80,000-plus at Michigan Stadium

      This is more than a week old, but the response to the Michigan versus Michigan State outdoor game Dec. 11 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor has been huge. General ticket sales opened April 21 and there were 14,700 sold. Added to previous sales, there are nearly 80,000 tickets sold for a stadium that seats 107,501. Here’s a Jeff Arnold story from the April 21 Ann Arbor News:

By: Jeff Arnold, AnnArbor.com Staff

Ever since plans for an outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium were officially announced, Red Berenson knew it would be a hit.

The only question left to be answered was just how sizable The Big Chill at the Big House would be when the Michigan hockey team faces rival Michigan State on Dec. 11.

If opening-day sales are any indication, though, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Berenson anticipated could be a reality.

General ticket sales began April 21, netting 14,700 purchases by 4 p.m., according to an athletic department spokesman. When added to the that seats have already been sold or committed to by season-ticket holders, former players and other groups, officials announced Wednesday that close to 80,000 tickets have already been sold.

"This has just taken off. You knew it would when you have something this special at the Big House – the first time ever, maybe the only time ever," Berenson said in a statement. " Everybody wants to be there. I think we’ll be sold out before we know it. It’ll be a tough ticket to buy."

More than 7,000 tickets sold in the first 30 minutes they were sold – a total that rose to more than 11,000 by 10:30 a.m. End zone tickets are priced at $15 each, with a group sale rate of $10 for purchases of 15 or more tickets.

Michigan State holds the record, 74,544 at Spartan Stadium for a game against Michigan on Oct. 6, 2001.

Michigan Stadium holds 107,501 for football.

Wednesday’s first-day sales were higher than officials anticipated. With so many tickets already spoken for, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is excited by the possibilities of crowd size pushing 100,000.

"The excitement generated today by the public demand for tickets to The Big Chill at the Big House only reinforces my belief that this hockey game is going to be a very special event," Brandon said in a statement Wednesday. "Until now, I could only imagine how it would be to have 80,000 fans watching the Wolverine hockey team at Michigan Stadium."

Officials are hoping to break the record for the largest crowd ever to witness a hockey game. Michigan and Michigan State drew 74,544 in the Cold War game in 2001 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

Brandon told AnnArbor.com that university officials are planning a series of special events will be held in conjunction with the Big Chill game that could stretch the festivities throughout the weekend.

Among the activities: parties, tailgates, player reunions and public skating sessions as well as an alumni game.

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