Former Michigan AD Says ESPN Paid For Lights At The Big House
Former Michigan AD Dave Brandon said he "got ESPN to pay" for the permanent lights that are currently in place at Michigan Stadium. The lights, which were expected to cost $1.8M when they were approved for installation in '10, were thought to have been paid with athletic funds. However, Brandon during an appearance on UM football coach Jim Harbaugh's podcast yesterday said, "It didn’t cost us a dime. All we had to do was promise to play a night game once a year." He noted the lights at the time were "controversial," but he believed they were needed. Brandon: "We would play those afternoon games and bring in those portable lights and there’s shadows on the field." He added, "We put those lights up there and we put those big video boards, backlit that black ‘M’ from downtown Ann Arbor and it’s like a beacon to the stadium. Some of those views really define the brand and the program, and it really makes the athletic department and more the athletic facilities jump out as an integral part of the university."
MONEY TALKS: Brandon noted during his nearly five years as Michigan AD, the athletic department "spent a lot of time fundraising" and brought in close to $200M. He said, "If you can get that much cash, you can borrow against that cash on the backs of the university, which is a very, very low interest rate. It really gave us a lot more money that we could use." Brandon: "When I got this job, it was sad to see how many of the facilities had just depreciated. … We had teams that were practicing in deplorable conditions, so we decided we were going to take a very holistic approach to transforming the athletic campus" (“Attack Each Day: The Harbaughs’ Podcast,” PodcastOne.com, 8/20).