The Univ. of Michigan is hosting Notre Dame Saturday night in the first night game at Michigan Stadium, and UM AD Dave Brandon "envisions an annual night game ... against a rotating opponent, a mix of conference and non-conference foes," according to Shawn Windsor of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Brandon said, "If this goes well, I would like to do one night game a year. If it doesn't go well, it doesn't matter what I'd like to do." Brandon "expects the largest crowd in Michigan Stadium's history -- somewhere north of 114,000." He also expects the crowd "to be well behaved." Windsor noted UM VP/Student Affairs Royster Harper identified 350 "student ambassadors who will help spread a message of respect and moderation across the campus on game day." Brandon's goal "is to keep alcohol out of the stadium." Brandon said that the attention around UM's first home primetime game, which is being broadcast nationally on ESPN, "has affected ticket sales and prices." Brandon: "The acceptance level of this game is beyond anything we've seen. We could easily sell another 25,000 to 50,000 tickets. The supply-and-demand model is getting blown up. This game has been basically sold out since ticket applications went out." He added this would be the "highest-demand ticket ever." Some secondary ticket markets "report an average price of well above $400" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/7). In Ann Arbor, Nick Baumgardner noted Brandon "wants the event to be unique, he wants it to be special and he wants it to be as safe as possible." Brandon: "I don't know if you can test anything when you have 100,000 people. If we're going to go through all this time and effort and we're going to do it right. Let's do it big" (ANNARBOR.com, 9/6).
MAKING IT AN EVENT: In Detroit, Kim Kozlowski noted a "lineup of events will be held across campus to celebrate" the milestone game. There will be a "presentation to Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard" honoring him for being selected to the College Football HOF, a "tribute to the U-M grads who died during the Sept. 11 tragedy, a special halftime show and more." ESPN's "College GameDay" will broadcast live from the UM campus from 10:00am-12:00pm ET Saturday, and a fan fest will be held at nearby Pioneer High School, which will "include Sports Illustrated and a Heisman Trophy display" (DETROIT NEWS, 9/6).
HOWARD'S WAY: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell reported UM has printed 15,000 game programs that include "an audio file of 'The Catch,' Desmond Howard's famous touchdown against Notre Dame twenty years ago." The file includes not just the call from UM announcer Frank Beckmann and ABC's Brent Musburger, but also the "play call from Michigan's head football coach at the time Gary Moeller and sound from Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac in the huddle." Game programs typically cost $10, but "to cover the cost of the investment in the chip, this program cost $15." More than 1,000 have already been sold online, and IMG "sold the back of the audio card to Absopure water in order to make the deal more financially viable" (CNBC.com, 9/7).