Nine fast facts about The Big House

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Photo: Flickr

ANN ARBOR - If you've spent time in Ann Arbor, especially during University of Michigan football season, it's likely you've either been inside The Big House, tailgated outside it, or sat parked in traffic around it.

It's a beloved gathering place for fans to cheer on the Wolverines and hosts a number of non-sports related events throughout the year, like graduation ceremonies, senior proms and summer movie screenings

But how much do you really know about the largest football stadium in the United States? Let's see.

It cost $950,000 to build in 1927 and originally seated 72,000 people

It may seem like a relatively small amount now, but in 2016, some estimated that figure to be equivalent to $10.8 million.


Fritz Crisler (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The mystery of the "extra seat"

According to tradition, the stadium's official capacity always ends with -01. The extra seat was originally reserved for Athletic Director Fritz Crisler in 1956 in the form of a press box, but only a select few know the location of his seat.

The highest attendance of all time was 115,109 in 2013

On Sept. 7, 2013, the record number of fans gathered to watch Michigan defeat Notre Dame 41-30.

On game days, 300-350 police officers are stationed at The Big House

It's a relatively small number of officers, considering the size of the crowd.


Fans tailgate outside Michigan Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017 ahead of the first home opener (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Not just the game: 50,000-100,000 people come to tailgate only

That's right. According to Michigan Athletics, just about as many people that enter the stadium's walls enjoy beers and barbecues in its parking lot. Who doesn't love an excuse to participate in a massive street party?


Best seat in the house? Suite seating (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

Suites cost between $60,000-$90,000 per season

The stadium's 78 suites are all leased and there is even a waiting list to score one. Once you are selected, you can choose between a three-, five- or nine-year lease. Included in a suite membership are 16 season tickets and four parking spots.

No advertising is allowed on the field

Have you ever noticed that there are no big-brand banners around the field like there are in other major sporting events? Although it would be a major cash cow for the university, it wants to focus on the integrity of the game and the players on the field.


(Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

U-M football and basketball programs operate on an annual budget of $182 million

It is a Big Ten school for a reason. 

There is a documentary about it

Titled "The Big House," the film screened this year at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and was the result of a visiting filmmaker and two film professors at University of Michigan who sent 14 students to capture every aspect of the iconic stadium.

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