Michigan Renovates Stadium Even With Bad Economy

via ESPN:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan made a lot of changes to the Big House, erecting luxury boxes and club seats in towering structures that loom along both sidelines as part of a $226 million renovation.

Tour of the newly renovated Michigan Football Stadium on July 14th, 2010. (MARISSA MCCLAIN/ Daily)

It also increased the seating capacity to 109,901 for this season — up about 2,000 — to reclaim the distinction from Penn State of having the largest football stadium in the country.

Athletic director Dave Brandon is already envisioning the iconic venue getting even bigger.

“We’re already looking at future expansion,” he said Wednesday after the media and public got a chance to tour the new-look stadium.

Brandon said the project — which started a day after the 2007 season ended — is on budget and on time. He said revenue generated by suites and club seats has already covered costs.

“It’s already a financial win,” he said.

But the school still has some selling to do before the opener Sept. 4 at home against Connecticut. Twenty of the 81 suites are available and about 80 percent of the 2,952 club seats haven’t been sold yet.

Brandon said he’s optimistic that giving people a chance to sit in comfy club seats and walk into posh suites — an opportunity they had for 14 hours Wednesday — will be great marketing that should boost sales.

Season-ticket holder Ken Close, a 60-year-old resident of Toledo, Ohio, took advantage of the public tour because he doesn’t expect to have the money or a friend rich enough to see the premium seats again.

“I think this is great,” Close said. “I know some traditionalists didn’t want to make these big changes, but I think they’re wonderful. We’ll make new memories here. You have to grow with the times.”

226 MILLION DOLLARS???? are you kidding me??? This must be a joke right? You know what this economy could do with that amount of money? Instead of helping out the world right now, sports stadiums are getting bigger and bigger or changing every other year. From looking at the new Yankee Stadium everyday that was 1 billion dollars to now this renovation on a college football game. This is outrageous and needs to be stopped because this money could be used for bigger and better things even academically than athletically. People need to manage their money better…

…It also increased the seating capacity to 109,901 for this season. That is a ton of people, probably more than the state of Rhode Island. That is way too many people to attend a game. Speaking of attendance, Twenty of the 81 suites are available and about 80 percent of the 2,952 club seats haven’t been sold yet for the September 4th opener against Connecticut. Who has the money to go to the game?? You can go watch it on TV for free in  a bar. Seriously, this is crazy. How do they expect to fill up the stadium September 4th…

…Here is the best part. Season-ticket holder Ken Close, a 60-year-old resident of Toledo, Ohio, took advantage of the public tour because he doesn’t expect to have the money or a friend rich enough to see the premium seats again. So he took out money, for one game he will go to in the renovated stadium? Wow. That is crazy. I understand that he has been a season ticket holder but it’s not worth the money and time if you can only go to one because they are so expensive. This really annoyed me because money in sports could be used for better things especially in college but obviously they are not and it is effecting everyone…

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