Empty seats

Submitted by Autostocks on September 15th, 2015 at 7:46 AM

Was disappointed to see all the empty seats at the top of the northwest corner of the stadium Saturday, not just at the beginning of the game, but throughout the game.  Are those just unsold tickets?  Was it due to the noon start?  I don't get it, if you can't get excited about the home opener, on a beautiful Saturday morning, in Harbaugh's home debut, against a Power 5 conference opponent, what will it take?

[Edit: Topic obviously touched a nerve, judging by the negs.  Thanks for the reasoned responses.  Not sure I buy the compaction theory.  Just look at some of the photos from the UTL games and the stadium is full to the brim.  If compaction is the answer, then why don't we see that impact at all games?]



September 15th, 2015 at 7:56 AM ^

TV probably has done a lot to erode the specialness of being at a live event. Those seats are terrible, and home has great views, comfort and food. Plus, it is going to take a while to repair the damage the last 7-8 years plus Brandon did. Hopefully it gets better as time goes on and the team finds more success.

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September 15th, 2015 at 9:00 AM ^

I'm guessing he's talking about the hard small bleacher seats.  All Michigan seat sight lines are good. I think the point is there are a lot more options, and there seemed to be a large push by the AD (even before Brandon) to squelch some fun and spontinaity(sp?) of the student section.

Couple that with 7 years of losing and Brandon taking the fight against students to a new level, and it's going to take time to rebuild the trust and support of the full student section. 


September 15th, 2015 at 10:25 AM ^

it does look like a good portion did get the memo.  I think the student section was down to something like 7,000 last year. It looked like there was easily 17,000-18,000. Just need to get the 3-4,000 more students back.  

It's been a while since I was a student, but they also tend to move down and scrunch in, leaving the top rows to look emptier than the section should.


September 15th, 2015 at 9:29 AM ^

Alabama....Bryant-Denny Stadium - Attendance: 98,568 (101, 821)

Penn State....Beaver Stadium - Attendance: 93,065 (107,282)

Wisconsin....Camp Randall Stadium - Attendance: 76,535 (80,321)

Washington....Husky Stadium - Attendance: 55,010 (72,500)

Florida State...Doak Campbell Stadium - Attendance: 72,811 (82,300)

Iowa...Kinnick Stadium - Attendance: 59,450 (70,585)

A lot of big name teams are no longer selling out every game. Even the Jerryworld game between Alabama and Wisconsin only had 64,279 in attendance. Maybe people have finally had enough of the neutral site games.

Wolverine 73

September 15th, 2015 at 10:19 AM ^

Maybe for some people it erodes the experience, but to me there is nothing quite like being in a full stadium with 98% of the people united behind your team, and watching it impose its will inexorably on the opponent as the game goes on.  Seeing it at home or in a bar just cannot compare.  To each his own, but if I were close by and could easily make every game, I would be at every game.  Well, now that we have a competent coaching staff I would . . .


September 15th, 2015 at 6:20 PM ^

Agreed.  From the tailgate to the "Marching Band, Take the Field!" to the Banner ...it's awesome.

And this whole "it's better on my HDTV" narrative was always being driven by guys like Cowherd who would make blanket statements about how awful game experience is when compared to wearing their slippers, taking a poop when its convenient and having their fridge full of beer right there..

Okay, so then what?  Just play simulated games on the computer and watch on TV?


The whole point of ESPN is covering LIVE SPORTS with FANS WATCHING!!  I get wanting more people to sit on their lazy asses at home and watch on TV, but that's not the point of why they play the games...!

And saying all that, when I was a hungover 20yr old in Ann Arbor, yeah, we sometimes skipped the longass walk to the stadium and instead ordered pizza and watched on TV but students have been doing that since forever TV was showing the games.

Roc Blue in the Lou

September 15th, 2015 at 11:33 PM ^

Well, i live 8+ hours away in St. Louis and my family of 7, along with the 2 older girls' boyfriends, will be traveling to the Big House for this Saturday's game in A2.  Can't wait to have my twin 7 year old boys with us for the first time--tailgating with us at the Golf Course, catching the football and having some burgers and brats before we head over to see the Marching Band arrive at the Big House.  Then, my whole family together for the first time to hear the National Anthem and watch our Boys touch the Banner in the most awsome of all places--the Big House.  I've waited a lifetime to share this with my whole crew at one time, and all the flat screens in the WORLD wouldn't take the place of watching the Maize N Blue LIVE at the Big House on Saturday!!!!  We'll try not to scrunch.


September 15th, 2015 at 10:41 AM ^

This old guy annoyace thing with the students is a little absurd.

Aside from the whole squishing / students are skinnier and standing thing that can waaaaaaay more than account for 10% of the student rows being empty, the team hasn't been very good at all since most of these undergrads were in high school.  If we take away that one blip in 2011, the team hasnt been good since most of these kids were in middle school. I bet you that for random preseason games in 1967, there may have been an empty row or two across the top of the big house.




September 15th, 2015 at 9:18 AM ^

On the contrary, the BYU game is the only game that hasn't practically sold out. Thousands of seats are still unsold from the athletic department, mostly in large chunks that will be visible. BYU will be the least attended game of this season (barring terrible weather for a different game). 


As for the OSU game (NTOSU), I really didn't notice any large empty sections. Yeah, it wasn't full at the beginning (never will be for a noon start) and people left early (always happens in blowout wins with crappy weather), but in the middle of the game it was effectively full to the brim. 


September 15th, 2015 at 1:48 PM ^

BYU is a team that the "average" fan, who likes Michigan/College Football but doesn't closely follow everything, mistakenly underrates.


Also, I think (given that we should've expected fans to not appreciate BYU as much as they should) the game is priced too high. It's $80 for bad, top of the endzone seats. 


September 15th, 2015 at 9:22 AM ^

There is no exact "allotment". The AD will give tickets to as many students who want tickets. This year there were about 2,000 less student buyers than expected/the historical precedent, but the AD can resell those to non students in single game packages (and for every game except for BYU they have been able to). 


Really, the game was full, but it looks empty at the top of the student section because people squish downwards. 


I sit in row 20 of the student section and the aisles had people squeezed in sitting in them (not sure how that was allowed as you literally couldn't get out without pushing people). Not to mention in our section of 9 seats we fit 11 people. The students push downwards and collapse into each other because we stand and don't actually care (for the most part) about being in our exact seats. 


September 15th, 2015 at 2:13 PM ^

It's a prominent effect. You're right though, it doesn't account for everything.

Another issue with the student section is that you having people coming and going (for non-major games) much more so than "regular" fans. 

*I'm going to stereotype below; as with any stereotype they don't apply to everyone. 


Specifically, a chunk of students will show up on time or early, but then leave at halftime. These tend to be students who aren't into partying/tailgating at all. They like the experience of being in the Big House, but aren't really true football fans in that they don't understand the game well or follow every play.  (tend to be disproportionatly female, underclassmen and the archetype of a "nerdy" UM student). 

On the other hand, you have students (and this is especially pronounced at noon games) who value tailgating more than they do the football itself/the "Big House Experience". These students often won't show up until the 2nd quarter. (tend to be disproportionately involved in Greek Life and upperclassmen). 


Thus, the mid second quarter is always the most full the student section will typically be (again, especially during noon games). And I noticed this at the Oregon State game. Definitely had gaps at the top in the second half and first quarter, but they were minimal in the second quarter. 

Therefore, throughout the game enough people are coming to fill the section, but at any one point time there aren't enough people there. I really don't think we had a real empty seat problem given that this was a game against a non-marquee opponent, at noon, with suboptimal weather, that resulted in a second half blowout (so even more people left early). 


September 15th, 2015 at 8:23 AM ^

Yes, you can see this if you look closely when they do the crowd shots.  They are much more condensed than the rest of the crowd.  The yellow of the student shirts looks like a solid mass.

When I make it back to Ann Arbor, I usually get alumni seats, which suck.  They are at the top of the south end zone, intermixed with the opposing fans.  The atmosphere is dead.

I like the energy of the student section, so at half time I always go over there.  There is always room because they crowd down toward the bottom.  It's fun.

So, in summary . . . we can find something else to worry about.  This ain't it.

Are 35-7 games are too boring?  I miss the excitement of every single game being a potential loss.  Was the Harbaugh hire a mistake?

Avon Barksdale

September 15th, 2015 at 7:58 AM ^

Schools and professional teams all across the country are facing the same issues. HDTV, the advances of technology, and skyrocketing prices have led to attendance issues for a lot of college and pro teams.

I have a 50' and surround sound that I got for $400. In all honesty, it's very tempting to watch every game from here in my recliner with my whiskey, food, and restroom right next to me.