Michigan Stadium suite and seats sell slowly, steadily in sagging economy
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The University of Michigan has commitments for 72 percent of the suites and 77 percent of club seats that will be unveiled at Michigan Stadium this fall.
"We're pleased with where we are given the realities of our economy," senior associate athletic director Joe Parker said. "We're hearing from some fans that they're skipping a vacation instead of missing out on Michigan football."
In addition to a sagging economy, the Wolverines' fortunes on the field probably haven't helped sales.
Michigan finished 5-7 last season after a 4-0 start one year after losing a school-record nine games in Rich Rodriguez's debut with college football's winningest team.
Parker said he's hopeful the rest of the premium seats will be sold by Sept. 4, when the Wolverines host Connecticut in the season opener at the Big House.
"We're going to have as many tours as we can this spring and into the summer," he said. "If people like what they see, they'll be able to pick their seat or suite right on the spot."
Suites range in price from $55,000 to $85,000 and include 16 tickets, parking and a three-, five- or seven-year pledge. Club seats cost between $1,500 to $4,000 per seat plus the cost of tickets and include a one-year term.
Eighty percent of costs for the suites and club seats are tax deductible.
(Click here for an earlier story and slideshow on the suites and renovations).
The suites and club seats were to be paid in full by Jan. 31, but Parker acknowledged that wasn't a hard deadline.
Parker did say, though, suites and club seats that haven't been paid for by April — when season-ticket renewals are mailed — will be released to the public.
Parker says 58 of the 81 suites are spoken for and 47 of them have been paid for completely, adding he's confident the other 11 will be soon. Delta Dental, Dow Chemical and Kellogg's are among the 21 entities that have a suite in their name. A total of 32 suites will be occupied by well-heeled individuals and the university will use five more.
Parker said the school has commitments for 2,822 of its 3,685 club seats.
"With the new revenue generated, we have more than enough money for our bond," Parker said, referring to the mortgage of sorts that the school has for the $226 million renovation of its iconic stadium.
Construction began the day after the Wolverines lost at Ohio State in November 2007 and is expected to be completed by June.
Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 6:26 a.m.
80% of the cost of the luxury box is tax deductible!!! That means that all of us taxpayers are subsidizing these rich fatcats and corporations to watch football in luxury. Why!!! The IRS should look into this. If it isn't illegal it should be.
Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.
The University of Michigan footbal team has played 223 consecutive games in front of crowds in excess of 100,000 through the 2007 season. The last time The Wolverines did not have 100,000 in attendance was Oct. 25, 1975 vs. Indiana when a crowd of 95,857 was on hand for the 55-7 Michigan victory. I'm wondering do we need more seats?
Dr. I. Emsayin
Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.
Good recruiting and fundraising tool for the the University. Personally, I'd like to see the President's commencement speech from one of those seats. And perhaps the U will rent it for rock concerts; now that would be fun!
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 11:20 p.m.
The old school charm was lost when the old alumni need to sit in air-conditioning on hot days and heat on cold days. That is, the ruling elite alumni, the 1% with a sky box. What happened to the wider seats for the 99% who make the Big House? What about sustainability?
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:50 p.m.
Yogi, what was it like to see Willie Heston play? I've always liked the block M on the outside of the stadium, but a portrait of Our King would look better!
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.
The Big House has been renovated several times since Yost coached. His idea was to have the greatest stadium in college football. I'd say the architects did an excellent job doing that. I just hope the next time (and there will be a next time) they renovate the architects do just as good a job! Long live the new and improved Big House!!!
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.
I had no problem with the press box. If team is eating spaghetti you are eating spaghetti. Conversely, if the team is getting rained on all the spectators should be rained on. You have to admit that blue chain link fence with the barb wire was an impressive look. I also miss the pro set, but oh well.
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.
Sorry Scott, you are wrong. Where will the extra 40,000 be added now? Yost was egalitarian! Unless you could punt, pass, kick or catch a football!!
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:29 p.m.
@David Briegel: Dude, Yost's plans were to eventually build the stadium up so it could fit 150,000 people. How is this a desecration? Facts, son: They help.
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.
Unreasonablevoice, Nobody ever complained about the press box. Pretty standard. But when you deny the billionaires exposure to the "atmosphere" like you and I they will miss so much. You know, lines at restrooms and hot dog stands etc. Wonder how much booze will "get through"? I still can't wait to see how many incidents occur in that "rarified atmosphere". Wonder if those will be hushed up? Yost will turn over in his grave at this desecration of our beloved "Big House"!
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.
I've been going to games since tickets were a dollar and I can't wait for this year. It is about time they renovated the stadium and it will finally give UM a home field advantage with the extra noise. Maybe the new stadium will bring in some new blood for people who will stand up and cheer instead of screaming "down in front". GO BLUE
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.
treetowncartel, I take it you were also opposed to the press box for the past 50 years?
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.
have connections to someone that has a double suite, pretty excited to get to see it, hopefully for the spring game. LOVE the way the stadium looks now, if they can only get the ends of the stadium bricked in and get rid of the ugly sheet metal.
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.
What a travesty, these things never should have been put in, it takes so much away from the lore of the game and the big house. Bring back the old days with the chain link fence and barbed wire surrounding the stadium. The administration should be out in the elemnts along with everybody else.
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:33 p.m.
I was considering purchasing one of these suites, but when I found out that all of them were NOT decorated with images of Our King, I changed my mind.
Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.
Having that % of suites and club seating sold already isn't bad actually given the lousy economy. A couple of years ago, they'd probably have had them 100% sold/leased by now.