Nov 20, 2009, 5:00 PM EDT
They’re constructing luxury suites at Michigan Stadium. I know that the gang from The Big Chill would be horrified, but to get a current reading on this development from the most die-hard Wolverine fan I know, I called my friend Tim Parsons, an editor for a Northern California newspaper. No sooner had I gotten the words out when the phone went dead.
It could have been woodpeckers on a transformer, but most likely Tim succumbed to a violent heart attack. He will be missed.
As the Wolverines (5-6, 1-6 in the Big Ten … descending slide whistle noise) prepare to play host to Ohio State (9-2, 6-1 … rising slide whistle) on Saturday, construction continues on two giant towers that will contain a multitude of luxury suites when they are completed next year. Michigan traditionalists are furious. Football was made to be viewed on cold wooden benches while wearing fur coats from real animals! But the university says it needs the extra scratch: Times are tough, both with the football team and in the state in general.
Brother, can you spare $83,000 for a luxury seat license?
The towers are expected to greatly increase crowd noise in the stadium; an ironic development during a season clearly devoid of anything for Michigan fans to cheer about.
Opposed by some traditionalists, they will accommodate 16 persons apiece in 82 suites in addition to 3,000 club seats. The top price for a suite is $85,000 annually.
Joe Parker, Michigan’s senior associate athletic director, said by telephone that the university has commitments for 55 of the 82 suites and for 2,300 of the 3,000 club seats, which are being added in a $226 million expansion.
Parker added that “no one has paid in full,” and that the money is not due until Jan. 31, 2010.
Along with the team’s performance, the state’s economic condition could be a factor in eventual sales, he said. He expressed optimism, adding, “Michigan is a brand that expands beyond the borders of our state.”
Fielding Yost III, whose grandfather was athletic director when the stadium was built, opposes the luxury seating, telling The New York Times that it smacks of “elitism and stratification.” But during a season in which head coach Rich Rodriguez is being investigated for questionable practice methods, and even the athletic director has been seen bullying stadium personnel, this seems to be the least of the university’s worries, eh?
Still, I imagine Glenn Close is probably slumped in a kitchen somewhere, weeping.
Michigan Football Facing Hard Times on the Field and Off It [The New York Times]
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found
- Tiger calls Sergio's comments inappropriate, hurtful
- Bears great Urlacher announces retirement
- Posnanski on Golf: Sergio shows disdain for Tiger
- HBT: Soriano calls out Harper after blown save
- PHT: Sharks take Game 4, pull even with Kings
- PBT: Cavs win NBA draft lottery, will pick No. 1
- PBT: Nick Gilbert again Cavs' good luck charm
- Play Video: Spurs take a commanding 2-0 lead
- Play Video: An early whistle takes goal away from Kings
- Play Video: Kerr: LeBron vs. Jordan comes down to rings
- Play Video: Highlights: Sharks even series with Kings
- Play Video: Phil Jackson compares MJ and Kobe
- Play Video: Highlights: Bruins comeback to win Game 3