October 5th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

It's not Yost, but it's about the best they could do otherwise. Guaranteeing that they get to play in the state is a pretty good situation.


October 5th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

The Joe hosted 2 regionals in the early '90s.  They are not even a tiny bit interested in hosting another one, and I assume the same is true for The Palace.  The fact that the NCAA bans alcohol sales and in-arena alcohol advertising means that they are doing it for ticket money only, and the NCAA takes their cut of that.  I think it's a money-loser unless they have a big attraction like Michigan or MSU, and the NCAA of course can't guarantee that any particular team will make the tournament.

It's really an event more appropriate for 8,000-12,000 seat arenas, not 18,000-22,000 seat arenas like The Palace and the Joe.



October 5th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

It might be a good sign, though, that the regional hosts were only announced for 2013.  It's too late to change the format for the 2012/13 season (budgets would have to be submitted to the NCAA Championships Committee by September 2011 for any format change).  The fact that they are only announcing hosts 1 year in advance could easily mean that they are working out a new format for the 2014 season.  I think the hosts used to be announced 2-3 years in advance.



October 5th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

Toledo is hosting the Midwest Regional.  Toledo, half as far away from Ann Arbor as Grand Rapids.  And because Michigan is the host, if they make the tournament, they are required to play at Grand Rapids.

Bando Calrissian

October 5th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

In all reality, with off-campus regional sites the model the NCAA is adhering to, who "hosts" a regional means just about nothing.  The NCAA will still tightly control everything about the venue, from how it looks to every little detail of the in-game atmosphere.  There won't be anything Michigan about it, as the NCAA sees off-campus regional sites as a completely team-neutral, "fair" arenas almost entirely devoid of the character of college athletics.  With prohibitively expensive ticket prices and far-away schools that will all but ensure mostly empty seats.

Just about the only things that will tip you off that Michigan is the host will be our PA announcer, maybe an M logo here and there, and Michigan being automatically placed in that region.  


October 5th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

Yes, the arena will be sterile.  But there are still advantages.

The fact that Michigan is automatically placed in the region is an advantage.  It guarantees easier travel for the team (not having to make last-minute arrangements), it means fans can start buying tickets as soon as they go on sale rather than waiting until the pairings are announced, and it means that the NCAA can't make Michigan play New Hampshire in New Hampshire, or play North Dakota in North Dakota, or play Denver in Denver, etc.

So next year, as soon as we are comfortable that Michigan will make the NCAA tournament, we can buy tickets to the Grand Rapids regional and fill it up with Michigan fans.  The other 3 teams in the regional will have to wait until the Sunday before the regionals when the pairings come out.  That's a pretty big deal.


October 5th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

It may be a 2 hour drive, but I'm willing to bet that unless the other 3 teams are also local, that 95% of the arena will be Michigan fans as well as having it actually full too

Bando Calrissian

October 5th, 2011 at 2:33 PM ^

It wasn't necessarily that way the last time Michigan played out there in 2005.

Friday vs. Wisconsin, attendance 6312.

Saturday vs. Colorado College, attendance 6571.

Van Andel holds a little over 10,000 for hockey.  The regional was New Hampshire (1), Michigan (2), Wisconsin (3), and Colgate (4), meaning two big regional draws and two non-starters.

NCAA regional attendance figures are always a bit inflated (especially for the first day) due to the fact that many fans only go to their team's game, and many subsequently eat their tickets for day 2 and just go home if their team loses.  Thus, we're talking probably about half capacity, maybe a little more, for both of those games.  That's actually on the high end for many neutral-site regionals.

We'd like to think Michigan can sell out the arena, but with the prohibitively high cost of tickets for the weekend and the travel, there's no reason to believe it will happen.  Which is why the NCAA's insistence on neutral-site locations that are a long drive or flight for all four teams involved in a regional weekend is utter stupidity.