By: Will Burchfield
There will be at least one night game at the Big House this season, possibly two.READ MORE: Two People Killed After Car Attempts To Outrun Amtrak Train in Detroit
Both the Michigan State game on Oct. 7 and the Minnesota game on Nov. 4, which are currently without kick-off times, could be moved to prime time.
A new $2.64 billion agreement between the Big Ten and its TV partners — CBS, Fox and ESPN — calls for Michigan to host three night games over the course of a two-year span.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told reporters on Wednesday that the university doesn’t have much say in which game(s) will be moved to prime time. It’s up to the Big Ten and the TV networks to decide.
Michigan must be notified at least 12 days in advance of hosting a night game.
The rest of Michigan’s home games, including versus Ohio State on Nov. 25, are slated for noon kickoffs.
Manuel was asked on CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters,” which airs on Sunday at 11:30, which game he’d rather host at night — Michigan State or Minnesota.READ MORE: Biden Announces Nearly $3 Billion To Address Food Shortages
“None,” he replied with a laugh.
A night game comes with a host of additional concerns.
“It’s different from the standpoint of increased staffing levels we have to have for safety, fan experience and just getting around. We have to add additional lighting to our areas and parking lots, (the tailgating areas) all have additional expenses to make sure people are safe in this environment. And, obviously, the police forces — both university, Ann Arbor, Washtenaw and the state of Michigan — are in increased vigilance,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Manuel added that a longer tailgating window is dangerous in terms of alcohol consumption.
Per the new TV deal, games through Week 10 are eligible to be moved to night, provided a start time hasn’t already been announced. Michigan has two road games that meet that criteria: at Purdue on Sept. 23 and at Penn State on Oct. 21.
Manuel said on “Michigan Matters” that flexible scheduling is simply a new reality.
“Obviously, the world is changing in terms of viewership and the way people view, but college football and college athletics is really strong in terms of the live TV market and the demand for it. So, we’re in a good position,” he said.MORE NEWS: 'These Cases Are Not Over': Michigan Solicitor General Reacts To Court's Ruling In Flint Water Crisis Indictments
Michigan has hosted just three night games since lights were installed at the Big House in 2011: versus Notre Dame in 2011 and 2013, and versus Penn State in 2014.