College football crowd record broken
05 Sep 2010
The University of Michigan football team (where I had a season ticket many years ago while on a fellowship there) set a new college football crowd record this weekend with a whopping 113,090 fans packing the Michigan Stadium for the opening game of the season against the University of Connecticut.
Michigan regularly drew around 111,000 for each home game when I used to watch them a decade ago but after a renovation of the university's stadium the capacity has grown.
Moreover, as well as the thousands in the stadium, many more will have followed the game live on TV. The whole state comes to a standstill during football games, which encourage a community involvement with the local university which British universities can only dream about.
Unlike in the UK - where no-one follows university sports except the players themselves - American college sport is big and lucrative business. It is also a valuable marketing tool, encouraging both admissions and alumni giving.
However, with college athletics programme budgets growing - while academic budgets re being cut - the sports obsession is being questioned by some. For more see my earlier blog: www.mikebakereducation.co.uk/blog/268/us-universities-spend-on-sports-while-cutting-elsewhere