one, so maybe I'm biased.

But as someone who loves all sports and has been to every venue on campus, never - those games included - has the crowd been that crazy from beginning to end.  If you think back and remember the '09 ND game, it was not exactly that thrilling in the first half.  Other than the opening play of Illinois this year, I spent most of that game prior to OT wondering WTF is going on.

The Duke game was a tour de force.  Every possession that crowd was going insane.  It was like every bucket was a touchdown and every stop was a sack.  It was amazing for all 40 minutes.

st barth

December 29th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

All things considered, my experience has been that the basketball games are more fun.  As much as I love watching M football, I've typically found be at the games to be underwhelming.  Maybe too many old people sitting on their hands?  I don't know.

I also agree with the point about expectations for the teams.  With football the losses are so painful that even the wins feel more like relief than actual joy.  For example, I was at the 1998 Rose Bowl when M won to clinch their first undefeated season/mythical national title of my lifetime and mostly I just felt thankful to have finally gotten that taken care.  By comparison, one of the first basketball memories to come to mind was an overtime victory against Notre Dame in the NIT where we won on a buzzer beater three-pointer that I swear scrapped the rafters it had so much arch before dropping through the hoop with nothing but net.  That was absolutely thrilling.


December 29th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

I just feel like it's a case of a tree falling in a forest with no one around. NIT win better than the 98 Rose Bowl? Really? I respect you feeling that way, but I can't fathom that.

The thing I love about the football games is that they are so relevant. I personally enjoy good teams and winning more than anything. Having everything riding on the outcome of a game is what really excites me. Call me a glutton for punishment, but the undulation of emotions at a football game is what gets me going. I just feel like with basketball games, losing isn't the worst thing in the world. So when we win, it's not as gratifying. 

On top of that, the experience of Michigan football is unparalleled in my mind. My brother flies up from Dallas for a Michigan game every year and he didn't even go there. Don't think he'd do the same for a basketball game.

Kilgore Trout

December 29th, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

In my experience (20+ year season ticket holder), the atmosphere at Crisler is very much determined by the product on the floor.  If Michigan is playing well and the opponent has some cache, it will be rocking and will exceed the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium.  It's smaller and closed in and just lends itself to be louder than the football stadium. 

The crowd yesterday was pretty solid, especially during UM's end of the first half run.  The $15 for three games and a t-shirt deal they put together for the three games over the holidays seemed to have been a good move.

All things considered, don't expect the crowd to carry the game, but they will be into it pretty hard core if the game supports it.


December 29th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^

Depending on the opponent, Michigan's record at the time, and the general hotness of the ticket, you may want to consider spending some $ to get in the blue section.  I've managed to do that for a reasonable price several times.  See what's available outside just before (and maybe just after, if you'd be OK with missing the start) the game.

Section 1

December 29th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

The Upper bowl "Maize" (please not Gold) seats have good views.  The game will be as exciting as the players and fans make it.

A few of our conference rivals have some pretty nice arenas (UW, OSU and, I suppose MSU) that they got at the cost of large debt or advertising/naming rights.  I have a hard time figuring our what if anything is deficient about Crisler.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

I agree - Crisler's lack of appeal is vastly overrated to me.  I love the place.  It is intimate and large at the same time.  The concorses suck - I concede that.  But really, if you're spending much time in the concourse, you have you're priorities out of whack.

Sightlines are great, the place can get easily louder than Michigan Stadium.  Some things can be updated, sure, but it's not nearly as bad as people make it out to be.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:19 PM ^

Apart from the fact it's named after Fritz Crisler, and I have fond memories of seeing my first game there in Feb. '89, there is not much positive to say about Crisler.  It feels like an NBA arena--there is no sense of intimacy.  IMO, it should be retro-fitted, with the roof lowered and about 2,000 seats either moved closer or closed. 


December 29th, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

Also, to answer the OP's question: Crisler has great sightlines.  All other things equal (and they pretty much are in Crisler) the closer the better and the closer to mid court the better.

Being across from the Maize Rage is fun, especially if you bring kids.  If they aren't into the game, they'll be into the student section's antics.

It all depends on the opponent and the team's effort, but any B10 usually brings a quality atmosphere.  If Michigan can play with the big dogs and make a couple runs (like yesterday) it'll be a fun game.  If it's a lower level B10 game, it should be a good competitive game.

The thing I hate about Crisler is the over-priced concessions, though that's commonplace.  Just be like me and sneak in Subway.


December 29th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

All of what you say is probably true. I was probably a bit spoiled growing up in the Lansing area when the Breslin Center was brand new. I do remember being generally satisfied with the sightlines in the upper section of the Breslin Center, and less so with Crisler.

Crisler is still functional, but dated facility built in an unfortunate time architecturally. Nothing like walking into Crisler and feeling like you're in a giant concrete pillbox. 

Section 1

December 29th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

Just as there were with Michigan Stadium.  Crisler is what -- 40 years old?

Just off the top of my head:

  • Scoreboard is old-fashioned.  Like the Big House.
  • Press area has been completely inadequate for a press corps that is about 5 or 10 times the size of what it used to be.  Like the Big House.
  • Bathrooms could be much better.  Like the Big House, even now, could be a helluva lot better.  Which, thanks to water conservation requirements imposed by the University in the Stadium renovation, are still problematic.
  • I'm sympathetic to lighting complaints, although it has been much improved and really isn't so bad now.
  • Concessions could be improved, I suppose, but I don't see that as much of a problem.  My idea of food in association with a Michigan basketball game is Zingerman's.

Kilgore Trout

December 29th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

Agree with most of what you say.  The scoreboards aren't terrible.  They give you all the info you need.  HD would be nice, but I don't think they're a huge detriment.

Bathrooms are bad, there's no sugar coating that.

I can live with the lighting. Agree, much better than it was.

My two complaints

 - Upholstry on the seats needs to be rehauled.  Most seats are torn, stained, or both.  It looks like they put some test seat replacements in the northwest corner.  Those look nice and would be a big improvement if spread around the entire arena.

 - I don't know what can be done about this, but the leg room is ridiculous.  They just put the rows too close together in my opinion. 

Section 1

December 29th, 2010 at 6:38 PM ^

Although it is the exterior "roof", not the ceiling, that requires renovation.

I heard it straight from Dave Brandon -- no suprise, it is what he's told the whole world -- that the first order of business after completing the new basketball team center, is to complete the needed structural work to Crisler during the summer; roof, HVAC, reconfigured bathrooms.  There is going to be an adjustment in the seating.  I just didn't get it clear how radical the adjustment will be.  They need to create a more workable press area, and yeah I expect all the seats to be replaced, I just don't know when, and Brandon is really anxious to re-do the scoreboards.  He seemed more eager, in fact, to re-do the Crisler and Stadium scorboards than the Yost scoreboard.  Actually, they've got such big (but not finalized) plans for Yost, and that is such a hard, unforgiving structure to work with, that they are moving more slowly. 


December 29th, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

The views are fine. For whatever reason, everyone loves to bash Crisler and use it as an excuse for the fact that our basketball fanbase is fickle about attending games.  In reality, Crisler only seats 13,000, and there are no luxury boxes taking up space, so no seat is all that far from the court.   If you've ever sat in the upper deck at the Palace (which seats 22,000 and has two rows of suites below the upper deck), Crisler's upper deck will be much closer to the action. 


December 29th, 2010 at 5:58 PM ^

good time.  The better the game, the better the crowd re: noise and chaos.  But the bball games are fun to go to regardless.  I've been in the upper bowl for 25 years.  The views are fine and the folks around us are nice, too.  Very few obnoxious drunks spitting, swearing, standing, etc. throughout the entire game.  So enjoy the game and the view.

The Shredder

December 30th, 2010 at 2:14 AM ^

Maize Rage can sometimes be the best student section in the nation and other times be down right bad. Duke game they were great but at the UTAH game they were boring and weren't even yelling during Utahs FTs. Most the time I see half the kids jumping and other half playing with their cell phones...