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Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium
"The Big House"
Michigan Stadium on September 17, 2011
Location 1201 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-3722
Owner University of Michigan
Operator University of Michigan
Capacity 72,000 (1927)
85,752 (1928–1948)
97,239 (1949–1954)
101,001 (1955–1972)
101,701 (1973–1991)
102,501 (1992–1997)
107,501 (1998–2007)
106,201 (2008–2009)
109,901 (2010–2015)
107,601 (2015–present)[1]
Record attendance 115,109 (September 7, 2013)
Surface FieldTurf (2003–present)
Natural grass (1991–2002)
Artificial turf (1969–1990)
Natural grass (1927–1968)
Broke ground September 12, 1926[2]
Opened October 1, 1927[3]
Renovated 2010
Expanded 1928, 1949, 1955, 1992, 1998, 2010
Construction cost $950,000
($12.9 million in 2016 dollars[4])

$226 Million (2010 Stadium Renovation)
Architect Bernard L. Green
HNTB (2010 expansion)
General contractor James Leck Company[5]
Michigan Wolverines football (NCAA) (1927–present)
Michigan Wolverines field hockey (NCAA) (1973-1975)
Michigan Wolverines men's lacrosse (NCAA) (2012-present)
Michigan Wolverines women's lacrosse (NCAA) (2014-present)

Michigan Stadium, nicknamed "The Big House",[6] is the football stadium for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is the largest stadium in the United States, the second largest stadium in the world and the 34th largest sports venue.[7] Its official capacity is 107,601,[8] but it can host crowds in excess of 115,000.

Michigan Stadium was built in 1927 at a cost of $950,000 and had an original capacity of 72,000. Prior to the stadium's construction, the Wolverines played football at Ferry Field. Every home game since November 8, 1975 has drawn a crowd in excess of 100,000, an active streak of more than 200 contests.[9] On September 7, 2013 the game between Michigan and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish attracted a crowd of 115,109, a record attendance for a college football game since 1927, and an NCAA single-game attendance record,[10] overtaking the 114,804 record set two years previously for the same match up.

Michigan Stadium was designed with footings to allow the stadium's capacity to be expanded beyond 100,000. Fielding Yost envisioned a day where 150,000 seats would be needed.[11] To keep construction costs low at the time, the decision was made to build a smaller stadium than Yost envisioned but to include the footings for future expansion.[11]

Michigan Stadium is used for the University of Michigan's main graduation ceremonies; Lyndon Johnson outlined his Great Society program at the 1964 commencement ceremonies in the stadium.[12] It has also hosted hockey games including the 2014 NHL Winter Classic, a regular season NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings with an official attendance of 105,491, a record for a hockey game.[13] Additionally, a 2014 International Champions Cup soccer match between Real Madrid and Manchester United had an attendance of 109,318, a record crowd for a soccer match in the United States.[14]


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Modern era 1.2
    • 2010 renovation and beyond 1.3
  • Seating and surface 2
  • Attendance records 3
  • Gallery 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Early history

Prior to playing at Michigan Stadium, Michigan played its games at Ferry Field, which at its peak could seat 40,000 people. Fielding Yost recognized the need for a larger stadium after original expansions to Ferry Field proved to be too small, and persuaded the regents to build a permanent stadium in 1926. Fashioned after the Yale Bowl, the original stadium was built with a capacity of 72,000. However, at Yost's urging, temporary bleachers were added at the top of the stadium, increasing capacity to 82,000.[9][15]

Formal dedication of the new Michigan Stadium, October 22, 1927, against Ohio State

On October 1, 1927, Michigan played Ohio Wesleyan in the first game at Michigan Stadium, prevailing easily, 33–0. The new stadium was then formally dedicated three weeks later in a contest against Ohio State on October 22. Michigan had spoiled the formal dedication of Ohio Stadium in Columbus five years earlier and was victorious again, besting the Buckeyes 21–0 before a standing-room-only crowd of 84,401. In 1930, electronic scoreboards were installed, making the stadium the first in the United States to use them to keep the official game time.[9]

In 1956, the addition of a press box raised the stadium's official capacity to 101,001. The one "extra seat" in Michigan Stadium is said to be reserved for Fritz Crisler, athletic director at the time.[16] Since then, all official Michigan Stadium capacity figures have ended in "-01", although the extra seat's location is not specified.[9]

Before 1968, Michigan Stadium maintained a policy of "No women or children allowed on the field". Sara Krulwich, now a photojournalist for The New York Times, was the first woman on the field.[17] Longtime radio announcer Bob Ufer dubbed Michigan Stadium "The hole that Yost dug, Crisler paid for, Canham carpeted, and Schembechler fills every cotton-pickin' Saturday afternoon".[18] Since November 8, 1975, the stadium has held over 100,000 fans for every home game.[19] The game against Indiana University on October 25, 1975 was the last sub-100,000 attendance home game for Michigan.[19][20] Michigan Stadium's size is not wholly apparent from the outside as most of the seats are below ground level.

Modern era

On September 9, 2006, attendees of Michigan's football game against the Central Michigan Chippewas endured the first weather delay in the stadium's history after lightning struck nearby during the first quarter and play was suspended for approximately one hour.[21] Michigan's game versus Ball State University on November 4, 2006, was the 200th consecutive crowd of over 100,000 fans.[22] Traditionally, when the game's attendance is announced, the public address announcer (historically Howard King) thanks the fans for "being part of the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America today".[23] On September 3, 2011, Michigan and Western Michigan mutually agreed to end their game with 1:27 left in the third quarter because of an ongoing lightning delay. It was the first time Michigan had a football game called because of lightning. The stadium was evacuated at 6:38 p.m. and the game was called shortly after seven.[24]

2010 renovation and beyond

The new west side structure at Michigan Stadium, viewed from the southwest.

On June 21, 2007, the University's Board of Regents approved a $226 million renovation and expansion project for Michigan Stadium. The project included replacement of some bleachers, widening of aisles and individual seats, installing hand rails, and the addition of a new press box, 83 luxury boxes, and 3,200 club seats. The renovation plan garnered opposition from students, alumni, and fans around the country, which waned as the renovation neared external completion.[25]

A disabled-veterans group filed a federal lawsuit against the university on April 17, 2007, alleging that the design of the project did not meet federal standards for wheelchair-accessible seating.[26] On March 11, 2008, as part of the settlement terms of a lawsuit filed against the university pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the university announced that the official capacity of the stadium would be reduced to accommodate additional wheelchair-accessible seating beginning with the 2009 season.[27] The project was completed before the 2010 season.

Renovations in April 2008 caused that year's University of Michigan graduation ceremony to be moved to the Diag.[28]

In August 2011, the University completed a six-month scoreboard replacement project; the new boards measure 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) each with a resolution of 900 x 1632.[29]

Michigan Stadium was rededicated on September 4, 2010, before Michigan's first home football game of the 2010 season against the University of Connecticut,[30] with a listed capacity of 109,901.[8] After the renovation, the stadium lacked permanent lights, although platforms for temporary lights were included in the design. In September 2010, a few days after the rededication, the University of Michigan's Board of Regents approved a plan to add permanent lights, at a cost of $1.8 million. The lights were first used at the men's hockey game on December 11, 2010. The following season saw the stadium's first night football game on September 10, 2011. The Wolverines defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 35–31.[31]

The Michigan lacrosse program was elevated to NCAA varsity status in spring 2011, effective in the 2011-12 academic year.[32] The team will play most of its 2012 games in Michigan Stadium, including a match against Ohio State on April 14, 2012, after the annual Wolverine football spring game.[33]

Seating and surface

The stadium's original capacity was 72,000, but Fielding Yost made certain to install footings that could allow for expansion up to 200,000 seats. Initially, all seating consisted of wooden bleachers. These were replaced with permanent metal seating in 1949 by Fritz Crisler, athletic director at the time. From 1927 to 1968, the stadium's field was covered in natural grass. This was replaced with TartanTurf in 1969 to give players better traction. However, this surface was thought to be unforgiving on players' joints, and the stadium returned to natural turf in 1991. This too became problematic, as the field's below-surface location near the water table made it difficult for grass to permanently take root. The field was converted to FieldTurf, an artificial surface designed to give grass-like playing characteristics, in 2003.[34] In 2010, it was upgraded with a brighter and higher quality version of field turf called Duraspine.[35]

Attendance records

On September 7, 2013, Michigan Stadium drew its largest attendance for a football game to date. A crowd of 115,109 saw Michigan defeat Notre Dame, 41-30, setting a post-1948 NCAA collegiate football attendance record. A 1927 Notre Dame–USC game at Soldier Field in Chicago, prior to NCAA record keeping for attendance, drew an estimated 117,000–123,000.[10][36][37] Michigan Stadium also holds the current NCAA single-season average home attendance record, which was set in 2011 at 112,179 fans per game and topped in 2012 at 112,252 fans per game.

With an attendance of 104,173, "The Big Chill at the Big House" set the record attendance for a hockey game.[38] The record was broken on January 1, 2014 for the NHL's 2014 Winter Classic, where a crowd of 105,491 saw the host Detroit Red Wings fall to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout.

On Saturday August 2, 2014, a sell-out crowd of 109,318 watched Manchester United defeat Real Madrid 3-1 in an International Champions Cup match.[39] The official attendance figure was the largest for a soccer game in the United States to date, overtaking the previous record set by the 1984 Olympics Gold Medal match, when 101,799 saw France defeat Brazil 2-0 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.[14][40]

Highest attendance at Michigan Stadium
Rank Attendance Date Game result
1 115,109 Sept. 7, 2013 Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30
2 114,804 Sept. 10, 2011 Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
3 114,132 Nov. 26, 2011 Michigan 40, Ohio State 34
4 113,833 Oct. 20, 2012 Michigan 12, Michigan State 10
5 113,718 Nov. 19, 2011 Michigan 45, Nebraska 17
6 113,511 Nov. 30, 2013 Michigan 41, Ohio State 42
7 113,090 Sept. 4, 2010 Michigan 30, Connecticut 10
8 113,085 Oct. 11, 2014 Michigan 18, Penn State 13
9 113,065 Oct. 9, 2010 Michigan 17, Michigan State 34
10 113,016 Nov. 17, 2012 Michigan 42, Iowa 17
Evolution of the Largest Crowd Ever at Michigan Stadium
Attendance Date Game result
115,109 Sept. 7, 2013 Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30
114,804 Sept. 9, 2011 Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31
113,090 Sept. 4, 2010 Michigan 30, Connecticut 10
112,118 Nov. 22, 2003 Michigan 35, Ohio State 21
111,726 Sept. 13, 2003 Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0
111,575 Nov. 20, 1999 Michigan 24, Ohio State 17
111,523 Sept. 4, 1999 Michigan 26, Notre Dame 22
111,238 Sept. 26, 1998 Michigan 29, Michigan State 17
111,012 Sept. 12, 1998 Michigan 28, Syracuse 38
106,982 Nov. 22, 1997 Michigan 20, Ohio State 14
106,867 Nov. 20, 1993 Michigan 28, Ohio State 0
106,851 Sept. 11, 1993 Michigan 23, Notre Dame 27
106,788 Oct. 10, 1992 Michigan 35, Michigan State 10
106,255 Nov. 17, 1979 Michigan 15, Ohio State 18
106,024 Nov. 19, 1977 Michigan 14, Ohio State 6
105,543 Nov. 22, 1975 Michigan 14, Ohio State 21
105,223 Nov. 24, 1973 Michigan 10, Ohio State 10 (tie)
104,016 Nov. 20, 1971 Michigan 10, Ohio State 7
103,588 Nov. 22, 1969 Michigan 24, Ohio State 12
103,234 Oct. 3, 1959 Michigan 8, Michigan State 34
101,001 Oct. 6, 1956 Michigan 0, Michigan State 9
97,369 Nov. 19, 1955 Michigan 0, Ohio State 17
97,366 Oct. 8, 1955 Michigan 26, Army 2
97,239 Sept. 24, 1949 Michigan 7, Michigan State 3
86,408 Oct. 9, 1943 Michigan 13, Notre Dame 35
85,088 Oct. 19, 1928 Michigan 0, Ohio State 7
84,401 Oct. 22, 1927 Michigan 21, Ohio State 0
27,864 Oct. 8, 1927 Michigan 21, Michigan State 0
17,483 Oct. 1, 1927 Michigan 33, Ohio Wesleyan 0



  1. ^ "U-M Announces New Seating Capacity for Michigan Stadium". University of Michigan Department of Athletics. August 7, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Workmen Swarm Michigan Stadium".  
  3. ^ Madej, Bruce; Toonkel, Rob; Pearson, Mike (November 1, 1997). Michigan: Champions of the West. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 79–.  
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Kryk, John (November 25, 2004). Natural Enemies: Major College Football's Oldest, Fiercest Rivaly—Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Taylor Trade Publications. pp. 106–.  
  6. ^ Big Ten Icons' to Count Down Conference's All-Time Top 50 Student-Athletes: Iconic broadcaster Keith Jackson to host the series launching this fall"'".  
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  8. ^ a b "Big House Again! Michigan Stadium Capacity Announced at 109,901" (Press release). July 14, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d "The Michigan Stadium Story". The University of Michigan. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  10. ^ a b "NCAA attendance records" (PDF).  
  11. ^ a b "Once Again the Biggest House, 1998". Bentley Historical Library. 10 April 2006. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  12. ^ url=
  13. ^ Lage, Larry (1 January 2014). "NHL Winter Classic 2014: Maple Leafs Beat Red Wings In Front Of Record Crowd".  
  14. ^ a b "Man United win in front of 109,318".  
  15. ^ "The Michigan Stadium Story: Expansion and Renovation, 1928-1997". Bentley Historical Library. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  16. ^ "Facilities: Michigan Stadium". Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  17. ^ Krulwich, Sara (May 22, 2009). "Essay: "No Women" Was No Barrier".  
  18. ^ Feldman, Dan (April 20, 2009). "Through Transition, Class of '09 Had Its Ups, But Mostly Downs".  
  19. ^ a b "The Michigan Stadium Story: Michigan Stadium Attendance Records". Bentley Historical Library. January 15, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ "1975 Football Team". Bentley Historical Library. March 31, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ Wharton, Dave (January 1, 2007). "Michigan: The Season".  
  22. ^ "For 200th Straight Game, 100,000 Will Pack Michigan Stadium". (CBS College Sports).  
  23. ^ Rom, Steve; Payne, Rod (2006). Centered By A Miracle. Sports Publishing. p. 45.  
  24. ^ Knight, Jim (September 3, 2011). "Game called in 3rd quarter: Michigan football team wins, 34-10".  
  25. ^ Monson, Lynn (September 14, 2007). "U-M Professors Urge Reconsideration of Michigan Stadium Expansion". The Ann Arbor News ( Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  26. ^ Kroll, Andy (November 19, 2007). "Despite Lawsuit, Complaints, Stadium Construction Begins".  
  27. ^ Nelson, Gabe (March 10, 2008). "Michigan Stadium Lawsuit Settled". The Michigan Daily ( Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  28. ^ Bogater, Jillian (May 28, 2008). "Keynote Woodruff Shares Life Lessons, Hope". The University Record Online (University of Michigan New Service). Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  29. ^ "TS Sports/Lighthouse Selected as Scoreboard Provider" (Press release). University of Michigan Athletics Department. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  30. ^ "Michigan Stadium Rededication". University of Michigan Athletics. September 4, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Permanent Lights to be Installed at Michigan Stadium" (Press release). University of Michigan Athletics. September 16, 2010. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  32. ^ "U-M Athletics Announces Men's and Women's Lacrosse as Varsity Sports" (Press release). University of Michigan Athletics. May 25, 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  33. ^ "Michigan Men's Lacrosse Facility Information". University of Michigan Athletics. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  34. ^ Nisson, Michael (August 11, 2003). "FieldTurf Receives Praise From Carr". The Michigan Daily ( Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  35. ^ "2010 Football Spring Game Notes". University of Michigan Athletics. April 17, 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-26. 
  36. ^ Ford, Liam T. A. (2009). Soldier Field: A Stadium and its City. University of Chicago Press. pp. 89–90.  
  37. ^ "Stadium History". Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Highest attendance for an ice hockey match". Guinness World Records. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  40. ^ Stubits, Brian (August 2, 2014). "LOOK: More than 109,000 Fans Pack Big House for Real Madrid–Man U".  

External links

  • Official Michigan Stadium information page
  • Michigan Stadium Renovation
  • The Michigan Stadium Story – Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Athletics History
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