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Families allowed at Big Ten games, but no general public ticket sales

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Football Saturdays are about to look a whole lot different.

While the Big Ten announced Wednesday it was reinstating its season, there will be no public sales of tickets. Each school will be allowed to have family members in attendance, if they choose.

The Big Ten made the call on fans, rather than allowing each school to do something different based on their state's executive orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan football fans won't be allowed to pack the stands at Michigan Stadium this season.

"Safety regulations will continue to be evaluated by campus leadership in conjunction with medical experts and state/local government officials," the Michigan athletic department said in an email to season-ticket holders. "We will communicate any changes as they get determined.

"Thank you for your continued support as a football season-ticket holder.

"We will provide more information as it becomes available."

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel had previously said the university is reaching out to ticket holders, hoping they'll consider turning their ticket payments into donations to the school.

Several Big Ten schools were bracing for revenue losses in excess of more than $100 million without football, much of that revenue coming from ticket sales.

Michigan has more than $40 million in football ticket sales per year; Michigan State is at about $20 million. Each school reports millions in game-day concessions and parking, as well.

Football returned to Michigan on Sunday when the Lions played their season opener at Ford Field. They are playing without fans for now.

High school football starts this week, with significant capacity limitations.

The Big Ten will start its football season the weekend of Oct. 23-24 and will play an eight-game, conference-only schedule. The conference's other fall sports remain on hold.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984