by Chris Licata
They are the classics, relics of a bygone era. Made for a time before luxury boxes and preferred seating, where the key to making money was packing as many fans into the stadium as possible. Simply put they are huge.
The stadiums of the Universities of Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State and Penn State all have one thing in common: they are capable of seating over 100,000 screaming football fans every Saturday – and they routinely do. However, each stadium is different in its own respect and to group them all together would be a disservice to their individual legacies.
Over the next month, www.TicketNews.com is going to take a fresh look at each of these famous stadiums and all that they have to offer.
What better place to start our trip than “The Big House,” Michigan Stadium. Built in 1927, no other stadium in Division 1A football can claim to have had a former President of The United States run out onto their field. The late Gerald Ford was the starting center and linebacker of the Michigan Wolverines, Ford helped lead the team to the 1932 and 1933 National Championships. Ford’s jersey number 48 was retired by the university in 1994. . .
At 107,501 people, Michigan Stadium just edges Penn State’s Beaver Stadium as the largest in the country. Its fan base is rabid as the Wolverines have sported total attendance figures of over 770,000 per year each consistently and have led the NCAA in attendance nearly every year since 1974 – the sole exception ironically enough being 1997.
The home crowd has propelled the Wolverines to five national championships since the team moved into the stadium in 1927, but have provided countless other classic moments – most notably against Ohio State. Rivals almost as old as the game itself, Michigan-Ohio State is routinely considered to be the game of the year in college football.
Few rivalries can compete with this game, which is so big that it requires no catchy nickname like “The Iron Bowl,” “The Backyard Brawl” or “The Big Game.” No, Michigan and Ohio State is simply known as “Michigan vs. Ohio State.” The two teams have met 103 times over the years, with Michigan holding an all-time series lead of 57-40 with six ties.
In 2000, ESPN called the rivalry the best in North America and last year it lived up to the build as for the first time in the rivalries history, the two teams came in ranked No.1 and No. 2.
Recently it was announced that Michigan Stadium will be undergoing a renovation project beginning in 2007. This project will attempt to bring “The Big House” into the 21st stadium by adding 83 suites and 3,200 club seats, all without compromising the size of the venue. According to the renovation projects web site, the construction will eventually give the stadium a maximum capacity of over 108,000 fans.
Despite the gargantuan-sized stadium, tickets for the “Big House” are still some of the hottest in the nation. Many second-hand ticket brokerage web sites such as Ticketliquidator.com have tickets available that range in price from $71-$264 – and that’s just for opening day seats against Division 1AA Appalachian State University.
As the Wolverines prepare for another run at both the Big 10 and National Championship titles, you can bet that every one of the 107,501 seats at Michigan Stadium will be rocking every Saturday.