Stadium not filled to capacity for first time since 2001

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on September 16th, 2013 at 8:13 AM

According to MVictors, Saturday was the first time since 2001 against illinois (107,085) that Michigan Stadium was not filled to capacity. 

The attendance was 107,120. 2,781 seats not filled. Yikes.

EDIT: Changed the title. Sellout wasn't the right word to use.

Comments

Alton

September 16th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

The NCAA Football method of counting attendance includes all tickets sold, whether used or not (plus everybody else allowed to be in the stadium).  So no-shows have no effect on attendance.

Just wait until next year; I think it would be pretty safe to predict that we end our 100K streak some time in 2014.

pkatz

September 16th, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

we'd have to be god-awful for that streak to stop, and we were just that during the RR era and still kept the streak alive.  Yes, the 2014 home schedule sucks, but we should be a good team and will fill seats.

Alton

September 16th, 2013 at 10:16 AM ^

Michigan is very very good this year compared with a few years ago, but interest in seats is crashing.  There are many factors in ticket sales beyond Michigan's quality. 

Of course a top team will sell more tickets, but, as we saw a couple of days ago, not that many more tickets.  Demand is of course a function of many things (price, team quality, opponent quality, perceived scarcity, the "atmosphere" in the stadium, etc.) 

You said it yourself:  Michigan always managed to sell all of its seats for the last decade, despite a majority of the Michigan teams in that decade being uninspiring at best and awful at worst.  And now, with possibly the most optimistic outlook of the last decade, ticket sales are going down.  They literally couldn't give away seats to this game. 

Even though Michigan is going to be really, really good next year, there are probably going to be even fewer people wanting season tickets (assuming no change to the price structure) and definitely fewer people wanting single game tickets.

Alton

September 16th, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

I'm not saying attendance has crashed (yet), but in my experience (judging by many different things) the demand for tickets is way down, and I think this is a leading indicator of ticket sales in the near future.  It's an impression, rather than something that can be measured.  The evidence, though, is all around.

There was a game just now that didn't sell out.  The waiting list is gone.  Massive blocks of empty seats existed even where tickets had been sold.  Scalpers are much more scarce around the stadium.  The top end of next year's schedule will be historically bad:  there will probably not be a single top-25 team coming to the stadium (unless you count the top 25 of FCS, and even that's questionable now).  Other teams nationwide, even those with fanbases who have a reputation for loyalty, are struggling to sell their last several thousand seats.

All of this points to a change in attendance over the next few years.  I hope I'm wrong, though.

jmblue

September 16th, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

There was a game just now that didn't sell out. The waiting list is gone.

Two separate issues. The number of season tickets is capped about 95,000, if I'm not mistaken.  I don't think the number of season-ticket holders is down.  As for whether there's still a waiting list, I'm not sure, but that's not what was at play here.

When games don't sell out, it's because the remaining 14,000 or so seats, which are sold as individual tickets, didn't sell out. About half of them are the visiting team's allotment. A non-sellout usually happens when the visitor doesn't move its allotment and has to return the unsold tickets to Michigan, which then puts them on sale at the last minute.

Alton

September 16th, 2013 at 1:19 PM ^

Yes, that's the point:  they are separate issues.  My point is that there are several separate issues, all of which show that people are now less likely to want to purchase tickets than they were 10 or 20 years ago, and that these are bad signs for what is ahead.

As for your second paragraph, I don't think this was a "returned allotment" issue this time; it appeared to be a failure to sell the tickets that Michigan kept.  Since the blocks of empty (non-student) seats were in the single-game-ticket sections in the north end and northwest corner, rather than the visitors allocation in the south end and the southeast corner, it appears that Michigan, not Akron, is the institution that failed to sell its allotment for the game.

Bosch

September 16th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

....for tickets has jumped about $10 since RR also.  I believe the face value for Akron was $75.  They will be at least $75 for Appalachian State and Miami of Ohio next year.

There are no attractive games to bait potential buyers with package deals.  Market value will be less then printed face.  I won't be surprised in the least if these games don't sell out.  Appalachian State most likely will since it is the first game but Miami is going to be a tough sell, especially if Michigan loses to Notre Dame or worse.... 

RakeFight

September 16th, 2013 at 8:55 AM ^

^^^this too.  There is a group of guys that we used to tailgate with and who used to sit in the row behind us for at least 15 years.  These four guys did not get season tickets this year because they were priced out of the market between the "seat fees" and the ticket prices.  And this is just one example in that huge stadium... I think it took it's impact.

jmblue

September 16th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Come on, it would be naive to assume that people on internet message boards don't generally follow the lead of the administrators.  Would people care about the Muppets and pictures of kittens if Brian didn't make it "okay" to do so?

Brian has likewise made it acceptable to criticize Brandon, whereas on other Michigan boards it's much less so.  I don't know if I fully understand Brian's issue with Brandon.  It seems like he's been mad at him since the coaching change, but he claims to have gotten over it, so now I guess his beef is over . . . stadium music?  Merchandising?  I agree that some of those things are a little annoying, but I see them as pretty trivial issues to get worked up about.  What I want from the AD is to make good hires and give them the support they need, and Brandon has done this.  I can understand people being upset about ticket prices, but that's a pretty general gripe across the country nowadays.  We pay a lot at Michigan, but we do get a lot - we're very good in a lot of sports.

jabberwock

September 16th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

 about muppet & kitten pictures?  Who knows, but it doesn't alter my general opinion of childres's charaters or felines.  They're just funny memes, not high powered executives with influence over billions of dollars and the stewardship of over a hundred years of tradition that hundreds of thousands of people are passionate about.

Of course he's made it acceptable to criticize Brandon.  Just like he's made it acceptable to discuss any relevant topic that interests him.  I would include Denard's smile, Blimpy Burger, and the problems inherent in not recruiting a QB every year.  So what?

The people that happen to agree with some or all of Brian's views on Dave Brandon include:

1.  The people who happen to have always shared some or all of those views.
2.  People who may have been genuinely informed/persuaded by the discussions/articles about the Michigan athletic department featured on this blog.
3.  People who don't know any better but follow the lead of the administrators.

If your main argument when faced with a difference of opinion is "people are sheep", you're not going to be very successful.

I share SOME of the more negative views about Dave Brandon as it appears Brian does,
but usually, about all you're afforded on this site is a thumb up/down response; it's not particularly geared towards nuance unless you really feel like a tldr diary post.

Bosch

September 16th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

average ticket prices in the country.... factor in attendence and we are probably top two for gate receipts, if not the highest. 

There used to be a time when it was feasible for a family of 4 to go see a game.  The cheapest face value for a ticket this year is $75.  Middle class America is getting the squeeze and for what?  So David Brandon can upgrade every single facility on the athletic campus?  I can't laud him for that..... and Brian's opinion has nothing to do with my own.

 

 

Section 1

September 16th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

Brian Cook has offered some scathing, well-considered criticism of Dave Brandon, on a very few issues.  I think Brian is right on just about all of them.

For my part, I don't spend all my waking hours thinking of ways to criticize Brandon; I think he's done a very good job on balance.

But like Brian, I have my own criticisms of Brandon.  I'm a donor to the Athletic Department because I like to watch football games in the fall.  Not because I am a fan of women's field hockey or vollyeball.  I am tired of paying more and more and more for football, and having the game day experience degraded in terms of parking and other amenities.  My PSD went up a whopping 20% this year, to $2400.  For that, and also the privilege of then paying $70-$90 dollars for Central Michigan, Akron, etc. -- and having done so for more than a decade -- I'd expect a decent parking place seven Saturdays a year.

BlueCE

September 16th, 2013 at 12:22 PM ^

Yes, I agree with you... Though I like all Michigan sports I really care about only the mayor ones.  Title IX, the arms race by atheltic department, etc, leave very few options if you want to have to remain competitive other than raising prices where people are willing to pay.  And yes, I do think we are reaching the max that people are willing to pay but overall the image and quality of the program has greatly improved since Brandon came in.

stephenrjking

September 16th, 2013 at 11:21 AM ^

People are making the mistake of placing sole blame on Brandon when he is in fact only one player in a larger landscape of a maxed-out sports revenue bubble.

These issues are happening everywhere in college football, and everywhere in other sports as well. The upper limits of fan buying power has been reached, and at the same time the experience of watching at home is better than ever.

Passionate fanbases like Florida are seeing the same thing.

I find the choice many are making to give up tickets disappointing but completely rational. Unfortunately, it means that games like Akron will not be sellouts.

mgobaran

September 16th, 2013 at 8:20 AM ^

This is what happens when the crowd doesn't go to the game. I don't care who they are playing. These kids are 18-23 years old. They are coming off a huge emotional win, and when the balls kicked off, the crowd is under 100k. It definitely is one of the reasons that the game was so close. 

zguy517

September 16th, 2013 at 8:27 AM ^

The crowd number had absolutely nothing to do with the students, the student tickets were already sold and dont affect the number at all.  Its the old timers that didnt show that avoids the sell out.

EDIT: Nevermind I think you might have been referencing the players when you said 18-23 yr old kids on second look.

Section 1

September 16th, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

First; the student turnout was pathetic.  Yes, all of the student season ticket purchases guaranteed a 100,000+ count.  Technically, you got that part right.  Of course, that would have happened, whether the students all stayed at the corner of Hill and State all afternoon, or not.

The "old timers" who also bought season tickets mostly showed up.  If, that is, we are defining "old timers" as alums and other donors who are regular, long-time season ticket holders.  That demographic is not, and never has been, a problem.  That demo is the biggest and most reliable source of funding for the Athletic Department.

Second; as for the members of the public, who did not purchase the remaining single-game tickets for Akron; I don't know how "old timers" is a worthwhile descriptive for them.  Why would any smart member of the public (young or old) buy a $75 ticket for a seat in Section 33 (endzone) from Dave Brandon, when he could buy a scalper ticket for $20 in Section 22 (Michigan bench)?  That pricing is reflective of the market, which is in turn reflective of the nature of Michigan's schedule/demand and the relative availability of tickets.

Your "old timers" were the people who paid the most for Akron, whether they liked it or not, and who turned out in the greatest numbers, start to finish, for the game.

JMac

September 16th, 2013 at 8:33 PM ^

Did anybody really find out how much tickets were going for outside the stadium?  I'd love to know.  Haven't been to a game for a while but I could pay for gas and expenses with a "sure thing" discounted ticket.  I know I sound a little pathetic but things are tight around my house.

NRK

September 17th, 2013 at 12:21 AM ^

Had 2 extra, couldn't sell them together (pathetically), all scalpels were trying to dump.

Mostly $20 for tickets, I sold a single for $10 as I was walking in, because 10 > 0

mgobaran

September 16th, 2013 at 3:11 PM ^

Well partially. But really everyone who didn't show.

The "18-23 year olds" was referencing the players. Coming off a huge game like they did, from the atmosphere last weekend, then to walk out of the tunnel and look into those stands has to take the life out of the kids. The student section was deplorable at the beginning of the game. And those are the players' peers. Those are the people the players go see after the game. It has to hurt a little that they sacrifice themselves on the field for the fans, and their own friends don't care enough to show up.