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Varsity Blue

Visit the new Varsity Blue at http://www.umvarsityblue.com!

Bill Martin Podcast recap.

You can find this podcast at umich.edu/stadium, or by clicking directly on this link: podcast.

Bruce Madej is interviewing Bill Martin. Bill Martin sounds like an old coot while giving a general exposition on why the facility needs to be updated (short answer: because it sucks. long answer: Traffic flow, restrooms, concessions, handicapped seating, premium seating). Project started 6 years ago, when a contractor was assigned to look at the facilities of the Athletic Department. Michigan Stadium was singled out as the facility most in need of upgrades. Season ticket holders and students have been surveyed to determine need and desire for upgrades. Overcrowding is known as the biggest problem. People are too fat to fit in their seats (would it be cheaper to launch an ad campaign encouraging fans to be not so fat?)

Guiding principles of the project:

  1. Positively impact gameday experience for all fans. You should be able to get up at halftime and do stuff in the concourses without resigning yourself to missing the second half.

  2. Preserve & respect the traditions of the stadium.

  3. Ensure that the quality standard is a “10” for all aspects.

  4. Project is financially feasible. The athletic department refuses to get money from the University's general fund for this project, or at all. Despite this, it is one of the few profitable athletic departments in the NCAA.

  5. Maintain or increase capacity. Yost's original vision was to seat 150,000 fans, putting a second deck all the way around the top of the bowl. That type of size won't happen anytime soon, but the endzones are being left open to allow for the possibility of future expansion.

In order to finance the stadium, Yost originally used club seating (premium seating). This principle is returning, much to the chagrin of douchebags like John Pollack.

Two large structures from approximately goalline to goalline, about the height of the scoreboards. They will have easier mobility for fans. Elevators will be added within the bowl for handicapped seating. More restrooms, concessions, sales. The concourse will be widened, and an additional one added.

The structures won't destroy the classic architecture of Michigan Stadium. There will be some negative response, but after the structures are added, people will appreciate them.

The renovations will be funded by donations, and the premium & enclosed seating area charges. The general fund will not be used. The revenue streams from the boxes will help the department once the project is paid off.

John Pollack is a moron, says Bill Martin. The enclosed seating is the right thing to do for the future of the athletic department. Football is the moneymaker for the department, in order help all the other sports, we need the maximize the revenue.

Recruits like the bowl, but they may be turned off by the oft-noted lack of structures to trap in the sound. These will do that, and give the team a competitive advantage on the field.

Next step of the project: receive architectural plans, and have them approved by the regents. This will take place in the fall. At this time, the public will be tapped for feedback about the structures.

The department hasn't begun to solicit the sales of suites to the public or corporations yet, but people have contacted them. Once the final prices of the renovations are known, the prices of the suites will be determined.

No alcohol will be allowed in the suites.

“Bill Martin Podcast recap.”

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