David Brandon at meeting for ushers this morning

Submitted by VictorsValiant09 on July 17th, 2010 at 4:17 PM

I attended the mandatory meeting for ushers this morning (for some extra cash this fall), and we were graced with David Brandon's presence. After explaining how administrators visited Notre Dame to inspect their luxury boxes, he said, and I quote: "We beat their asses in that, too."

Other, pertinent info: New scoreboards are likely going to be installed by 2011; potential to add 5,000 more seats, as well.



July 17th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

...is the balls.  That is all.

New scoreboards by 2011 is incredible.  +5K seats by 2011 or another timetable?  That seems way too quick for that.


July 17th, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

I'm surprised that they think they will get them in by 2011 if they're coupled with more seats.

Looks like the eventual capacity will be close to 114-115K.


July 17th, 2010 at 4:46 PM ^

Looks like Brandon has found a way to add the seats without adding an upper deck, which would add a lot more seats but cost a lot more and probably produce a little bit of opposition.  A "mere" addition of 5,000 seats will probably get "rubber stamped" by the trustees.

I am more and more happy with Brandon every time he is mentioned.  He has brought that "do it right now/no excuses" style of management that both Bo and his old boss Tom Monaghan utilized so effectively.  However things shake down in the next few years, I am finally confident that the person in charge is actually qualified this time.


July 17th, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

Really too many seats have been left open now, no need to add 5k more at the moment....

Seriously I am not for this at the second, at least let Rich get the program on the upswing so ticket demand takes off, then add the seats.... or do a 2nd deck...


btw, does anyone know where they stand on how much is owed against the stadium renovation? 


July 17th, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

106,304 people showed up to watch Michigan play East Dover Middle School Delaware State.  That was over capacity (albeit by 103 people).  What team could we possibly schedule that would draw fewer than that?

Methinks we could sell out Michigan Stadium regularly if capacity was 140,000.


July 17th, 2010 at 6:27 PM ^

If that was the attendance, then DSU wasn't a sellout, because players/media/band/volunteers are counted as part of the gameday attendance.  We generally have 3,000+ "extra" people per game, so we probably fell a couple thousand tickets short that day.  (Though in fairness, the shortfall almost certainly was due to DSU not selling out its visitor's allotment.)


July 17th, 2010 at 6:38 PM ^

That's why I phrased it the way I did.  And I'm sure there were a few empty seats (it's hard to motivate yourself to fight off the hangover and get to the game when it's against DSU) and a number of unsold tickets. 

My only point was that in the middle of a down season, and against the worst team Michigan has played in decades, we still probably sold >97% of the available tickets, and most people showed up.


July 17th, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

I definitely agree that our fans are terrific when it comes to showing up.  It's remarkable to me that we outdrew PSU last season even though 1) their stadium had 1,000 more seats and 2) they were coming off a Big Ten title while we were coming off 3-9.  That said, I think we need to get out of this rut and start stringing together winning seasons before we think about expanding further. 


July 17th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

formerly...just because there were empty seats doesn't mean they didn't sell. There is next to nothing you can do about people buying tickets and not showing up. We "sell out" the stadium because we sell all the tickets, not because there is a butt in every seat. I wish there was a maize and blue clad fan in every seat, but some people with season tickets choose to pay for and skip certain games.

Mr. Robot

July 17th, 2010 at 5:17 PM ^

The upper rows aren't always full because people move down when they see the oppurtunity. They are full when we decide its been long enough and we want to break our own attendance record (again) and overfill the stadium (How they do ticketing for that is beyond me, but I'm not seeing how else we got 112,000+ on a couple of different occasions).

Also, I do believe the current renovations are paid for, between donations and current sales. I don't remember where I read that here, but it was around the time of the open house earlier this week. Even so, adding an upper deck wouldn't be that much more expensive. Part of the benefit to having the stadium built into a large hole is that the top only rises about as high as a high school stadium, if that, which is what permits us to have the large amount of box space we do and still have a massive stadium without making our stadium crazy tall. I saw Boise's stadium not too long ago, and it reaches really, REALLY high, even though it only seats like 35,000.


July 17th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

1.  If people are able to move down, that's because there must be empty seats below them.  People don't move down and sit in the aisle.

2.  The "extra" people are not ticket-buying fans.  Attendance is determined by taking the paid attendance and then adding everyone else present that day (players, media, VIPs, etc.). 

3.  The renovations aren't close to being paid for at the moment - we've got about $140M to go.  But we are projected to pay them off with the added revenue we're going to get, over the next decade or so.

Mr. Robot

July 17th, 2010 at 11:18 PM ^

1. Actually, yes they do. Try as the usher's might, there's simply no way for them to prevent people from crowding down where the middle aisles end in the corners. This results in gaps, which people then go down and occupy. This applies only to the student section where people stand, obviously, but that's also the only place in the stadium I ever notice any gaps.

Clearly not all of the space is accounted for in this. Students also tend to pack in like sardines, even with the seats also being very small in first place. You also have to account for the losers who show up at halftime as well as the even bigger losers who LEAVE at halftime. This represents some attendance problems for lesser games, but it also means that somebody bought a ticket, which is all that really matters financially, so that doesn't justify not adding more seats (especailly ones that are going for full price to wait-listed people and/or the general public).

2. Obviously that plays a large part in it, however you will never convince me that sideline roamers, and press box occupants can account for a little under 5,000 people for our record game. There isn't enough room for people even combined in those two spaces to account for that many people without having a bunch of them standing on the field or thuroughly in the way of the team.

3. Probably true, since I also recall the quote saying something to the effect that "They will be adding revenue one day". As far as I'm concerned though, having lots of rich people commit to paying that much for a luxury box is pretty much paid for. There is, in other words, very little chance this doesn't pay for itself. Add the fact that adding seats to the back of the endzones or even another deck to something that only rises about 30-50 feet off the ground, depending on where you are, and not taking advantage of changing the scoreboards to at least pad the capacity would be silly.


July 19th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

People moved down because people moved down dammit, you stand sideways, you use both the bench and the space in front of the bench to stand in, you get to know your neighbor really really really well. The student section is all about fitting as many people as possible as close to the field as possible. It was packed.


July 17th, 2010 at 5:26 PM ^

Where are these magical empty seats you speak of?  Average attendance last year was 108,983 (see http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/stadium/stadtext/mattend.htm).  That exceeded the theoretical capacity (106,201) by better than 2,700.  And that was with a schedule featuring home games against Indiana, Eastern Michigan, and Delicious Snackycake/Baby Seal U.  Michigan hasn't had a home game with less than 100,000 people watching since the fricking Nixon administration. 

And we've been through this a hundred bajillion times; the recent stadium renovations will pay for themselves in short order.  This wasn't some flight of fancy by the administration to look cool when their new pal Nebraska comes to our place for a beer.


July 17th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

See my post above about the "extra" people at the games.  We probably did not sell out every game last year (it's almost a certainty that we didn't sell out DSU).  And I would not badmouth last year's home schedule.  ND, PSU and OSU all came into town - that's a great slate. 


July 17th, 2010 at 6:44 PM ^

But the upside potential for great games is limited, while the downside potential for crappy games is not.

Say typical attendance is 110,000.  For a really good game, you can't realistically fit more than 111,000 or 112,000 people in the stadium.  However, for the really shitty games, there is no cap on the number of tickets that go unsold or unused.  In that way, three shitty games and three good games should (if demand was at all elastic) should create a lower turnout than six 'meh' games.


July 17th, 2010 at 10:58 PM ^

I went to the Little Brown Jug game versus Minnesota in the 1988 season. Rain was coming down in sheets, and the field was like a wet mop, (since 'Shoe was in the color guard, and it was his senior year, he may remember it). Michael Taylor was the QB.

Anyway, they quoted a shade more than 100k in attendance at the game, even though it was obvious that there were sections with empty rows. At the time, I figured they must have thrown open the gates and let in anyone with a pulse. Either that, or they stretched the definition of what it meant to be "in attendance."

Evil Empire

July 20th, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

I'll admit that I left Syracuse 1998, Oregon 1997, and (oy) Michigan State 2004 due to us being down by many points in the second half, having looked pathetic all day.

My mom and sister left the rainy Minn game at halftime, my dad and I stuck it out until late in the third quarter.  We were sitting in ~section 4 above one of the entrances, watching the floodwaters pour down the steps.  It was wretched.

Purdue 1995 was worse weather, a slush storm.  I bet there weren't 100k there but they list 103,721.  Also skeptical about Memphis 1995, listed at 100,862.


July 17th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

Paid for seats != asses in seats.

I'd be a little worried about adding seats right now too.  There have been games in the last two years when it has been flat out embarrassing to see the number of empty seats.  And it would not complement fancy new HD scoreboards well to see patches of empty seats next to them.

But, the real problem this points to is the opponent.  Schedule Baby Seal U and EMU and you get empty seats.  Schedule real teams, and it's not a problem.

For the long run, though, do it.  More seats generally equals better, but if you think that Michigan Stadium has always been "full" the last two years (and at times before), you're wearing some kick ass Maize Goggles.


July 17th, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

But it's still close enough to capacity to indicate that the demand would be there for more seats if they were available.  Games against UMass and Baby Seal U will have more drop-off, but if you added more seats, I think you would see an increase in absolute attendance (even if it results in a slight worse "percentage of capacity" number).

I think this largely depends on your perspective.  Personally, I'd rather see a 125,001 seat stadium in which only 118,000 are filled against crappy opponents (and filled against MSU, OSU, ND, etc.) than a 109,901 seat stadium packed to the gills every week.  Some people (quite reasonably) prefer a packed house to a bigger crowd.  I prefer the latter.


July 19th, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

Also the financing would be very cheap right now. If Michigan can finance at anything close to 3-4% then its effectively a no brainer.


July 17th, 2010 at 5:14 PM ^

I always thought they were trying to find a way not to lose seats. The BH will be losing approx. 2,000 seats when they widen them and add handrails over the next two years, so nearly half of the additional 5,000 will be to replace lost seats. We can absorb the additional 3,000 (we have ND, PSU and OSU at home next year which will help on the margin).

Mr. Robot

July 17th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Personally, I'm a fan of maximum noise-making, so I'd like to see an upper deck at least on the south end over the student section. Then again, I'd also like to see us reach 150,001 so we become the biggest stadium in the world, which isn't really possible without decks.

I would be willing to settle for another 5,000 and godzillatrons for the next 20-25 years though. I'm surprised they're moving forward with this so fast, given all the other athletic construction and the fact that current project has been going on over 2.5 years and is only finally about to be completed. I guess he figures that's a good way to compensate for the reduction from the seat-widening without a capacity dip inbetween like we had with the luxury boxes the last few years.

Mr. Robot

July 17th, 2010 at 11:21 PM ^

Stadiums and race tracks are complimentary. The union would result in the complete set of sporting venues, while the intersection would result in the null set. (EECS 203 WAS useful, dang it!)

Que the smart alec who makes the comment about a football field with a running surface going around it.


July 17th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

He wants Michigan to be better than every other school at everything and he seems to be constantly thinking of ways to make that happen.  It sounds simple, but it also requires a certain focus and purposefullness that many administrators lack.