Ticket packages that went on sale last week are selling briskly, according to U-M officials. (John T. Greilick/The Detroit News)
Michigan has gone the route of clever ticketing plans for the upcoming football season, as it has done previously, to accommodate some unused student tickets and the anticipated return of tickets from visiting teams.
While it does seem unusual to see Michigan with excess tickets so far in advance of the season, the ticket packages that went on sale last Tuesday are selling briskly, according to Marty Bodnar, U-M associate athletic director for ticketing.
UConn is a hot item
The "Go Blue Pack" seems like the best value in terms of opponents -- $173 gets you a ticket (limit of eight) for the season opener against Connecticut, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Bodnar said while there's always interest in the home season opener, the UConn game on Sept. 4 has drawn considerable interest because it's the rededication of newly renovated Michigan Stadium.
"We're getting a lot of requests for the UConn game," Bodnar said this week.
The "Maize Pack" lumps the less desirable games against Massachusetts and Bowling Green with a marquee game, Michigan State, for $165, limit eight tickets.
"Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State are the games we don't sell the public," Bodnar said. "We've put them in a pack like this for people in the general public to get a Michigan State ticket."
Always some availability
So why the ability to offer any tickets?
Bodnar said the school offers visiting fans about 5,000 tickets, and Michigan anticipates a large return from Massachusetts and Bowling Green. There also is what Bodnar calls a "rainy day" allotment of tickets that Michigan always has had each year, and student tickets also are down slightly. Last season, Michigan sold 19,461 student season tickets, and so far this year, 18,431 have been sold.
"I'm pleased with the student numbers, and we'll probably end up over 19,500," Bodnar said, adding that there is a deadline for student ticket applications. "We'll continue to take orders, and we will do our best to help students out. We make a commitment to providing every student a season ticket, providing they request them in a timely fashion."
Single-game tickets to Massachusetts, Bowling Green and games at Indiana and Purdue also were made available last week, with no limits on purchases.
Of course the more desired games -- Connecticut, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin -- will be made available for single-game purchases later this month to some Victors Club members. Remaining tickets will later be made available to the general public.