One would not normally look at Michigan Stadium, home of 109,901 Wolverine fans on fall Saturdays, and think “this needs to be considerably bigger.” It’s already the biggest stadium in North America, after all, and renovations were just completed there last year. Time to leave the Big House alone for a few decades, yes?
Well, maybe, but maybe not. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon was on WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor this morning, and as the Detroit Free Press reports, he shared a vision that would accommodate perhaps 10,000 or more fans in the hallowed stadium:
“One of the things that I’ve said publicly I’d love to do at some point is close in at least one of the ends, and that’s all part of the master plan for growth. The south end of the stadium would be the place that we would start, and if we were to take the bleacher system up to the top of the scoreboards, which would be even with the elevation of the East and the West towers, create a concourse that would afford fans the ability to get from one side to the other, both indoors and outdoors, both in the concourse and additional bleacher capacity.
“It would take the total capacity up close to 119,000, maybe even 120,000. I would love to do that at some point under my watch.”
Now, this wouldn’t be building for the sake of building; Brandon reiterated multiple times during the interview that the expansion would need to be precipitated by fan demand; the extra seats would have to be sold immediately in order to actually pay for any new construction, so they’re not driving the heavy construction equipment to the Big House just yet. Still, Brandon specifically mentioned doing the expansion under his watch, and he’s already almost 60 years old, so this probably isn’t a 2050 project either.
Of course, it should also be mentioned that Michigan is coming off its worst three-year stretch in program history, and unless Brady Hoke turns the program around quickly, we may never see the extra demand for season tickets that the project requires. So there is that tiny little detail too. Nonetheless, should the Good Ship Wolverine be righted soon, we may soon see the Big House get even Bigger once again.