Following several seating adjustments, Michigan Stadium’s ticketed seating capacity has been slightly reduced.
The iconic 88-year-old Michigan Stadium remains college football’s largest venue, but increasing its accessibility and configuration adjustments for major non-football events led to a decrease in the total number of seats by just over 2,000 to create the new official capacity of 107,601.
This lower capacity, coupled with the national interest in first-year J. Ira and Nikki Harris Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh has led to Michigan’s tickets once again being the hottest commodity on the secondary markets, as recently covered in the media.
The most noticeable changes to stadium seating relate to ADA accessibility, as seats had to be eliminated in order to widen aisles and install hand railings around the entire bowl with the exception of the student seating section.
“Our facilities group has done a phenomenal job in increasing the accessibility of Michigan Stadium while minimizing the reduction in seat locations,” said Kurt Svoboda, associate athletic director for external communications and public relations. “These shifts have taken place over several seasons; each adjustment causes a ripple effect in seating due to the large number of season ticket holders at U-M. We are incredibly thankful to the response of fans who have been affected by changes in seat locations.”
Other less permanent seating adjustments over the past two years related to the stadium’s major non-football events such as the NHL Winter Classic in 2014 and the International Champions Cup in 2014.
“With accessibility projects complete and no major non-football events scheduled for 2015, the athletic department is able to establish this new official number,” Svoboda said.
Penn State’s Beaver Stadium has the second-highest capacity at 106, 572, according to that school’s official athletic department website.
Michigan Stadium seated 84,401 when it opened in 1927. Its third stadium expansion project in 1956 put capacity at 101,001. The last digit in seating capacity has been “1” since requested by athletic director Fritz Crisler in 1956. The final seat was later said to be reserved in honor of the Hall of Fame football coach.
Removing 2,000 seats to bring about increased accessibility has been applauded by season ticket holders who require the widened aisles and railings to better navigate the stadium bowl.