Michigan the national attendance leader for 45th time in last 47 years

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on December 6th, 2018 at 10:57 AM

The top-8 in national attendance. 

Michigan has led the nation in attendance in 45 of the last 47 college football seasons. 

1997 and 2014 were the lone exceptions. Michigan was also the only team to average capacity in 2018.



Wolverine Devotee

December 6th, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

We were 2nd in 1997 behind Tennessee by just 90 persons. They had only 6 home games while we had 7 that year.

2014, as you know, was basically a civil war between fans and the athletic department. Walk outs were planned on this here site for the PSU game, white out Dave out was planned for Indiana but he was canned the day before. Home schedule was really bad too which led to us being 3rd in the nation behind OSU and Texas A&M with an average of 104,909 per game and only 95.5% full.

Save 2014, The Big House has averaged being filled to capacity every season since 1976.

The highest % full oddly enough was 1997 with 103.9%.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

1997 isn't odd to me. Tennessee had just completed its full upper deck and had a very good team (Peyton's senior year, natch) and Michigan was just not big enough to beat them in attendance. But it was, of course, a great year for Michigan football, with Gameday on site twice, home games against Colorado and ND and OSU, and incredible press demand for a team gunning for a Heisman and a national title.

Of course, Tom Goss then initiated the expansion (and, regrettably, the halo) after the season and Tennessee never sniffed the title again.

Though it feels like it, Michigan hasn't always had the biggest stadium. The Rose Bowl was bigger for a long time, until they chopped out the corners to host the World Cup in 1994. Then there was Tennessee for a cup of coffee. 

Michigan Stadium isn't great and notable just because of its capacity. Note the capacity percentages on that list--even Alabama isn't at 100%. Michigan Stadium is the Big House because of the fans as much as any other factor.


December 6th, 2018 at 11:03 AM ^

People overreacting to one loss and the rise of our basketball program have been asking "is Michigan a basketball school now?"


As long as we have numbers like this, we are not just a football school, but THE football school.


December 6th, 2018 at 12:50 PM ^

For folks who only consume M sports through a screen (because we are most likely out of town) the two sports are pretty close in popularity for us mentally.  In fact, for those of us in the DC area we get more good basketball here (B1G tourney in 2017 and I think NCAAs here in 2019 (a 1 seed UM team could start here potentially)).


December 6th, 2018 at 11:10 AM ^

i’d be willing to guess that every school uses a number which accounts for everyone else in the stadium and not just ticket scans. 

these last few years i don’t have any doubt that we led the nation in attendance; the rr/late hoke years are a totally different story - those numbers must’ve been fake as hell


December 6th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

This has always been a complaint, but Michigan does the same thing every other school does - follow NCAA guidance on how to count attendance.  They use the number of tickets sold, the number of credentialed media and guests, and include a number for band members and cheerleaders (which, I believe, is a set figure for all schools).

They don't rely on game day scans showing exactly how many people are in actual seats that day.  No school does that...

True Blue Grit

December 6th, 2018 at 12:55 PM ^

Correct, these numbers are misreported as "attendance".  According to the WSJ article earlier in the year I think, Michigan's actual % of scanned tickets was around 80%  - which was good compared to many other schools.   These numbers are really tickets sold/distributed plus some allowance for others in the stadium (band, workers, staff, etc.)


December 6th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

Frankly, I'm impressed with the fan endurance of Tennessee considering they've been bad for a decade now. They've gotta be on Fandom Endurance Badge XVI or something by now


December 6th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

Seems like we should be able to get up to at least 105% based on the number of empty seats that I see even when they announce a number like 110,000 at the game.  It would be more honest if this was called "tickets sold" rather than "Attendance".

Mr Grainger

December 6th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

Others can say what they want about Michigan fans being "arrogant" or "entitled." One thing they can't say is that we don't show up to support our team!




December 6th, 2018 at 1:15 PM ^

Using data from Wikipedia, I compared the average home attendance of the teams we played away this year (without UM) to the attendance when UM came to visit.  Fill the Stadium! (except in NJ where we hope everyone watches on cable I guess)

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 1.12.50 PM.png

ND was not included because they lamely list all their games at the stadium capacity of 77,622.  On the B1G site, they list the UM at ND attendance as 80795 but other sources just say 77,622 for all of their games (including UM)