Good news for some, bad for others… that is the story coming out of the Big House regarding seating for the 2006 season. The athletic department has decided to expand the student section. If you attended a game last season, then you probably noticed that there was a second student section off in the south end zone. The demand for student tickets last year was so big that they stuck the leftovers in the usual spot for visiting fans. Another partial change was that visiting fans were split up a little bit, getting rid of that feel of being the road team in your own stadium.
More changes this year, some good, some bad. The good is that the student section, coming together as one, will be much bigger. The athletic department is expecting 21,000 students to purchase student tickets for the 2006 season, which would be a great turnout. The problem with the expansion of the student section is that current season ticketholders’ seats will move. I know I would be upset if my current seats were moved somewhere else, it’s like a tradition of where you sit. Ask any season ticketholder and they can rattle off the section, row, and seat they always sit in. The displaced season ticket holders will be moved to the south end zone, taking the place of the extra student section from last year. Basically it’ll be a swap of seats.
I’m all for putting the student section together, the bigger, the louder it’ll be. Plus, there were complaints last season from that student section in the south end zone standing all game-long, which is a ridiculous complaint. It’s a football game, if you don’t like it, then don’t go. I remember last year when attending the Northwestern game in Evanston, we sat right by their student section, and gladly stood the entire game. Gladly also because it was a 33-17 victory.
One more improvement for me at least is that the band will be moving to the northwest corner, right in front of the student section. For years and years that I can remember, the band has always sat in the northeast corner, opposite to that of the student section, and on the same side of the stadium as my seats in section five. The pluses for moving the band for all fans is that with the band right by the student section, a more rowdy and more pumped feel will be given out with the band right there in front of you. For me personally, the band moving is great because now I might actually be able to hear them. Because my seats are in section five, I always get stuck listening to the away team’s band since they sit exactly in front of me. Also, I never heard Michigan’s band because they were playing towards the west side (across from my seats) of the stadium. With the moving to the northwest corner, they will now be playing in my direction, so instead of waking up in the middle of the night singing the away team’s fight song, I may now actually be able to zone that out.
I do feel sorry for long-time season ticketholders that have had their seats moved, but this is a great improvement for the overall atmosphere of the stadium. The band taking place in a new spot is also great in my book. Below is the new seating chart with the areas of different seating placed in different colors.
(Photo courtesy UMGoBlue.com)
The gray represents the student section, stretching all the way to the press box now. The yellow is for the visiting fans, which is way too much. That’s the only gripe, there’s too many fans from the away team at our stadium. I understand that there’s probably certain rules that you have to provide the visiting school with a certain amount of tickets, but at least make sure they are in the nosebleeds. The spot right by the visitor’s bench is understandable because it is for friends and families of the players. That one section in the southwest corner of the stadium is bigger than depicted on this chart. Last year against Penn State is was all white.
One last thing that I have a gripe with: make sure that only Michigan students are in the student section. Also against Penn State last year, there was a group of white shirts in our own student section. Make sure that only the maize sit in there, that’s just embarrassing to have opposing fans in there. Should be interesting to see how the new arrangements affect the gameday experience.