The Athletic Department, together with University officials and facilities planning staff, has been planning for many years for significant renovations to Michigan Stadium. The stadium, which is now nearly 80 years old, has become physically obsolete. It does not offer comforts and amenities for modern fans such as updated and sufficient restrooms; open concourse areas and wider aisles to accommodate crowd flow; appropriate seating for those with impaired mobility; updated and plentiful concessions; and enclosed seating areas to fulfill demand from fans and alumni who have expressed interest in these improvements.
On November 17, the U-M Board of Regents approved the schematic designs for the renovation of and additions to Michigan Stadium. The changes will improve the Michigan Stadium experience for every ticketholder.
We established five guiding principles that are used to measure every phase of the project. The renovations must:
Construction began at the end of the 2007 football season. The project will be phased to accommodate the 2008 and 2009 football seasons so that our home football games can continue to be played in Michigan Stadium. We anticipate the project will be completed by August 2010.
There are no plans to add advertising inside the stadium.
In developing the current renovation plans, Athletic Department staff conducted extensive research and financial planning, considering and rejecting numerous other alternatives that either did not meet the University’s goals as well as the recommended plan, or were not financially feasible. The renovation plan being pursued by the University has been thoughtfully developed in order to keep the Athletic Department competitive and improve the game-day experience for all fans without putting an additional financial burden on average ticketholders.
Michigan Stadium is a treasure. We have an important stewardship obligation to renew its infrastructure and bring it up to modern standards, so that fans can continue to enjoy the Michigan football game-day experience for decades to come. It would be irresponsible not to attend to these pressing needs.
In fact, since its construction by Fielding Yost in 1927, the Stadium has undergone many major changes and renovations. In 1949 it was expanded from 85,000 to 95,000 seats, and in 1956 it was renovated again to a capacity of more than 100,000. In 1957 the current press box was added. Each of these projects meant major changes to the appearance of the Stadium.
In 1998, more seats were added and the video scoreboards were put in place. Although controversial at the time, the video scoreboards subsequently were identified by fans in a 2002 ticketholder survey as one of the best additions to the Stadium. We believe we can undertake the next set of renovations in a manner that respects the character and tradition of this wonderful facility.
We do not plan to have any discarded materials available that would be suitable for public distribution. Before demolition of an area, we do work with qualified reuse centers to capture any usable fixtures, etc. Opening up this process to the general public would be beyond our available resources.
When the renovations are complete, fans will enjoy wider seats; wider aisles and more concourses, which will allow for better traffic flow in and out of the stadium; the addition of handrails along the aisles; a significant increase in the number and quality of restrooms; improved seating for persons with impaired mobility; and a greater number of concession stands that have been upgraded and modernized. Every fan will benefit from some aspect of the renovations.
Yes, the University will significantly increase the number and location of accessible seating for fans with impaired mobility. The new design adds an additional 72 accessible seats plus companion seats on the west side of the stadium. These seats will be covered and accessible through a new elevator. The east side of the stadium, the new design adds an additional 24 accessible outdoor club seats plus companion seats and 14 accessible inside club seats. In addition, there will be one accessible seat in every one of the suites. The total number of accessible seats will increase and the choice for location of accessible seating will now include both end zones and sideline seating.
Yes. The scoreboards are eight years old and upgrades are necessary to keep up with the current technology. The electronic scoreboard upgrade will convert the current incandescent bulb components to light-emitting diode (LED) technology. As a result, the new scoreboards will provide a more reliable and clear display.
The upgrade also will include a new electronic LED message board at the bottom of the scoreboard. The message board will allow display of additional statistics, out-of-town scores and traditional messages such as “Go Blue.” The current policy of no advertising in the Stadium will be continued.
No, there will not be any changes in the student section related to the renovation project.
One added benefit of the new structures will be an added home field advantage resulting from the increase in crowd noise inside the bowl. The new structures will better capture and direct the noise of our fans toward the field.
Building enclosed seating is the best economic model we have found to pay for the costs involved in a renovation project of this scope and scale. Our very conservative financial planning will support the renovations with the revenue generated by the new seating, without placing an additional burden on either the average ticketholder or on the University's general fund. And, once the costs of the renovations are recovered, revenue from the new seating will be available over the long run to support facilities upgrades and other costs for our 25 men's and women's varsity sports.
Priority will be granted according to the Priority Points program (see the Victors Club Priority Point Program webpage for more information). If you wish to express your interest in the new seating, please contact Joe Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-647-7842.
The current policy prohibiting alcohol in the Stadium will remain in place. There are no plans to change it.
Yes. A group can purchase a single suite. However, it is limited to three individuals or entities per each suite agreement to help with administration and customer service. The highest individual point total within the group will be used to determine availability and assign zone preferences and suite locations.
Yes. The stadium project creates a new opportunity to group tickets together. We seldom have large blocks of tickets available after renewals. Therefore, it is challenging to accommodate groups in a contiguous block within the existing stadium. The new seats offer a chance to assign adjacent seats for those requesting and qualifying for club or west side chairback seats. If you desire to sit with others applying for these seats, please note the "sit with" request. Your priority point totals will be averaged to determine your ranking for assignments.
No. Unlike with regular season tickets, the quantity of premium season tickets a donor can purchase is unlimited.
The current seating capacity of the stadium is 107,501. As part of the renovations, 83 suites and 3,200 club seats will be added. Other actions, such as widening seats and aisles and adding seating for mobility-impaired fans, will result in the loss of some seats. When renovations are complete, the capacity of the “Big House” will top 108,000.
Almost all seats in the bowl will be widened to some degree. Ticketholders will gain between a quarter of an inch and just over an inch in each seat, depending on where they sit. Seats along the sideline areas will gain the most width because of the shape of the bowl. When the project is completed, seat widths will range from just over 16 inches in the student section to just under 18 inches along the sidelines near the top of the bowl.
We have maintained individual game ticket inventory throughout the stadium. This inventory has not been converted into a season ticket locations to allow for flexibility when aisles are widened as part of the renovations. At this time, we do not have a seating manifest that shows the new configuration with wider aisles and seats, but our goal will be to maintain a comparable sight line for any season ticket holder whose location must be adjusted.
Modern stadiums serving 70,000 to 80,000 fans typically have two to three concourses with ramps, stairs, elevators, restrooms, first aid and concessions on each level. Michigan Stadium, serving more than 107,000 fans, currently has only one main concourse around the perimeter of the facility, with a smaller concourse embedded below the east stands.
The renovations to Michigan Stadium will allow for additional concourses on the east and west sideline, which will mean expanding the number of entry and exit points to the stadium and improving the traffic flow. Along with wider aisles and the addition of handrails, these changes will make it easier for fans to get in and out of the stadium quickly and safely.
No. We do not anticipate any changes with the PSP donations or as a result of the stadium renovation project. (For more information on the PSP, see the Preferred Seating Program webpage.)
The plan includes building two multi-story masonry structures on both the east and west sides of the stadium; the end zones will remain open. The west-side structure would include an elevated concourse, a new press box for media and game operations, new chair backs seats and private suites. The east side structure would include an expanded elevated concourse with new concessions and restrooms, additional indoor and outdoor club seating, and private suites. The plans also include circulation towers on both sides of the stadium.posted to this website.
A new press box will be built, addressing building codes and functionality. The current press box is over-crowded and outdated. It was designed in the 1950s and is in desperate need of modernization.
Major renovations will inevitably mean changes to the stadium's appearance. However, one of our guiding principles will be to respect the character and tradition of Michigan Stadium. We are confident we can work with the architects to develop a tasteful and respectful approach to the work.
The grandstand seating area will look the same and there will be a multi-story building on the east and west side, with the end zones remaining open. Although some seats will be lost as seats and aisles are widened, we have considerable flexibility inside the bowl and we do not anticipate that any current season ticketholders will lose their seats.
No. The new structure will be outside the existing stadium structure and will extend over to the current structure.
The addition will create an overhang that will cover approximately 3–4 rows of seats on the west side. On the east side, the notch is being in-filled with outdoor club seats and approximately 7–8 rows of club seats will be covered.
Fans in the top rows of the end zone will not be impacted by the new additions, the new additions will be behind them. The new additions along the sidelines will not impact the sightlines from the top rows of the end zones.
Q: Will the proposed design complicate or eliminate future expansion?
No, the new design does not compromise any potential expansion in the end zones. In fact, we have designed this project with coordinated architecture of an expansion in mind.
Yes, our plans call for the installation of lighting platforms on the top of the proposed sideline structures. It will be the responsibility of the TV networks to bring in temporary light racks for late afternoon games where lights are required.
No, the brick plazas will not be affected by the renovations.
The existing plaza areas will remain, but it is not anticipated that the brick program will be expanded. We will have a donation program to support the renovation project, but the donor recognition will not be on plaza pavers.posted to this website.
HNTB Architecture and Barton Malow are the principal consultants for the stadium renovations. We followed the same process in selecting these project partners that the University outlines for all other construction projects. HNTB has an excellent reputation for this type of project, having worked on stadium renovations with University of Illinois, University of Iowa, Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Purdue University. For more information about HNTB, see the HNTB website.
Yes. We recognize that Michigan Stadium is a facility that is much beloved by our many fans and community members. We already have conducted surveys and focus groups among our fans, and have received informal feedback as a result of our early communications about potential renovations. As our plans unfold, there will be many additional opportunities for the public to learn about the details, ask questions and give us feedback. Questions and comments about the renovations may be directed to email@example.com.
We have conducted extensive research over the past five years including several surveys of season ticketholders, work with expert consultants and benchmarking studies of peer institutions. This research has helped to validate the feasibility of the Stadium renovation project and demonstrated that U-M alumni, ticketholders and fans are interested in a renovated Michigan Stadium with improved and upgraded amenities. For more information on the fan survey, please read the press release.
Major renovations are underway or recently have been completed at seven other Big Ten football stadiums. Other universities that have already added enclosed seating include Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan State. All of us share the same challenges of aging facilities that require a significant investment to modernize them and make them usable into the future. Michigan also is one of the few schools among the top 25 leaders in football attendance that does not have enclosed seating.
The project budget is estimated at $226 million; those costs will be funded through private donations and Athletic Department resources, primarily the revenues generated by the new seating.
No, enclosed seating is not being added primarily in order to add operating revenue to the Athletic Department budget. The revenue from the addition of enclosed seating will pay for the cost of renovating the entire stadium. The project must be self-supporting because the University is not going to allocate general funds to pay for these renovations.
However, once the costs of the renovations are recovered, revenue from the new seating will be available over the long run to support facilities upgrades and other costs for our 25 men’s and women’s varsity sports.
Most of our major football competitors already have the benefit of the revenue that flows from building enclosed seating. Michigan is one of the few schools among the top 25 leaders in football attendance that does not have enclosed seating. Over time, this presents a competitive disadvantage to all our athletics programs. Once the costs of the renovation project are recovered, we will be able to use the revenue from the new seats to support additional investments in our 25 men’s and women’s varsity sports. This investment is essential if we are going to continue to compete at the top tier of collegiate athletics programs.
Our financial planning has been very conservative. From our extensive market research and detailed financial analysis, we are confident that the demand for the suites and club seats will be strong and that the project will be able to pay for itself through the new revenues that are generated.
Out of the total project cost of $226 million, we plan to cover $36 million from Athletic Department reserves and issue debt for the remaining $190 million. Our annual debt service is estimated to be about $12.4 million, with annual incremental revenues conservatively estimated at $12.8 million. However, these figures do not factor in any fundraising. To the extent that we receive support from our donors, that will reduce the amount of debt and will further reduce any financial risk.
No. The renovations as currently planned will not affect ticket prices for the average ticketholder. However, without the revenue from enclosed seating, the cost of the renovations would mean that ticket prices would have to be increased significantly. This was an important factor in making our decision
The Athletic Department considered many options for completing renovations to the stadium. We rejected a number of less ambitious models because they did not meet all our goals and/or contained considerable financial risk to the University. Some of the rejected options did not allow us to make the range of improvements desired to benefit all fans and fully address the stadium’s infrastructure needs. Other options would have required a large ticket surcharge for many years to come in order to be financially feasible. Although the final renovation plan is large and ambitious, it is less risky than a smaller project because it provides the best return on investment due to the added income streams from suites and club seats.
The Preferred Seating Program was essential to stabilize the Athletic Department's operating budget. Revenues raised from the PSP primarily support the cost of student scholarships and allow the department to set aside funds regularly for the maintenance and renewal of physical facilities. There is not sufficient revenue coming from the PSP to support a major renovation of Michigan Stadium.
The addition of another tier of seats would bring in only enough revenue to support the construction of those seats. It would not provide enough revenue to pay for the extensive renovations which are needed in the stadium.
Cutting costs and imposing strict controls on expenses were the first approaches the department took to address its financial challenges. However, many costs continue to rise including scholarship support for student athletes, salaries for coaches and staff, and the costs of deferred maintenance and necessary renewal of our aging facilities. In addition, the University community including our alumni and fans has made the strong commitment to support 25 varsity men's and women's sports at a national level of competition. The Preferred Seating Program allowed us to stabilize our operating budget and live up to this commitment.
(updated September 8, 2008)