No college football stadium in the country is larger than Michigan’s own Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Despite being the home to the largest football stadium in the country, there are opportunities to play in front of more fans, if only Michigan were willing to accept the invitation.
Interim Michigan Athletic Director Jim Hackett, according to MLive.com, says he has turned down an opportunity to have Michigan play in front of 160,000 fans.
“You can’t believe the people knocking on (our) door for (neutral site opportunities) right now because of Jim Harbaugh,” Hackett said this week, once again proving there is something to the Harbaugh effect at Michigan. “And they’re not really good ideas for us.”
“I thought about it,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s going to be the kind of game you’ll want to see.” While the craze of neutral site games appears to be gaining momentum in the early part of the college football season, and big money can be made by participating in any of them, a program like Michigan can benefit financially by staying home for an extra week and eliminating hefty travel expenses for the entire football program, equipment, staff and marching band (we all remember how well that worked out in 2012).
“We have the biggest stadium in the world, we have season ticket holders that say ‘why would you move a game away from us?’ ” he said. “I’m not a big fan of those.”
Michigan Stadium leads the away when it comes to largest stadiums in the country, with fellow Big Ten venues Beaver Stadium (Penn State) and Ohio Stadium (Ohio State) right behind. And Hackett was close to accurate in saying Michigan Stadium is the largest in the world. That honor actually belongs to Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea (naturally). Race tracks also have a higher seating capacity than football stadiums. Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a seating capacity of 267,925. Daytona International Speedway has a capacity of 168,000 and Charlotte Motor Speedway can hold 167,000 fans. Might one of these two have served as a host venue for a potential neutral site game involving Michigan? That much has not been revealed.
In 2016, Virginia Tech and Tennessee will play on the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Each school will receive a check for $4 million for their participation. The seating capacity there is 160,000, but this was a game scheduled long before Michigan had hired Harbaugh to be the head coach of the Wolverines.
Interest in Michigan football has surely been renewed on a national scale, and everyone wants to seem to want a piece of the action. But if Hackett is making the calls, do not look for the Wolverines to venturing out of Michigan Stadium to play on a neutral field in the near future (aside from the previously scheduled Cowboys Kickoff Classic in 2017 vs. Florida, netting a payment of $6 million).