The NEXT form of expansion at Michigan Stadium

Submitted by MichiganPhotoRod on August 25th, 2009 at 10:20 PM

As the Michigan Stadium expansion moves into the final third of the project, it got me wondering: aside from whether it will come precariously close to a saturation point - where more seats are produced than the demand for them -- what specifically do fans feel will be the next form of expansion at Michigan Stadium?

This season fans will see near-completed building exteriors. From inside the bowl, the bricks are in place and the glass installed, which will allow the crowd noise to be redirected toward the field, making Michigan Stadium a louder environment - something fans have been crying for for many years. Fans will also see how impressive, and more importantly, imposing, the structures are from the field.

Attending the recent Media Day events at Michigan Stadium, I stood on the field and looked up to the buildings. I have been on the field many times as a field photographer. Something I immediately noticed this day is a new feeling of being closed in, which will add to the imposing feeling for visiting teams, giving our team a dramatic increase in home field advantage. Also from this perspective, after processing the actual size and scale of these structures, especially with the towers rising high above to top of the bowl in the four corners, eyes are directed to the end zones to what now amounts to relative empty space.

Making note of these details from field level, a second deck expansion in each end zone would be a perfect complement to the new buildings. Believe me when I say a second deck would look incredibly menacing from the field! If you doubt me, give yourself an opportunity to stand at midfield. I defy you to come up with a wholly different outcome. As for an expansion of this kind, I would estimate that this could provide an additional 20,000 seats. Imagine a capacity of 128,001. Now THAT is a BIG HOUSE!



August 25th, 2009 at 10:28 PM ^

A couple things.

1) I would LOVE to see another deck for numerous reasons. The obvious huge capacity would be incredible, the noise would be downright terrifying, etc. The problem is, I don't know where another 20,000 people would park, how they would get that approved by a fire marshal, yada yada. I don't know the rules, but it seems like it could be a logistical nightmare.

2) I think it would be great to get some bigger/better scoreboards. I'd like to see a monstrous HD videoboard in each endzone. I want to see each and every drop of spittle forced from the Buckeye QB when he gets pounded into the ground. I want to see the look of fear in a Spartan defender's eyes when he realizes there's a ninja quarterback coming right at him.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:29 PM ^

I actually agree with you about the 2nd deck in the endzones. It would work and it would be imposing as all get out and make it even louder. I only wonder if you could get 128,001 in a stadium for Michigan vs. Delaware St.

I may have no idea where I got this but I heard that the stadium was built to someday hold a capacity of around 200,000.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:32 PM ^

I think a second deck would have many more than 20k seats. It already looks bad enough when we play any team not OSU/PSU with either empty seats or an rather large contingent of road fans (such as games against [TEAM REDACTED]). Seeing another potentially empty section or sections worth would be pretty crappy.

I'm on board with Maize N Brew that we need to install a cloverfieldatron sized high def screen on one of the endzones.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:47 PM ^

I think a cool design would be having two HUGE scoreboards on both sides and put the upper deck around them. Basically, you would get four upper deck pieces. I think it could be a cool design. I don't really care about the design, though, if we could get an upper deck in and constantly have an at least 90% full stadium. I'm not sure if it would be filled, though. Possibly make the student section larger? They may have to lower ticket prices at that point if it isn't looking like the seating is filled. Or, they can add to what they did this time by making seats larger. They could throw in recliners in every seat. You need to have room for full recline, though.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:34 PM ^

There was a lot of fuss about the current expansion, and of course, not all of it positive, it may take a while before people warm up to the idea of expanding the stadium further. Also - scoreboards? Wouldn't they have to be moved? Personally I think the only thing needed for the stadium are larger screens at either end. Texas' massive screen aka "Godzillatron" is just crazy, but UM stadium's are a bit small in my opinion.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:38 PM ^

I actually have seen the Texas one ... it is cool at first but it is a bit out of control. I would take two more like the one they just put in Minnesota. Actually, just anything to update the technology and at least double the surface area.


August 25th, 2009 at 11:34 PM ^

Texas' Godzillatron is nice, but you have to factor in that they often put in temporary bleacher seats under the screen. Aside from that, you are mainly looking at empty space in the end zone. I think the temporary bleacher seats about 10,000, and there are future plans to completely enclose the stadium, which could be around 120,000 seats. Texas A&M wants to do the same, but I don't remember how many seats they want too.

If there was a huge HD screen at Michigan stadium with 90 rows of people in front of it, it will be intimidating because the screen would be above the stadium like a 100 foot monster looking down on you. Someone needs to make a huge donation to Michigan for the purpose of creating the largest HD screen in college football...or 2 for the other end zone.


August 25th, 2009 at 11:53 PM ^

The endzone seating is just the band IIRC. The area behind Godzillatron is either a suite or AD type office on top with locker rooms below it.

They too can't fill their stadium for many games. With the OU game not played there, the only games they sell out are TAMU and Tech games. The rest looks like this:

That silver is empty seats on the home side in the 3rd quarter against Baylor.

TAMU on the other hand is looking to close out the last corner without seats with anywhere from 114,000 to 140,000 total. Before the teams current losing ways, I'd say they'd fill it up even against the crappiest of crap teams. Now, I'm not so sure.

cooler 517

August 25th, 2009 at 10:36 PM ^

I would love to see them move the student section from the corner, to the first 15 - 20 rows all the way around field. That would increase the noise tremendously! Can you imagine all of the "down in front" screaming, coming from the rest of the stadium?


August 25th, 2009 at 10:50 PM ^

it's a pretty cool idea. You'd be able to see a solid gold ring around the whole bottom of the stadium. It could only help spread the noise, too. People would probably feel more comfortable going crazy and making noise if there are 10 or more rows in front of you making a ton of noise anyways. The radio geezers would have absolutely no chance to keep you down.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:53 PM ^

I'd love for that to happen.

Speaking of Radio Geezers, do those things actually work? Never tried one, but I'd be interested if they're actually pretty good (in about 40 years, when I can't stand up and only have the energy to yell at whippersnappers and their standing habits).


August 26th, 2009 at 6:55 AM ^

Yes the work - I got a free one a couple of years ago.

I also have brought an MP3 Player with an FM radio.
It really is interesting to get Beckmans reactions about 4 seconds after the play ends - time delay.

But in any case when the action is at the other end the radio helps keep you on top of the details.

I usually get end zone seats where you can see the entire field - In my opinion better than 50 yard line seat where you can only see the action between the 40's real easily.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:57 PM ^

That actually would be a great idea to get the noice level higher (not to mention the students and super fans closer to the action), however imagine the money loss the school would go through having to give up those close, expensive seats to the student section. In a perfect world perhaps...

Tully Mars

August 25th, 2009 at 11:05 PM ^

I know they charge a lot for the seats, but the first 15-20 rows aren't that great because you are too close to the action. Rows 30-40 are the best in my opinion because you can actually see the whole field much easier. If they could convince the non-student season ticket holders of that, then I think moving the students into the lower ring would be great!


August 26th, 2009 at 12:49 AM ^

You could achieve this with out upsetting the old farts. There is a decent amount of height between the field and the first level of benches. If they lowered the first fifteen rows so that standing in row 15 would be equal to the old sitting height...Bam... No old folks yelling down in front... and 15 rows or crazy yelling students.

You could also make a break between the 40's for regulars, who want to pay more to be on top of the action and stand and yell with students.

Also, I dont mind the score boards in place now...they just need to blow the front of them off...turn it into a large LCD and make it be able to display stats and do full screen video on replays.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:38 PM ^

Bill Martin said that this construction left the endzone's open for more expansion in the future if necessary. I think it would be sweet to add a second deck just to the end zones. That would be sweet.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:38 PM ^

I've been thinking the exact same thing ever since I saw the plans for the stadium: one or both end-zones filled in with a double deck. Preferably both, I like symmetry and we now have that going more than ever.

Being down on the field, looking up and being closed in on all sides by over 120k people who all want nothing more than for you to fail at what it is you've set out to do... yikes.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:39 PM ^

I'd want to do it because of that old son of a bitch that yelled at me every game last year. I'll up bang you too. I feel like an upbang whore right now, giving it to everyone.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:45 PM ^

They're going to build the seats up in the end zones till they come out as far as the new additions.

Boring, but that makes the most sense from a pack the seats in standpoint.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:47 PM ^

120,000+ sounds awesome. I wonder what the saturation point is. That's probably another thread unto itself. I suspect the parking would work itself out if they were to add additional seating. I've always appreciated the symmetry of the stadium (which has of course actually improved with the expansion), and while I'd be willing to sacrifice that if necessary to add capacity (I'm neither an architect nor an engineer but there's a lot more room on the North side of the stadium versus the South side for expansion), I'd prefer that they maintain the stadium's symmetry with any further expansion. I join the chorus on upgrading the scoreboards as the next project to tackle.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:56 PM ^

Supposedly, Yost had the original metal footings built strong enough to support 140,000 seats. (BTW, he did this at a time when Ann Arbor had 30,000 people - talk about forward-thinking.) Whether that's actually the case, I don't know, but architects could probably figure a way to add the seats on somehow. The bigger issue revolves around demand. One upper deck endzone might be feasible, but I don't know if two are.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:55 PM ^

The only thing about adding more seating is that I don't want upper and lower bowls to develop. One of the things I like about the Big House is that it's one continuous bowl rather than being divided. That might not be the best way to keep sound in, but I'd deal with that.

The only way that I could deal with a second bowl is if the seats were on top of the new skyboxes. I feel like that wouldn't look like a second bowl but instead look more like a continuation of the "[pseudo] lower bowl".

And I of course echo the other statements that we need some Godzillatrons on each side of the stadium.


August 25th, 2009 at 11:29 PM ^

When talking saturation, take into account that the estimated waiting list for tickets is 10,000 for this year. Since every game sells out anyway I think you can safely add 15k and be able to fill the stands. And if it doesn't work we could always bring in Nickelback for halftime shows(brah?) to fill the seats. As far as parking, as soon as U-M finishes buying the rest of Ann Arbor I don't think that will be a problem.…


August 26th, 2009 at 12:00 AM ^

That second deck would be very far from the field. The stadium is such a shallow bowl that a second deck would put the fans so far horizontally away from the field. I guess if they actually built it to hang over the current seats it could solve that problem, but would then create many more.


August 26th, 2009 at 12:04 AM ^

I want to install an electromagnet in the turf and plant magnetic strips in OSU footballs. Next step would be to turn the magnet on while pass is in the air for a brief second and watch it fall faster to the ground.