The End of Season Ticket Wait Lists?

Submitted by VeryBlue on August 23rd, 2016 at 3:36 PM

According to Warde Manual, there is not a football season ticket waiting list at Michigan.  Can you tell me why? Waning interest from recent grads perhaps? Perhaps not waning interest in Michigan Football, just less interest in making a season ticket commitment.  

My Michigan Football crazed sons would rather watch games at each other’s houses with beer, chips, chicks, a huge HDTV and a bathroom 10 feet away.  

What about you youngsters?  Are we looking at winning seasons with lower attendance?  

***(I drag my old self to just about every game; now get off my lawn)*** cool



August 23rd, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

I had season tickets during the early 2000's (before the Horror....) and I felt that it was a good deal.  I moved out of state for several years and didn't bother to keep them.  I'm back in de facto MI now (i.e. Toledo) and decided to get them back after DB had eradicated the wait list.  They just don't seem to be worth the money now, especially when so many of the home games are mediocre.  I hope they don't plan to increase the price again once the better NC games start in a few years.

SoDak Blues

August 23rd, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

Right there with you. Two little ones, not to mention living in fricking South Dakota. Keeping my season tickets for life, but I am using fewer and fewer of them and letting my parents and local friends go. Damn shame, because there is nothing like actually being there.


August 24th, 2016 at 1:16 AM ^

Technically, i could afford it, but there are other expenses that have to come first. That maturity stuff gets in the way of a lot of fun. 

Seriously, I guess it's not as big a deal to many younger fans (i'm 53), but for me, nothing beats being there. 

"You can take all those high-screen TVs, chip dips, and Skypes, thoughout the country and in this conference. There's gonna be one fan base that appreciates The Big House. No amenity is more important than The Big House. No food is more important than the Big House. The Big House, The Big House, The Big House."


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:43 PM ^

I'd presume cost plays a major role in this.  Up until a few years ago, the AD charged way under market value for the tickets so it was a no-brainer to buy season tickets as you could always sell them and at least break even and probably make a lot of money.  Now, with PSDs in place, you're going to lose money more often than not on tickets you don't use, so it's no longer a  no-brainer.  For me personally, I have to travel when going to Michigan games and even prior to having kids would only make a few games a year.  In the old days, it still made sense to have season tickets.  Now?  I've dropped them and just buy tickets for games I'll actually attend.


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:55 PM ^

They have sold 90,000 of them (incl students), so that's a big success, considering how expensive season tickets are.

But if there is any hiccup (e.g., God forbid, we go 2-3 more years without at least winning the B1G East, let alone the B1G title), we'll dip down, significantly.

But even with expecations sky high, season tickets are definitely not a "deal."

Mr. Robot

August 23rd, 2016 at 3:43 PM ^

26 year old recent grad here. Got real adult tickets starting last year thanks to Brandon and other factors tanking the wait list and making it easy to get them.

I intend to hold onto them for the next 80 years if I live that long. (although even I must admit, when we have all our first 3-5 games at home in a row, I appreciate that first road game to kick back and relax)

Ditto for hockey.


August 24th, 2016 at 11:21 AM ^

I've only been to a few games live over the years, and to me, nothing will ever match being right there in the building. Watching the greatest team in the world in the greatest stadium in the world; few things could match that.

And still, I get your point about the need for the occasional break. Sometimes, a road game is a good thing.


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:44 PM ^

Apart from a tiny wait list last year, there hasn't been a waiting list for season tickets since 2008.  This is not new, but it seems like every year people are surprised.


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:48 PM ^

I think it was actually 2009 (there was still a lot of excitement heading into 2008), but your point still holds.  There is definitely a significant influence of team performance on whether or not people purchase tickets.  In 2007 and 2008 it still cost thousands of dollars to get off the wait list, but in 2009 the minimum donation ($50, I think) was enough to be offered season tickets.

South Bend Wolverine

August 23rd, 2016 at 3:48 PM ^

Expense is probably a big factor.  If I lived in Michigan & had a decent job, I'd probably get season tickets myself, but not everyone wants to do that.

I will say that I absolutely do not understand anyone who would rather watch a game at home.  That to me is like saying you'd rather heat up some frozen TV dinner for the convenience rather than dine out at a great restaurant.  Yeah, you don't always have the chance to go out, but if you do, that's a no-brainer choice.  I can only attribute this bizarre preference to the moral degradation of society. /getoffmylawn


August 23rd, 2016 at 4:05 PM ^

Expense is a big part of it... I don't own season tickets but try to get to a game or two each year, but $150 for a pair of tickets at face value isn't exactly chump change. Then factor in the 6 hours of travel there and back, plus gas, parking and food, and it's an expensive way to spend a Saturday. I love the experience of being in the stadium, especially for an exciting game but I end up watching half the game on the video board. 

Watching at home, I don't have to spend hours in the car or deal with traffic and parking. I can eat what I want and watch the game with who I want. At halftime I can go outside and throw the pigskin. And during commerical breaks, I can tune into other games. So to me, it's completely understandable why people would rather watch from home.

Jim Harbaugh

August 23rd, 2016 at 4:36 PM ^

Same situation here. The 6 hours of travel, $200 in tickets (obviously gotta bring the ole lady), hotel rooms possibly, and tailgating expenses adds up pretty quickly to try and do that most fall weekends. I'm usually getting to at least 2 games yearly, but i really do enjoy being lazy on my couch and hearing the broadcast.


August 23rd, 2016 at 5:10 PM ^

expense is becoming an issue. I have held season tickets since 1992, nearly gave them up as the hoke era came to a close, swore if he and DB stayed I was done. Maybe I am becoming a grumpy old man, the 330 kickoffs and particularly night game bullshit is a pain. takes forever to get home, and the gameday experience just put an extra 100,000 sparty morons in the city. No THANKS. Like many have said $3 for a CASE of pop, what ver I want to eat, uncrowded restroom and TV HD now actually 4K (yeah I see a difference) staying home is more and more tempting.

Pepto Bismol

August 23rd, 2016 at 4:18 PM ^

I still went to BYU, MSU & OSU last year and am lined up for UCF, but I prefer viewing at home on TV if I'm being honest.

The Big House is beautiful.  It is not comfortable.  At a big game like MSU and OSU, you don't have but maybe 6 inches to wedge your ass between two randoms on the steel benches.  Advantage home by a mile.

Similarly, if we're strictly talking view, I'd rather watch on TV.  Closer, multiple angles, replays, close-ups, etc.  Regardless of how trivial, I can rewind if I need to see it again.  Even if you're section 1 row 40, you can't compete.  Again, not even close.

Convenience is 100% home for obvious reasons.  Pausing, bathroom breaks, snacks and beverages, etc.  Parking?  Exiting Ann Arbor after?  Part of the deal, but does anybody enjoy that?  No thanks.

Atmosphere obviously goes to the stadium.  But there are times (MSU last year) when I've got a guy behind me lobbing a steady stream of f-bombs at every perceived injustice and it's irritating.  Don't have that at home. 


Personally, my 3 trips last year were too many for me.  I would never want season tickets.  I'd surely end up selling more than I used.


August 23rd, 2016 at 4:32 PM ^

I really don't get the whole "comfort" reasoning people give.  It's almost like saying I prefer laying in my bed over riding the Millenium Force because the Force isn't as comfortable.  I mean, of course, but the experiences are totally different.

Do you really watch a game on TV and at the end say, "I had more fun doing that than I did when I went to the game last week"?  That's just hard for me to comprehend.


August 23rd, 2016 at 4:35 PM ^

For people over six feet tall, sitting at Michigan Stadium during a big game can definitely be a tight fit.  At last year's MSU game, people stood pretty much the whole second half but that wasn't a whole lot better.  It doesn't prevent me from going to the games (I'm 6'2") but I certainly would appreciate it if they widen the seats the next time they expand. 




August 23rd, 2016 at 4:38 PM ^

I fully get that -- I've been crammed into some ungodly packed student sections at Michigan Stadium.  It just boggles my mind that someone could wake up on a Saturday morning with greater excitement and anticipation to watch the game on TV than to go to the Stadium.  I'm sure people legitimately hold that view, it just baffles me.


August 23rd, 2016 at 5:14 PM ^

I think it's possible to understand the reasoning and also disagree. This only becomes a problem if someone decides that their opinion is prescriptive for everybody.

I love attending games. I used to attend every single one. The band, the atmosphere, the crowd, the field, the experience... it was great. I haven't been in a while and I long to go back, and I have attended both trips Michigan has made to Minnesota since I've lived here.

But not everybody has the same calculus. Yes, the in-game experience is fun, but for some people the discomfort really does become a factor. As does the money, which is not trivial. And the food. And the restrooms. And the home experience is much, much better now than it used to be with high definition and massive televisions (you can get a tv that's 40" or larger for $200 -- when I was going to games regularly a 40" tv was a dim projection monstrosity that could run into four figures. Now, for the cost of season tickets, someone can buy a 65" 4K television outright) that are in most homes. 

My mother fits into the comfort camp. She can enjoy attending a football game, but comfort matters for her, and she likes being able to pause the DVR to answer the phone or use the restroom. She sells most of her season tickets now. 

Someone can still care and still love the game and not attend. Not everybody can be satisfied with it, but it can happen. Michigan fandom is a big tent.


August 23rd, 2016 at 5:51 PM ^

There should be, of course, too many Michigan fans for all to get into the Stadium. The fanbase is stronger if there are a lot of fans watching on tv. And ratings suggest that this is the case.

I think the larger concern for Michigan and for college football in general is to find the correct balance between experience and hassle to keep that desire to see the game in person strong. There's been some serious signs of a bubble in the last few years. Of course, the big games still sell out, but even places with large and rabid fanbases like Florida are having trouble drawing fans to their less important games. Tennessee used to sell out every game, and then went years without ever doing so. 

Fans are leaving due to expense and hassle, watching on television, enjoying the extra time, and realizing that they aren't really missing that much. 

That's a danger. And Michigan was perilously close to a real cliff there in 2014. And I suspect that while ticket sales are strong now, another dip in quality will not meet with as much patience from ticket-buyers as previous ones have. The spell may have been broken.


August 23rd, 2016 at 6:07 PM ^

Yeah, we basically experienced a deus ex machina in the Harbaugh hiring (a top 5 NFL coach, who just happened to be a Michigan alumnus, inexplicably being shown the door by his clueless front office right when we needed him most) that may have saved us from a return to the pre-Bo era in terms of stadium attendance.  


Pepto Bismol

August 23rd, 2016 at 6:30 PM ^

Specific example - the Joe Bolden targeting ejection vs. MSU.  I still have never seen him get blocked into Cook.  I take it from the billions of hot takes that he was and that it was a bad call.  I didn't see it because I had a terrible angle and the stadium didn't show a clear replay.  I missed that part of the game because I was in the stadium and not watching on TV.

That doesn't make or break either point, but I like to watch, analyze and obsess over every detail and I can do that better from home than I can in the stadium.


The stadium experience brings it's own postitives.  It's not like I hate going to the game, it's just a very large and expensive production and I don't need to do it 8 times a year.

Bringing back your Millenium Force analogy, are you going to Cedar Point 8 times this summer?  That's really what you're talking about, not riding one roller coaster.  

South Bend Wolverine

August 23rd, 2016 at 4:47 PM ^

This is a perfect example of the kind of reasoning that boggles my mind.  If what you're looking for in a Michigan football experience is comfort and the best view, then yes, obviously watching at home has advantages.

But that's just it, it's not that we have evaluated the criteria differently, and come to different conclusions.  It's that we're using totally different criteria.  What I am looking for is a chance to participate in something bigger than myself, to be in the presence of the game, the team, and the tribe that I have loved longer than I can remember.  Compared to that, a couch just doesn't enter the discussion.

Now does this make me crazy?  Yes, I fully acknowledge that my quasi-mystical attitude towards playing & watching sports is kinda nuts.  I also don't mean to say that I'm a *better* fan because of it, just that I approach things differently.  But it is also the reason why I just cannot understand this reasoning at all.


August 23rd, 2016 at 7:06 PM ^

I fully agree that nothing beats seeing a Michigan game* live and in person.

*against a real opponent, in reasonably pleasant weather. A couch can never compare to walking down State Street and seeing The Game live on a crisp autumn afternoon. Not even close. But a sloppy rain-soaked game against a tomato can that requires a long drive through shit traffic on either end, with maybe an expensive hotel stay in there - I'll take the couch. Season ticket holders have to take the latter with the former, and the balance can certainly shift.

Actually, I wonder if the preponderance of 3:30 and night games is having an impact? Long drive home in the dark a possible turn-off?  


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:49 PM ^

Not close to Ann arbor (on the east coast) anymore, and many of my friends moved out-of-state after graduation. Maybe the fall of the local economy had a slight effect on tickets?


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

Semi-recent grad here. Try to make it to as many games as possible. Watching on TV doesn't do it justice.

That being said, it's too easy to get tickets on the secondary market for me to justify season tickets. I'd rather pay a little more for 50 yard line tickets to the games I go to then being stuck with terrible season tickets because of my low priority points.


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:51 PM ^

Because every game can be viewed on one of these

Image result for big screen tv


In the comfort of your own home while drinking some of these

Image result for bell's two hearted

And if you want to attend just about any game you desire there are always plenty of inexpensive seats available on the open market because of the sheer size of this


August 23rd, 2016 at 3:55 PM ^

There is also the consideration that the "waiting list" has often been a bit of a fiction created by Canham back in the day.  He simply designated less seats as "season ticket" seats, then sold all of those, which created a wait list.  Meanwhile he hustled to sell the rest of the game-by-game tickets, creating a mystique that SEASON tickets were a scarce commodity.  

"The hotest restaurant in town is always the one with the line out front."  

Some of this may have to do with a decision to restructure some things, reducing the impact of the false scarcity model that had previously been in place.   


August 23rd, 2016 at 4:09 PM ^

I agree with this take.  When we got our tickets last year my buddy called the ticket office and he was told that everyone that made the $150 donation was going to be offered tickets.  It makes sense to designate more seats as "season ticket" seats because they get the donations and the PSL's on top of the cost of the actual seats.  They make more money with this model simply by allocating more season ticket seats and selling less single game seats.

Wolverine Devotee

August 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 PM ^

Oh I could get season tickets for 2017 if I signed up soon?

Girding my loins. Season tickets and having a house in Ann Arbor is all I've ever wanted in life. Having 1/2 done (sort of, as I also want MBB, SB and  Hockey) at age 21 would be.........

Mr. Robot

August 23rd, 2016 at 4:14 PM ^

If you don't want to wait, as mentioned in your thread the other day, I still have an extra for this year I'd be happy to give you for face value.

One day I'll accept I'm alone forever and drop my extra seat, but it was not this day...

Also, good luck with that house. I'm doing pretty alright for myself and I still think it'll take me at least another 7 years to be able to afford one of those in this town.